Skip to main content
Home »

Scleral

Can I Wear Contacts If I Have Astigmatism?

brunette girl smiling 640Many people choose to wear contact lenses to correct their vision due to the freedom and convenience contacts provide. But for those with astigmatism, wearing contact lenses isn’t always simple.

At The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist in New York City & Scarsdale we offer specialized contact lenses that provide clear and comfortable vision, even if you have moderate to severe astigmatism.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. The abnormal cornea causes light to disperse unevenly into the eye, leading to blurred or distorted vision. Other symptoms of astigmatism can include headaches, eye strain, and difficulties with reading or using digital devices.

Astigmatism may be congenital, meaning that you are born with the condition, or you can develop it later in life. People with astigmatism usually also have myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), two of the most common refractive errors.

Which Contact Lenses Can You Wear With Astigmatism?

Although traditional soft contact lenses may not be suitable for patients with astigmatism, there are two other types of contact lenses specifically designed for those with unusually shaped corneas.

Toric Contact Lenses

Toric lenses are a popular choice for people with mild astigmatism. Patients with higher levels of astigmatism, however, generally require a higher level of expertise.

Toric lenses are designed to provide clear vision and a comfortable fit. There are two main issues with toric lenses. First, the range of corrective powers is limited, so patients with moderate to high levels of astigmatism may not be able to wear toric contacts. Second, these lenses need to rotate on the cornea to find the correct position and orientation, leading these lenses to occasionally provide unstable or varying clarity of vision.

Toric lenses are available in either soft disposable or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens materials.

Scleral Contact Lenses

Unlike standard lenses, scleral lenses vault over the cornea and sit on the sclera (the white of the eye). These lenses do not have the issues faced by toric lenses as they are individually designed for each patient and do not sit on the cornea. By vaulting over the cornea, scleral lenses create a liquid reservoir between your cornea and the lens. This dome provides a continually hydrating environment that protects the cornea, promotes healing, and increases comfort.

Scleral lenses have become a staple therapeutic tool in the visual rehabilitation of patients with astigmatism and other corneal irregularities. They also can provide better visual acuity than standard soft lenses thanks to their rigid surface and personalized fit. Scleral lenses have proven to be an excellent solution for patients with astigmatism that appreciate sharp and comfortable vision.

How We Can Help

At The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist, we can provide you with customized toric or scleral contact lenses that are tailor-made for patients with astigmatism or other corneal irregularities, as well as hard-to-fit eyes. By taking precise and detailed measurements of your cornea, we will be able to ensure a secure fit and crisp, clear vision. To learn more information or to schedule your consultation, call us today.

The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist serves patients from New York City, Scarsdale, Rye , Mamaroneck, and throughout New York.

5 Facts About Scleral Lenses

happy teenagers 640Scleral contact lenses are large-diameter gas permeable contact lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the “white” of the eye (the sclera). In doing so, the lenses form a dome over the irregular cornea that provides clear and comfortable vision for individuals with keratoconus, dry eye and other ocular surface conditions.

Here are 5 facts about scleral lenses and why they are a great choice for many patients.

1- They work when nothing else will.

Patients with an irregularly shaped cornea, whether due to natural causes, an eye condition or complications following surgery, can at times develop vision problems that cannot be corrected using glasses or soft contact lenses. In such cases, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable, stable, secure fit, and improved vision.

For those with keratoconus, scleral contact lenses provide advanced care that resolves visual distortions and creates clear vision while providing a comfortable wearing experience.

In addition to helping those with keratoconus, scleral lenses are also recommended for those with an astigmatism, particularly for high astigmatism that other contacts cannot comfortably correct.

2- Scleral contacts provide relief for those who suffer from dry eye.

Unlike traditional contact lenses, scleral lenses minimize eye irritation. Since they vault over the dry, irritated cornea and sit on the sclera, they offer comfort and clear vision. Sclerals leave a space between the lens and the cornea containing a liquid reservoir of artificial tears that provides a protective cushion that soothes the eye.

This is crucial, because even blinking can irritate the eye or injure the cornea due to the mechanical friction of the eyelids on the cornea. Scleral lenses can act as a shield between a patient’s eyes and their eyelids, protecting the eyes from further irritation or damage.

