Eye-deology Vision Care: Edmonton Optometrists, Opticians and Eyewear

Optometrist-Fitted Scleral Contact Lenses in Edmonton

Have you been informed in the past that you are not a candidate for contact lenses, or that you cannot wear contact lenses because of an irregular cornea, dry eye syndrome, or another issue? If so, you may want to consider pursuing scleral contact lenses. They are a customizable lens that can be worn by a greater number of individuals. Specialty scleral contact lenses can provide you with the freedom you desire and the clarity you deserve and need. Contact our Edmonton optometrists for a scleral contact lens consultation today!

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Scleral contact lenses are large-diameter gas permeable contact lenses specially designed to span the entire corneal surface and rest on the "white" portion of the eye (i.e., the sclera). The result is that the scleral lenses functionally replace the irregular cornea with a perfectly smooth optical surface to correct vision problems caused by keratoconus or other corneal irregularities. The gap formed between the cornea and back surface of a scleral lens becomes a reservoir for a saline solution that provides comfort for people with severe dry eyes, who otherwise could not tolerate contact lens wear.

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Scleral Contact Lenses Diagram

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus (ker-uh-toe-KOH-nus) is an eye condition in which your cornea — the clear, dome-shaped front of your eye — gets thinner and gradually bulges outward into a cone shape. A cone-shaped cornea causes blurred vision, may cause increased sensitivity to light and glare, and challenges achieving clear vision and comfort with traditional contact lenses.

Normal Eye vs. Eye With Keratoconus

In general, anyone seeking the best vision possible with contact lenses is a candidate for scleral lenses. However, scleral gas permeable contact lenses are particularly advantageous to individuals with the following conditions:

Irregular Corneas. When the cornea has an irregular shape, either due to a natural cause, an eye condition such as keratoconus, or is the result of eye surgery, vision often cannot be fully corrected with eyeglasses or soft contact lenses. In such cases, scleral lenses can provide sharper vision.

Hard-To-Fit Eyes. If traditional gas permeable contact lenses cannot be comfortably fitted on your eyes, or the shape of your eyes makes it easy for the lenses to becomed dislodged during sports activities, scleral lenses can offer a more secure and comfortable fit.

Dry Eye Syndrome. If dry eye syndrome prevents you from wearing conventional contact lenses, scleral lenses may be the solution. The saline reservoir between the back surface of scleral lenses and the cornea serves as a tear reservoir, which helps keep the front of your eye more moist and comfortable.

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Scleral Contact Lens Tear Reservoir

Benefits of scleral contact lenses include:

  • An Answer To Keratoconus. Cone-shaped corneas cannot be properly corrected using eyeglasses or conventional contact lenses. Larger scleral contact lenses sit on the sclera, rather than the cornea, to provide clear and comfortable vision.
  • Solution For Special Eyes. Irregularly shaped corneas (i.e., naturally or resulting for surgery) challenge clear vision with glasses or traditional contact lenses. Scleral contacts provide secure, comfortable and clear vision.
  • Dry Eye Relief. The saline reservoir between lens and cornea serves as a tear reservoir to provide conistent moisture and relief from dry eye symptoms.
  • Stable Optics. The large size of scleral lenses keeps them centered and secure on the eye, providing consistent, stable vision.
  • Improved Peripheral Vision. The large diameter of scleral lenses offers a wider optical zone that provides enhanced peripheral vision.
  • Protection. Covering a larger portion of the eye, scleral contacts offer greater protection from dust, debris, allergens, etc.
  • Enhanced Durability. As a RGP contact lens, sclerals are made to last.
  • Cost-Effective. With greater durability and longer lifespans than standard contact lenses, scleral contacts are a cost effective option, even when accounting for their unique fitting fees.
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Scleral Contact Lens Benefits

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Scleral contacts are comparatively larger than standard gas permeable (GP) contact lenses (and soft contact lenses - See Scleral vs. Soft Contact Lenses) and have a diameter equal to or greater than soft contact lenses. With the average cornea being approximately 11.8 millimetres in diameter, even small scleral contact lenses cover the entire corneal surface. Corneo-scleral lenses often are a good choice for people who require larger-than-normal GP lenses for greater comfort. They also are frequently used when contact lenses are needed following corneal refractive surgery to correct irregular astigmatism. Larger scleral lenses are great for conditions such as keratoconus, chronic dry eyes, and severe ocular surface disease that may benefit from a large tear reservoir. That is because the gap created between scleral lens and cornea would have a greater capacity to hold fluid (i.e., saline) and span large corneal variances (i.e., peaks and valleys).

