Wearing regular contacts not working for you? Are they uncomfortable or do you feel them slipping when you blink? You can get a closer, more comfortable fit and see better with custom contact lenses.
What Are Custom Contact Lenses?
Imagine how well a pair of shoes would fit if a podiatrist measured the exact dimensions and curves of your foot and then made a pair of shoes that fit perfectly.
Custom contact lenses work on a similar principle. Instead of trying to make standard contact lenses fit patients who have irregularly-sized corneas, an optometrist will first measure your cornea to fit your eyes perfectly.
How an Optometrist [Customizes] Contact Lenses
Regular contact lenses are designed and fitted for standard cornea shapes. When you get a pair of regular contacts, your optometrist will use an instrument called a keratometer to measure the curve of the front section of your cornea. Knowing these 3 measurements allows your optometrist to choose and fit the best ready-made contacts for your eyes .
However, if you have an irregularly-shaped cornea, it can be difficult and even impossible to comfortably wear standard contacts. If you’re getting fitted for custom contact lenses, your optometrist will use a device called a corneal topographer. This instrument maps out the precise curvature of your cornea using multiple data points in the eye for more accurate measurement and a close fit.
What Are Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses are a type of custom contact lens. They’re made of rigid gas permeable materials and are larger than standard lenses. Their larger diameter enables them to vault over the irregularly shaped cornea and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye.
Scleral lenses are particularly well-suited for patients who experience dry eye symptoms because the ample space between the top of the lens and the eye surface creates a kind of reservoir of fluid that bathes and hydrates the eye. Since sclerals arch over the cornea, they are ideal for people with irregularly-shaped corneas.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Custom Contact Lenses?
If you have any of the following conditions, custom-designed contact lenses may be the right choice:
- Astigmatism and other vision problems caused by an irregularly-shaped cornea
- Keratoconus–weakness in the cornea that causes it to bulge forward into a cone shape
- Eye injury or eye sensitivity
- Presbyopia–age-related farsightedness caused by a hardening of the eye’s lens
- Dry eye syndrome–lack of eye moisture which causes dry, reddish, and itchy eyes
Where Can You Get Custom Contact Lenses?
Want to know more about custom contact lenses? Do you think sclerals could be the right choice for you? Contact us today at The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Pacific Rims Optometry to learn whether custom contact lenses are right for you. We are proud to serve patients in San Francisco.
Our practice serves patients from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Mateo, California and surrounding communities.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Selena Chan
Q: Can Sclerals Relieve Eye Allergy Symptoms?
A: Do your eyes get red, watery, and itchy when they are exposed to dust and pollen? Scleral contact lenses may be the right choice for you, because they are larger, provide your eyes with extra protection and reduce your exposure to these allergens. Also, the area between the lens and the eye provides ample space for fluid that will bathe and relieve irritated eyes.
Q: How often do scleral lenses need to be replaced?
A: Scleral lenses are often replaced every year, and in some cases, 2-3 years. Scleral lenses last longer because they’re made of durable, long-lasting materials and are often a better value than standard contact lenses.