3- Sclerals are long lasting lenses.

Constructed from high quality, durable materials, these rigid gas permeable contacts typically last 1-3 years. Therefore, while the initial cost of scleral lenses is higher than standard contacts, you’ll benefit from maximum value for your money.

While scleral lenses are long lasting, it is important to book follow up visits with your eye doctor to determine when it’s time to replace them with a new pair, so as not to harm your cornea.

4- Scleral contacts are worth the cost

People assume that because sclerals must be fitted and customized to fit each individual eye, they are exorbitantly expensive. In fact, the lenses are often covered by insurance and certain vision and health savings plans.

These lenses provide enough of an improvement over regular lenses — in both comfort and vision — to justify the investment.

5- Scleral lenses are very comfortable.

Some people mistakenly assume that rigid contacts aren’t comfortable. In reality, scleral contact lenses are very comfortable because they don’t touch the cornea and lubricate the eyes.

If you have irregular corneas, dry eye or hard-to-fit eyes, scleral lenses may be right for you. Find out more about scleral lenses by scheduling an eye exam at The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist today!

The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist serves patients from New York City, Scarsdale, Rye and Mamaroneck, throughout New York.

Keratoconus and Coronavirus

Middle Aged Couple Multifocal ContactsKeratoconus refers to the thinning and elongation of the cornea, the transparent layers over the eye, into a cone-like shape. That results in blurred vision. Other symptoms include vision difficulties at night and objects appearing to have a glare or halos around them.

If you have keratoconus, several options are available.

For a mild or moderate condition, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses will help. Some people do better with rigid gas permeable (hard) contact lenses. If contact lenses hurt your cornea, scleral lenses are recommended. They vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye. For more severe cases of keratoconus, laser treatment and corneal transplants are recommended.

Hygiene for Scleral-Lens Wearers in the Coronavirus Era

As always, hygiene is paramount when you handle and wear scleral lenses, as it is with soft and hard lenses. This means thoroughly washing your hands before touching the lenses, and cleaning and rinsing the lenses with recommended solutions.

Wearing sclerals and other contact lenses during the coronavirus pandemic remains as safe as ever, but it’s even more important now to observe hygiene guidelines. In fact, you can take extra precautions to lower the risk of inadvertently transmitting the coronavirus to your eyes, from where it can enter your body.

Consider taking these additional preventative steps:

  • Use disinfectant wipes to clean the counters and other surfaces where you place the scleral-lens cases and solutions. This includes disinfecting the cases and containers of solutions before using.
  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes or removing your lenses.
  • Don’t touch the area on/near your eye and then someone else’s, or vice versa.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes to prevent keratoconus from developing or worsening, while also reducing the risk of getting infected by coronavirus.

If you have keratoconus and are concerned about maintaining your optical health while reducing the risk of coronavirus, contact us.

The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist treats patients with keratoconus in New York City, Scarsdale, Rye , Mamaroneck, and throughout New York.

References:

Succeeding With Sclerals

Succeeding With ScleralsHealthy 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.

What sets our practice apart from the rest is that we have invested in highly specialized tomography instruments that not only allow us to monitor the health of the eye in patients with corneal disease, we are able to measure the entire cornea and surrounding sclera. We then use sophisticated software to design a unique shaped scleral lens that fits better than ever before. The result is more comfort, better vision, and eye health.

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. Zlatin 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 Eye Q Optometrist offers scleral lenses to patients from New York City, Scarsdale, Rye , New York City, and throughout New York.

REFERENCES

When All Other Contacts Have Failed, Scleral Lenses May Be the Answer

Girl Beach Contact Lenses

Sclerals vs. Standard Lenses

Standard contact lenses — be they soft, rigid gas permeable, or disposable — are the most popular choice for people with refractive errors who don’t want to wear glasses. But because standard lenses rest directly on the cornea, they aren’t a good fit for people with very dry eyes or irregularly shaped corneas.

Patients who have an irregular cornea find scleral lenses to be ideal. They have a larger diameter than standard lenses that allows them to vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera (the white part of the eye). Because they form a dome over the cornea, scleral lenses protect it from scratches and abrasions.

