What are scleral lenses?

Scleral lenses are custom, large-diameter gas permeable (GP) contact lenses. They are much bigger than most GP lenses, so they completely “vault” over the cornea and rest on the white part of the eye called the sclera. Unlike soft contact lenses and conventional gas permeable lenses, scleral do not touch the cornea. They tuck underneath both eyelids making them more comfortable to wear.

woman holding a contact lens

Why wear scleral lenses?

  • Scleral lenses are made out of highly oxygen permeable GP materials.
  • They are made exactly for your visual needs to give you customized vision correction.
  • They are durable and may last for one to two years.
  • They provide extra moisture for healthy eyes and for people who have severe dry eyes.

Since scleral lenses are designed to vault over the cornea entirely, they create a fluid-filled space between the back surface of the lens and the cornea. The cornea stays moist enhancing ocular comfort.

Irregularly shaped corneas, such as in keratoconus, post-corneal surgery, or previous corneal injury, may prohibit good vision with glasses or disposable soft contact lenses.

Scleral lenses counteract the shape of the cornea by creating a fluid-filled chamber or “tear lens” between the irregular corneal surface and the back surface of the contact lens. Additionally, scleral lenses provide comfort comparable to, and in some cases, superior to soft contact lenses. Unlike standard small gas permeable contact lenses, scleral lenses are not prone to shifting or “popping” out of place.

Who can benefit from scleral lenses?

Patients that have irregular corneas, severe dry eyes/ocular surface disease, and patients with a refractive error not sufficiently managed with other forms of correction can benefit from improved vision with scleral lenses. Some conditions in which patients benefit from scleral lenses include but not limited to:

  • Keratoconus
  • Pellucid Marginal Degeneration
  • Severe Dry Eye/Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Neurotrophic Keratopathy
  • Ocular Cicatricial Pemphigoid
  • Post-Radial Keratotomy
  • Post Corneal Transplant
  • Salzmann Nodular Degeneration
  • Post-LASIK ectasia
  • Terrien’s Marginal Degeneration
  • Scarred Corneas
  • Exposure Keratitis (such as Bell’s Palsy)
  • Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency
  • Corneal Dystrophies
  • Myopia/Hyperopia/Astigmatism
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Scleral lenses vault the cornea and land on the sclera, or the white of the eye, being similar in diameter to a soft contact lens.

eye lens

The fluid chamber, or “tear lens”, formed by a scleral contact lens.

Dr. Andrzejewski and Dr. Malooley have years of successfully fitting patients in scleral contact lenses and want to help you see our absolute best. If you have been told you need a gas permeable or “hard” contact lens to improve your vision or are interested in an evaluation to see if you can benefit from scleral lenses, call our office to schedule an assessment.

What is an additional resource for insertion, removal and care of scleral contact lenses?

Always follow the care instructions provided by your eye care professional. The following video reviews scleral contact lens insertion, removal and care.


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