Scleral Contact Lenses Questions and Answers with Doctor Calista Ming
1. What are scleral contact lenses?
Scleral Contact Lenses are large contact lenses that rest on the eye’s sclera (white part of the eye) and is used to treat a variety of eye conditions
2. Who is a good candidate for scleral lenses?
Patients who are unable to achieve good vision and comfort with glasses or conventional contact lenses could be good candidates for scleral contact lenses.
3. What eye health issues do scleral contact lens treat (i.e., keratoconus, corneal transplants, dry eyes? etc.)?
Scleral Lenses can be used to treat many eye issues, such as, but not limited to:
- Corneal Ectasia: Keratoconus, Pellucid Marginal degeneration, Keratoglobus
- Post-surgical: Lasik, Radial Keratotomy, Post Refractive surgery Ectasia, Corneal Transplant
- High Myopia (near-sightedness), High hyperopia (far-sightedness), High Astigmatism, Presbyopia
- Corneal Irregularities: Degenerations, Dystrophies, Scarring
- Dry eyes, Sjogren’s Syndrome
4. What types of scleral lenses are there?
Scleral lenses are customized to every individual patient and their needs, so no two lenses are the same.
5. Are scleral lenses typically covered by medical or vision insurance?
Everyone’s insurance is different, but usually, medical and vision insurance can cover scleral lenses if you have a condition that necessitates scleral lenses.
6. What are the benefits of Scleral Lenses over other kinds of Contact Lenses?
Scleral lenses can provide superior vision and comfort over other contacts. They are also a treatment for dry eyes, whereas other contacts can cause dry eyes.
7. How often should I replace my Scleral Contacts?
Usually, Annually. But your eye doctor will determine the best replacement schedule for you.
8. Are different types of Scleral lenses used at earlier v. Later stages of the onset of keratoconus?
Scleral lenses are customized to every individual patient and the shapes of their eyes. So yes, a different size and/or contact lens shape may be required for earlier vs. later stages of Keratoconus.
9. Sometimes, the term “scleral lenses” (or “sclera lenses”) also is used to describe special-effect contact lenses that dramatically alter the appearance of the wearer’s eyes – used in movies – Explain?
Yes, these terms are often confused, but they are very different types of contact lenses. Sclera (without the ‘L”) contact lenses are used to cosmetically alter the look of eyes, usually for special effects or Halloween! Scleral (with an “L”) contact lenses are used the treat medical conditions of the eye.
10. At what age can a child begin wearing Scleral Lenses?
There is no age requirement for scleral lenses.
11. What is the typical cost of Scleral lenses? Why are they higher cost than regular contacts?
Cost can vary depending on the severity of the condition being treated. Scleral Contact Lenses are usually higher in cost than conventional contact lenses, as they are individually designed, customized, and manufactured for each patient’s needs.
12. I have had issues in the past with contact lenses being uncomfortable. Do you recommend Sclerals?
100%. Scleral lenses can be more comfortable than soft contact lenses and hard (Gas Permeable/ GP) contact lenses. Many patients think since scleral lenses are large and hard, they wouldn’t be comfortable. Still, because these lenses rest on the sclera (white part of the eye) and not the highly innervated cornea (over the colored part of the eye), they are very comfortable.
13. What is a great success story you’ve had with scleral lenses?
To answer this I will draw a few quotes from actual patients.
- “Dr. Ming changed my life! I was diagnosed with an eye condition in 2012, and it’s been an uphill battle ever since. True story, fast forward to December 2019, I found Dr. Ming on Instagram trying to discover how others managed this condition. As soon as time permitted, I made an appointment, and the rest was history. Dr. Ming, Dr. Nozaki, and the Premier Vision Care staff are the ultimate professionals. Dr. Ming is knowledgeable about my condition and up-to-date on the best practices and cutting-edge technology to help her patients achieve better vision. My scleral contact lenses are a perfect fit and have seriously given me my life back. I am not fearful of driving long distances or night driving due to horrible glares. I appreciate her sincerity and determination to make sure my vision needs were met. I’m forever grateful for her help….”
- “ “I once was blind but now I see” pretty much describes my experience working with Dr. Calista Ming and Premier Vision. After more than 50 years of wearing hard contact lenses, I just couldn’t tolerate them anymore! Several eye specialists tried to find the perfect fit but couldn’t. I faced a future of limited vision. My world was becoming smaller and darker, and I lost hope of ever seeing well again until I discovered Dr. Calista Ming and the Scleral Lens!! It turned out to be a magical combination. Dr. Ming is an absolute master of the sclera lens. On my second visit, she put a trial pair in and asked me to go outside and “have a look around”. It was unbelievable! I could read the numbers on the license plates across the parking lot. They were comfortable too! I left that day with renewed hope…”
14. How long does the fitting of scleral lenses take?
Scleral lenses are individually designed, customized, and manufactured so your eye doctor usually first sees you for an initial fitting, where trial lenses may be put on your eye to better determine the best fit and prescription. Then the lenses need to be designed, manufactured, and shipped, which usually takes 1-2 weeks. After that, your eye doctor will see you again to dispense and train you on how to insert, remove and care for your new lenses. Once you have started wearing your new lenses, you will check in a few times with your eye doctor to ensure your lenses are fitting well, and sometimes new modified lenes may need to be ordered. The entire process would take up to a few months.