Scleral lenses also store saline solution between the back of the lens and the front of the cornea. As a result, the eye’s surface stays lubricated, maximizing comfort. Vision remains reliable, too.

Because scleral lenses are larger than standard lenses and custom-fitted to the eye, they are more stable and less likely to pop out. Scleral lenses correct astigmatism even in people with highly irregular corneal surfaces.

Sclerals are often prescribed for patients who suffer from dry eye or other complications following LASIK or other corneal surgeries.


Because scleral lenses are custom made and comfort is paramount, they might require several visits to get the fit just right. To learn if you have a corneal condition that requires scleral lenses, visit The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist. We help patients from New York City, Scarsdale, Rye , Mamaroneck, and throughout New York.

References:

 

Scleral Lenses Can Prevent Dry Eye, Tiredness, and Discomfort

protect your eyes 640x350It’s not uncommon for certain contact lens wearers to suffer from eyes that feel dry, red, itchy, uncomfortable, and at times very painful. Eye drops and artificial tears can deliver relief, but they are no more than a temporary solution.

One of the best contact lenses for optimal comfort and hydration are scleral lenses, as they simultaneously provide vision correction, protect the eyes, and lubricate them.

What are Scleral Lenses?

These rigid gas permeable lenses have an extra-wide diameter that vaults over your whole cornea. In contrast to other contact lenses, they rest on the white part of your eyes (sclera) and not the cornea. As a result, scleral lenses consistently rank at the top of the charts when it comes to providing sharp visual acuity, comfort, and healthy eyes.

Common Contact Lens Complaints

Below we’ll explore the most common contact lens complaints we hear at our practice and ways scleral lenses can prevent them.

End-of-day tiredness and dry eyes

After just 6 to 8 hours of contact lens wear during the day, many contact lens wearers experience tired and dry eyes. Though standard hydrogel contact lenses allow a high concentration of oxygen to permeate the eye, some people need an alternative.

End-of-day eye discomfort can be resolved with scleral lenses, as these custom-designed lenses have a liquid reservoir between the lens and the cornea that provides a continuous moist environment that soothes tired, dry eyes.

Not only does this cushion of moisture lead to a comfortable wearing experience; it also promotes healthy eyes throughout the day, allowing you to wear these lenses for 12 to 14 hours! It is for this reason that many of our patients turn to scleral lenses for unparalleled comfort and all-day ocular hydration.

Chronic dry eye syndrome

Certain dry eye patients may experience painful, red, and swollen eyes. For them, traditional soft contact lenses can be unbearable because they sit right on the irritated cornea. Moreover, these contact lenses tend to act as sponges, soaking up the moisture from the surface of the eye.

If you struggle with dry eye syndrome and have been looking for a more effective treatment method beyond eyedrops and artificial tears, ask your The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist doctor about scleral lenses.

Feeling the contact lens in the eye

Feeling your contact lenses in your eyes often indicates a poor fitting. Everyone’s eyes are different and when it comes to contact lenses, no size fits all. Furthermore, if lenses are insufficiently curved, they can be dislodged with every blink. This isn’t just uncomfortable — the wrong size lens can damage your cornea.

Because scleral lenses have a large diameter and are custom-made to your eye shape and size, it is almost impossible for scleral lenses to dislodge during normal wear. And since these lenses do not make contact with the surface of your cornea, there is a decreased risk of corneal abrasions.

Operating in dusty environments

Dry, dusty or dirty conditions can cause contact lenses to not only dry out, but can also lead irritants to attach themselves to the lenses. Scleral lenses offer comfort, even in dusty or dirty environments. This is because the lenses cover a large area of the eye, and since the outer layer of the lens protects the eye surface, dust and tiny particles can’t reach it. While not a complete barrier, scleral lenses can provide you with more relief and all-day comfort than traditional lenses.

If you’ve tried traditional contact lenses and have experienced any of the above, or if you’re simply seeking a more comfortable alternative to wear all day, it’s worth considering scleral lenses.

Contact a knowledgeable and experienced eye care professional, Dr. Zlatin, who will patiently assess and explain your condition to you. Dr. Zlatin will perform a specialized scleral lens custom-fitting to ensure that you receive the best fit for optimal visual clarity and comfort.

