Healthy corneas normally bend incoming light toward the retina so we can see clearly. However, certain corneal conditions, such as keratoconus and astigmatism, lead the light's path to the cornea to diffuse, resulting in reduced and blurred vision.
That’s precisely what happened to three patients: Ben, Georgette, and Fred, who have irregular corneas that caused them to struggle with their vision. Thanks to scleral lenses, they and countless other patients with corneal conditions have experienced improved visual clarity, sharper focus and unparalleled comfort. But before we delve into their stories, what are scleral lenses and how exactly do they benefit those with irregular corneas?
Irregular Corneas and Scleral Lenses
Irregularly shaped corneas are most commonly caused by or associated with astigmatism, keratoconus, prior eye surgeries (such as LASIK, cataracts, corneal transplant), trauma, scarring, and pellucid marginal degeneration.
Irregular corneas cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or traditional contact lenses. An excellent non-surgical solution is scleral lenses, which provide clear vision and better comfort while keeping your eyes hydrated throughout the day.
The lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye, which prevents corneal irritation. The liquid reservoir fills in the surface irregularities of the cornea, restoring vision and enabling the eye to comfortably heal. The smooth optical surface replaces the distorted corneal surface, resulting in dramatically improved vision and comfort.
Read how scleral lenses have helped address Ben’s, Georgette’s, and Fred’s irregular corneas, and enabled them to experience improved vision and a higher quality of life.
*These patient testimonials are meant to reflect actual testimonials of patients but not necessarily our patients.
Everything Is Now in Focus for Ben
Ben entered college excited for life’s newest adventure. He made friends and studied hard. But his struggle to read the content on the classroom whiteboard and in his textbooks presented the same challenges he’d experienced for much of his life.
"Here we go again," Ben thought. Ben had astigmatism, meaning that his corneas were unevenly curved. As a result, images and texts appeared blurry. To see clearly, he resorted to squinting, which, in turn, led to frequent headaches.
Although Ben had regularly been updating his eyeglass prescription over the years, and tried wearing standard contact lenses, he still struggled with his vision. "Enough is enough," Ben decided. "It’s time to consult a vision expert!"
That’s when Ben went to see his eye doctor, who suggested he wear scleral lenses to help see clearly with his astigmatism.
The scleral lenses worked wonders by allowing Ben’s eyes to properly focus light to the retina. Several appointments with his eye doctor ensured that the scleral lenses were fit just right. Ben can now see clearly and effortlessly, read the board and his textbooks, all of which have enabled him to graduate from college with honors.
If you or your child have astigmatism, make your life easier by following in Ben's steps and ask Dr. Selena Chan about scleral lenses.
For Georgette, Sclerals Are the Perfect Fit
Just imagine how Georgette felt, at age 15, when she was diagnosed with keratoconus.
No one wants to hear that their cornea is thinning and gradually bulging outward into a cone shape. But that’s exactly what happened to Georgette. Because keratoconus causes blurred vision and sensitivity to light, Georgette often found herself squinting to help her see clearly.
That’s when her eye doctor suggested scleral lenses. Having never worn contact lenses, Georgette hesitated, then reconsidered. “Let’s do it,” she concluded.
Georgette left her eye doctor with her new pair of custom-fit scleral lenses, fully excited at the prospect of experiencing a great vision. Thanks to sclerals, she not only sees clearly but now finds her eyes to be significantly less sensitive to light, which allows her to enjoy the outdoors during the day.
Fred Likes What He Sees Following His Corneal Transplant
“It still hurts,” Fred complained as he looked into his eyes in the mirror.
The corneal transplant he underwent 10 months earlier effectively addressed his corneal scars following a workplace accident. Fred recovered as the operation’s physical effects receded. Post-operative medications prevented not only inflammation and infection, but also the rejection of his newly transplanted corneas. However, the standard contact lenses he began using a few months after the transplant were painful to wear, and his irregular astigmatism—far from corrected—continued to cause fluctuating vision.
Imagine Fred’s excitement at learning that scleral lenses enable clear and painless vision for keratoplasty (corneal transplant) patients like himself. He read a 2016 study published in the Eye & Contact Lens journal that found that sclerals in post-keratoplasty patients are safe and effective, with most patients attaining 20/40 vision or better.
How did things turn out? With attentive care, really well. Fortunately, Fred now experiences both comfort and excellent vision with scleral lenses.
The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Pacific Rims Optometry offers scleral lenses to patients from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and throughout California.