Scleral lenses: Large gas permeable contact lenses

What are scleral lenses?

Scleral lenses are large gas permeable (GP) contact lenses. They are much bigger than most GP lenses, so they arch over the cornea and rest on the white part of the eye (sclera). That helps the lenses fit underneath the eyelid, making them comfortable to wear.

Why wear scleral lenses?

Each scleral lens is made of rigid GP materials.

  • They are made exactly for your visual needs to give you customized vision correction.
  • They let two to four times more oxygen pass through to your eyes than soft lenses, helping your eyes stay healthy.
  • They are durable and scratch-resistant.
  • They last for one to two years.
  • They provide extra moisture for healthy eyes and for people who have severe dry eyes.

The space between the cornea and the back of the lens holds fluid, so the cornea stays moist and makes your eye more comfortable.

Scleral lenses correct vision well and do not rest on the cornea. This feature helps people who have an irregular cornea due to:

  • Keratoconus
  • Corneal transplant
  • Dry eye or other forms of corneal disease
  • LASIK
  • RK or PRK
  • Trauma

Now people who were never able to wear contact lenses can experience all the freedom they offer.

How do I take care of my scleral lenses?

  • You can watch a video about putting on and taking off scleral lenses at sclerallens.org.
  • Always follow the care instructions your eye care provider gives you.

Putting on your scleral lenses

The larger lenses are very easy to handle with practice. We will teach you to put on your scleral lenses with the three-finger tripod method.

  1. Fill the lens well all the way with a non-preserved saline solution (Lacripure or Addipaks).
    • If the lens is not full, bubbles may be present. Bubbles will cause blurry vision. Take out the lens and put it back in if there are bubbles.
    • Never use tap water or saliva to clean or put in your lenses.
    • Never use a preserved saline solution to fill the lens well. Preservatives can cause damage to the cornea over time.
    • Never use a multipurpose solution to fill the lens well. They are for cleaning only.
  2. Put the lens on your eye after the lens well is full.

Cleaning your scleral lenses

Clean your lenses right away after you take them off. Clean them to remove mucus, protein, and debris that build up on the lens during the day. Clean your lenses each time you take them off.

  1. Always wash and rinse your hands before touching your lenses.
  2. Put the lens in the palm of your hand.
  3. Use two to four drops of multi-purpose solution.
  4. Gently rub the lens in a circular motion with your ring finger.
    • Do not rub the lens too hard.
    • Be sure to clean both sides of the lens.
  5. Rinse the lens with the multi-purpose solution.
  6. Put each lens in the correct side of the lens case.
  7. Fill the case with fresh multi-purpose solution to cover the lenses.
  8. Close the case tightly. 
  9. Keep the lenses in the case for at least four hours before you wear them again.
    • Use fresh solution each time you clean and store your lenses.
  10. Rinse and air dry your case with the caps off after each use.
    • Replace your case every three months.

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