Call the The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist today to schedule your consultation. We help patients from the New York City, Scarsdale, Rye , and Mamaroneck, in the New York area enjoy great vision and comfort with scleral lenses.

 

This Contact Lens Can Actually Treat Dry Eye Syndrome!

something in my eyeWearing traditional contact lenses can be a convenient method of correcting vision — unless you are suffering from dry eye. Dry eye symptoms, such as red, itchy eyes, or a feeling of having something in your eye, tend to worsen when wearing traditional contact lenses.

There is, however, one type of lens that isn’t only comfortable to wear, but also improves vision and reduces symptoms — it’s called a scleral lens. This lens differs from a conventional contact lens in several ways, most notably in size. Scleral lenses are large custom-fit contact lenses that offer multiple benefits for people with dry eyes and a variety of other eye conditions.

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, speak with Dr. Zlatin to see whether wearing scleral lenses is the best course of action for your condition.

Dry Eye Symptoms

First things first, what does dry eye mean? If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms for some time, you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome:

  • Red eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Mucus in or around your eyes
  • A feeling of dust or sand in your eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue

Why Do the Symptoms Occur?

Your eyes are usually covered with a thin film of tears to keep them lubricated and protected. If the lubrication is inadequate, that is, if the quality or quantity of the tears is out of balance, one of the above symptoms may occur.

Dry eye can have many causes, such as certain medical conditions, medications, environmental influences, hormones, and extensive exposure to blue light from digital devices. Long-time contact lens usage may also impact tear quality. Dry eye mostly affects women, particularly upon reaching menopause.

What Are Scleral Lenses?

This gas permeable contact lens is considerably larger than any other contact lens, and due to its size, a scleral lens rests on the sclera—the white part of the eye— without touching the cornea.

As mentioned earlier, when you have dry eye, the cornea is more sensitive than usual, rendering it uncomfortable when a traditional contact lens comes into contact with it. Scleral lenses, on the other hand, cause no friction to the cornea as they do not directly touch it, but rather vault right over it.

Scleral lenses were initially developed for patients who could not wear traditional contact lenses, such as those with high astigmatism, keratoconus, and other corneal irregularities. Over the years, study after study has shown that scleral lenses can improve and even treat dry eye syndrome.

How Does a Scleral Lens Treat Dry Eye?

Standard soft contact lenses absorb moisture from the eye, whereas scleral lenses provide moisture. Furthermore, when inserting a scleral lens into your eye, you first apply a saline solution, which fills the gap between the cornea and the lens. This provides moisture for the irritated eye and promotes healing.

By ensuring consistent hydration of the eye and shielding the cornea from external irritants, scleral lenses provide the eye with the conditions needed to heal. As you can see, scleral lenses can play a therapeutic role in the healing process of dry eye syndrome.

What You Need to Know About Wearing Scleral Lenses With Dry Eye

Most people find that scleral lenses are very comfortable to wear. They do not move around on the eye, and dust particles are less likely to get caught underneath. Caring for, inserting and removing a larger lens, however, involves some practice and calls for a little more caution.

One of the few side effects of dry eye is a higher production of mucus, which can accumulate underneath the lens. As a result, you may have to clean your lenses more frequently to ensure clear vision.

Eye Drops and Scleral Lenses

Artificial tears are a common treatment for dry eye, and you can use them in combination with scleral lenses. However, make sure to consult Dr. Zlatin regarding which drops to use for your specific case.

To further reduce symptoms and improve the quality of your tears, consider using lid scrubs regularly. Also, warm compresses can provide relief and contribute to improving the tear film.

Where Can You Get Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses are custom-made for each patient. At The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist, we have made scleral lens fitting one of our primary objectives, which is why our practice is equipped with the latest technology and contact lens modalities. This has enabled us to achieve positive results for our dry eye patients.

This Contact Lens Can Actually Treat Dry Eye Syndrome from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Contact Dr. Zlatin at The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eye Q Optometrist for a personal consultation and find out whether scleral lenses are a suitable option for your dry eye syndrome.

We serve dry eye patients from New York City, Scarsdale, Rye , Mamaroneck, and throughout New York.