Scleral Lenses in Shreveport, LA
Scleral lenses are specialty contact lenses that provide vision correction for a wide range of eye care needs, including the following:
- Hard-to-fit prescriptions
- Severe dry eye
- Corneal scars caused by surgery, injury, or infection
We’ve found, however, that many of our patients either haven’t heard of scleral lenses, or haven’t been told how specialty contacts can improve their situation. Some of these patients have even been told that they aren’t a good candidate for contact lenses, when in fact, they may be.
At Lusk Eye Specialists, we’re home to an experienced team of scleral lens specialists, and we’re happy to explain the life-changing potential of this unique vision solution.
What Are Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses are a type of rigid gas permeable (GP or RGP) lenses. While most contacts on the market are flexible “soft” contact lenses, GP lenses have a more fixed shape.
GP lenses have pros and cons:
- They are custom made to suit your corneas and your vision needs
- They can provide sharper vision than what is possible in glasses or soft contact lenses
- They bathe the front of the eye in a saline solution which provides it with moisture and nutrients
- There is better oxygen flow to the cornea to keep it healthy
- They are great for active lifestyles since they don’t accidently fall out
- Custom lenses take a week or more to make to our exact specifications
- A few office visits will be necessary as we make changes to the fit of the lens to ensure your best comfort and vision
- The lenses will need to be cleaned daily and necessitate a few extra tools to keep them working properly
- There may be a brief adaptation period as your eyes adjust to the feel of these specialized lenses
Size Makes Scleral Lenses Different
Most GP lenses only cover part of the front of the eye (the corneal surface), scleral lenses are significantly larger. Scleral lenses vault over the corneal surface to rest on the whites of the eye (the sclera). This ability to cover the entire front of the eye while not resting on it has the difference that gives it so many benefits, especially for so-called “hard-to-fit” contact lens patients. Scleral lenses are also more stable than GP lenses, providing greater comfort due to their reduced movement on the eye.
Expert Scleral Lens Fittings in Shreveport
Lusk Eye Specialists’ Susan G. Donald, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O., is one of the most experienced eye doctors in the country when it comes to scleral lenses. While most eye care providers have seen fewer than 50 scleral lens patients in their lifetime, Dr. Donald manages 100 such patients at any given time, and starts new patients at a rate rarely seen in the industry.
Dr. Donald was a scleral lens self-starter who first fit a patient for scleral lenses because, in that moment, she was the only one who could. After that, she did a tremendous amount of research into the proper ways to measure and fit patients for scleral lenses, and word of mouth about her talents has since brought many patients to see her at Lusk Eye Specialists. Some even moved closer to Shreveport specifically for her care!
Pamela Theriot, O.D., F.A.A.O., is another eye doctor at Lusk Eye Specialists who has become an expert with scleral lenses. Dr. Theriot is also a dry eye specialist. Since scleral lenses are frequently used as a treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome, this is a perfect match for Dr. Theriot’s specialties.
Many eye doctors use current eye measurement technologies, but few use them correctly or patiently enough to truly meet their patients’ needs. In addition to using advanced eye measurement equipment, the optometrists of Lusk Eye Specialists take the time to understand each patient’s unique eyesight, altering and adapting their care to meet the demands of their daily life while protecting their eye health for years to come.
What Do Scleral Lenses Treat?
Scleral lenses treat a wide range of eye conditions, including:
- Vision problems like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia
- Misshaped corneas due to surgery, corneal transplants, infection, injury, or scarring
- Diseases like Keratoconus, Graft vs. Host Disease, and Dry Eye Syndrome
The specific attributes of a scleral lens can benefit patients with many ocular conditions. To start with, the fact that they cover the entire corneal surface with a fixed form means they can act as a “substitute” cornea — the clear, front layer of the eye that’s partially responsible for focusing vision. Conditions that involve a misshapen cornea, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism, or even non-corneal issues like presbyopia (the eye’s lens becoming less flexible due to aging), can all be improved with a scleral lens.
Scleral lenses are also a great option for those with dry eye, especially severe cases. Some patients have such intense dry eye that they can’t see in the dark or wear any other contacts. Scleral lenses retain fluid between the lens’ back surface and the cornea, and let oxygen pass through to the eye, providing dry eye patients both clear vision and much sought-after relief.
Scleral lenses can also help provide relief following eye injuries, infections, or surgeries. They’re often recommended after corneal transplants or for patients who previously underwent RK (radial keratotomy). They have highly specialized benefits, from substituting for a scarred cornea to providing a prescription that would be impossible to attain comfortably with a pair of glasses.
Scleral Lenses for Keratoconus
One of the most common uses of scleral lenses is to treat keratoconus, a condition where the cornea thins and bulges into a more uneven “cone” shape. Not only can it be difficult to correct the vision of such an irregularly shaped cornea, it can also be hard to find contact lenses that rest comfortably on the cornea without causing pain. Scleral lenses are a great option: they provide significant vision correction while resting on the sclera and staying completely above the cornea without touching it.
Who Is A Good Fit for Scleral Lenses?
While scleral lenses can help certain people a great deal, they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution. We analyze your eye’s topography — or surface curvature and shape — using our Ziemer GALILEI topographer and other specialized devices, and pay special attention to the thickness and contour of your cornea: wearing scleral lenses requires monitoring your corneal thickness and shape over time.
We also consider your present and future eye health, as well as your motivation. Scleral lenses may initially be more expensive and require more care than other vision solutions; they need to be custom fit, after all. We’re always sure to communicate what we believe would be best for each patient.
How Can Scleral Lenses Improve Vision and Quality of Life?
One of the most rewarding parts of our team’s experience with scleral lens patients is when we’re able to provide better sight to people who have given up on improving their vision. Many have not known about scleral lenses, or have spent hundreds of dollars on unsuccessful solutions with other eye care providers. Many — such as those with severe dry eye or astigmatism — have no other solutions, and may have difficulty working or driving with their conditions.
So if you’re someone who has…
- Never heard of scleral lenses
- Tried expensive custom fit lenses in the past (and failed)
- Been told your prescription is unavailable in contact lenses
- Been told you are not a good candidate for contact lenses because of your eye shape
- Or just feel like you have no other solution
… then scleral contact lenses could be the right choice for you. Seeing these hard-to-fit patients find both clarity and comfort with scleral lenses is one of our greatest joys.
Scleral Lens Fittings at Lusk Eye Specialists
At Lusk Eye Specialists, we’re proud of the work that Dr. Donald, Dr. Theriot, and the Lusk Eye Specialists team accomplish together. They’re incredibly adept at helping current or potential scleral lens patients make the most out of their specialized contact lenses. Come for one of the country’s most experienced scleral lens teams, and stay for the patient-focused care that every member of our staff provides.