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Scleral Contact Lenses vs. Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Scleral contact lenses are tailor-made for each patient. Accordingly, fitting scleral contacts requires greater expertise, technology (i.e., corneal topographer) and more time than fitting standard soft or gas permeable contact lenses. Also, because scleral contact lenses are a precision product, adjustments to lens parameters may be needed and addtional be made and exchanged. The complete fitting process can require several visits to determine the optimal lens for both eyes. Mastering inserting and removing scleral lenses may also take some practice, even for experienced contact lens wearers. This is due to the larger lens size and the need to maintain a fluid reservoir under the lenses. Because of the expertise needed to fit and manufacture scleral lenses, costs are noteably greater than compared to fitting soft or GP contact lenses. However, with proper care and a stable prescription, scleral contact lenses can last up to 2 years.

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Scleral Contact Lenses in Edmonton

Dry Eye Treatment

See relief from the dry eye symptoms of burning eyes, scratchiness, pain and redness with personalized eye care from our Edmonton optometrists.

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Optometrist Performed Contact Lens Fittings

Proper contact lens fit is essential for comfort and eye health. Visit our experienced Edmonton optometrists for a personalized contact lens fitting.

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Contact Lens eStore

Conveniently and easily replenish your inventory of contact lenses online from trusted Edmonton eye doctor through our Contact Lens eStore.

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Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is an eye disease caused by either decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation.

The Cost Of Scleral Contact Lenses

There are different types of scleral contact lenses. Learn more about the average price point.

The Benefits of Wearing Sunglasses

The benefits of wearing sunglasses extend beyond offering protection from eye-damaging ultraviolet light.

Scleral Contact Lenses Fitting By Edmonton Optometrists

Scleral contact lenses offer numerous benefits. Learn more about how they could be a great option for you and your vision today!

Yes! Cleaning the lenses with an approved solution removes deposits from the lens surface and kills microbes that potentially cause eye infections.

Non-preservative, non-buffered, inhalent saline is required for scleral contact lenses. There is minimal tear exchange when the lens is on the eye. Long-term exposure to preservatives can cause a sensitivity or toxicity to the cornea resulting in redness and irritation. Non-buffered saline contains only 2 ingredient - purified water and sodium chloride (i.e., salt, or NaCL). By comparison, buffered saline has four ingredients - purified water, sodium chloride,, sodium borate and borc acid. The latter two ingredients can often cause irritation.

If you apply the lens and notice that your vision is blurry or the lens feels uncomfortable, you may have an air bubble trapped underneath. Sometimes you can see the bubble if you look in the mirror, but other times you cannot. If you think there is a bubble, remove the lens and reapply it.

Foggy or cloudy vision is often attributed to two causes. First, there may be mucous or debris trapped between the lens and the cornea. This can occur when the lens does not align properly to the eye. Second, the front surface of the lens may not be wetting well. There are multiple reasons for this including poor tear film chemistry, improper cleaning, or lens surface breakdown. On rare occasions, foggy vision can also occur when the cornea becomes edematous (swollen). If your vision is still foggy after removing the lens, please inform your eye care practitioner. It is strongly recommended that any foggy or cloudy vision be addressed with your eye care practitioner.

No. Sleeping in lenses reduces oxygen transmission to the eye. This can cause swelling of the cornea and the abnormal growth of blood vessels into the cornea.

Yes, it is normal. We call it an impression ring. Similar to when you remove a watch or a pair of socks, there is often an impression in the tissue due to the placement of a device. This is not a problem and should disappear within about 5 minutes. If, however, you experience a significant amount of redness in this area after removing the lenses, especially if it persists after a few minutes, talk to your eye doctor, as this may indicate that the lens is fitting too tightly.

If cared for properly, most lenses are expected to last at approximately one year.
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Doctor Jennifer Ash, Eye Doctor (Edmonton)

Dr. Jennifer Ash is the Resident Optometrist at Eye-deology Vision Care. Dr. Ash provides patient care 5 days a week. Read more about Dr. Ash.

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Dr. Ruhee Kurji is an Associate Optometrist at Eye-deology Vision Care. Dr. Kurji provides patient care Tuesdays & Fridays. Read more about Dr. Kurji.

Doctor Jade McLachlin, Eye Doctor (Edmonton)

Dr. Jade McLachlin is an Associate Optometrist at Eye-deology Vision Care. Dr. McLachlin provides patient care 5 days a week. Read more about Dr. McLachlin.

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