Scleral lenses benefit patients with corneal irregularities

October 9, 2012, UC Davis

(Medical Xpress)—A UC Davis Health System Eye Center study found that scleral lenses, which rest beyond the limits of the cornea and cover the white part of the eye (sclera), were a good alternative for patients with corneal abnormalities whose vision could not be corrected with other types of contact lenses or glasses. The study was published in the journal Eye & Contact Lens.

Scleral lenses are a type of gas-permeable lens that are larger than traditional small-diameter and are unique in that they continuously bathe the eye with saline, which helps to rejuvenate the ocular surface.

UC Davis optometrists and ophthalmologists conducted the study to evaluate the use of scleral lenses in who are unable to tolerate standard contact lenses and want a nonsurgical option to improve visual acuity.

"Scleral lenses provide better vision and comfort than small-diameter gas-permeable contact lenses," said Melissa Barnett, an optometrist with the UC Davis Eye Center and a co-author of the study. "In the past three years we have been able to help patients who previously have not been able to see or function with other types of contact lenses or glasses, especially those with corneal irregularities and severe dry eyes."

Consider Karen Polansky, a former competitive weightlifter from Carmichael, Calif., whose vision was restored with scleral lenses. Polansky has a disorder called keratoconus, which causes the clear tissue covering the front of the eye (the cornea) to change from the normal round shape to a cone shape. The degenerative condition is thought to be caused by a structural defect in collagen, a major building block of the cornea, which results in blurred vision that cannot be corrected with glasses.

"I have been plagued with poor vision ever since I was diagnosed with keratoconus 40 years ago at age 25," said Polansky. "Because of the irregular shape of my cornea, I haven't been able to wear glasses, and I've tried every form of contact lens available but none were comfortable. With the scleral lenses I can wear them all day and they have improved my vision, especially at night."

For the scleral lens study, UC Davis researchers reviewed the records of 63 patients fitted with scleral lenses from October 2009 to March 2011. They evaluated a number of factors, including demographic data, diagnosis, previous contact lens wear, surgical history, scleral lens wear and reasons for discontinuing their use.

"The majority of patients in our study found the scleral lenses to be comfortable and to improve their visual acuity," said Barnett. "Even patients with corneal scars, who typically cannot wear contact lenses, benefited from scleral lenses."

Scleral lenses may be helpful for patients with primary and secondary corneal ectasias, post-corneal transplants, corneal scars, and corneal dystrophies or degenerations, she said. They also may improve visual acuity in patients with severe dry eyes, graft-versus-host disease, Sjogren's syndrome, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, neurotrophic keratopathy or chronic inflammatory conditions such as limbal stem cell deficiency or ocular cicatricial pemphigoid.

Explore further: Patients who suffer dry eyes find relief from wide-diameter contact lenses

Related Stories

Patients who suffer dry eyes find relief from wide-diameter contact lenses

March 22, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Susan Loughman is among the tens of millions of Americans who suffer dry eyes. She has an especially bad condition, which makes it feel like there's sandpaper in her eyes.

Don't get tricked into hurting your eyes with unsafe contact lenses for Halloween

October 25, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Some people think it’s cool to give themselves “cat” eyes, “wolf” eyes or really bloodshot eyes for Halloween. That’s possible with decorative contact lenses, but an optometrist ...

Vitamin B-based treatment for corneal disease may offer some patients a permanent solution

October 24, 2011
Patients in the United States who have the cornea-damaging disease keratoconus may soon be able to benefit from a new treatment that is already proving effective in Europe and other parts of the world. The treatment, called ...

Recommended for you

New study offers added hope for patients awaiting corneal transplants

January 9, 2018
New national research led by Jonathan Lass of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has found that corneal donor tissue can be safely stored for 11 days before transplantation surgery to correct eye problems ...

Diabetic blindness caused and reversed "trapped" immune cells in rodent retinas

January 3, 2018
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a cell signaling pathway in mice that triggers vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion – diseases characterized by the closure of blood vessels ...

Ophthalmologists increasingly dissatisfied with electronic health records

December 29, 2017
Ophthalmologists' use of electronic health records (EHR) systems for storing and accessing patients' medical histories more than doubled between 2006 and 2016, while their perceptions of financial and clinical productivity ...

Higher omega-3 fatty acid intake tied to lower glaucoma risk

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—Increased daily intake of ω-3 fatty acids is associated with lower odds of glaucoma, but higher levels of total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake are associated with higher odds of developing glaucoma, ...

Protein analysis allows for treatment of eye-disease symptoms with existing drugs

December 21, 2017
Demonstrating the potential of precision health, a team led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine has matched existing drugs to errant proteins expressed by patients with a rare eye disease.

Commonalities in late stages of inherited blinding diseases suggest targets for therapy

December 20, 2017
Gene therapy holds promise for treating a variety of diseases, including some inherited blinding conditions. But for a gene therapy to be effective, one must know the precise gene responsible for a given individual's disorder ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.