Eye Health Articles
Why Your Contact Lenses May be Causing You Discomfort
Scleral Contact Lenses – An Alternative Contact Lenses
Contact lenses have been a boon to people who require corrective lenses but are unable to wear eyeglasses (for whatever reason). Because they are discreet, they don’t alter your appearance, and they can be worn in situations where eyeglasses can not be.
However, sometimes contact lenses can be uncomfortable. This discomfort can be mild, or it can be debilitating. We encounter this scenario often and work with our patients to relieve their discomfort so they can continue enjoying their contact lenses without compromise.
Signs and Symptoms of Contact Lens Discomfort
You may experience some of the following:
- A stinging, burning, or itchy sensation in the eyes
- A feeling of a foreign body in the eye
- Redness of the eye or surrounding tissues
- Sensitivity to light
- Excessive tearing, watery eyes
- Blurred vision
- Symptoms similar to dry eye
If you are experiencing those (or similar) symptoms, remove your contact lenses and do not put them back in until you have come in for a contact lens exam. During this exam we will investigate to try to determine the cause of the irritation.
Reasons Your Contact Lenses Are Uncomfortable
There may be no clear cut cause of your discomfort. However, the items below are known to cause problems for some people.
Contact Lenses that Do Not Fit Properly
Poor fit in your contact lens is the main reason lenses cause discomfort. Every eye is a little different, and it’s important that the lenses you choose are a good fit for your eye. This is a big part of the contact lens exam- we are assessing your eyes to find the right shape and size of lens to ensure optimal comfort.
Allergies, Dry Eye, or Other Underlying Problems
Sometimes the problems are unrelated to the lens, but rather associated with another eye problem. Dry eye, for example, can make contact lenses extremely uncomfortable. During the exam we will also look for other conditions that may be influencing your contact lens comfort.
Allergic conjunctivitis – aka, eye allergies – can cause symptoms not dissimilar from dry eye. It can also make wearing contact lenses quite uncomfortable.
Foreign Bodies in the Eye
Many people are not aware when they have a foreign body in the eye. It may seem obvious to some, but there are situations where something may not be causing problems until a contact lens is placed on top of it. We will check for this during your assessment.
Getting a Handle on Contact Lens Problems
We will work with you to find a solution to your discomfort. In the interim, be sure to wear your eyeglasses as opposed to contact lenses- the last thing you want to do is aggravate the issue further (and cause more problems in the process).
Remember: we are here to help you and are experts in our field. Let’s work together to improve your eyesight and your quality of life.
If you have trouble wearing conventional contact lenses or have been told that you are not a suitable candidate for them, you should consult our optometrist about trying scleral contact lenses.
What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?
Scleral lenses are large diameter lenses which are also gas permeable. They are referred to as “scleral” because instead of covering a part of the cornea like conventional lenses, they cover the entire corneal surface and rest on the “white” part of the eye, known as the sclera.
What Benefits Do Scleral Contact Lenses Provide?
Scleral lenses offer the same advantages that conventional gas permeable lenses have compared over soft contacts, which include:
- Sharper vision
- Greater durability
- Easier handling
- Less risk of complications
Additionally, scleral lenses are more stable on the eye than the smaller conventional lenses, making them less likely to accidentally dislodge from the eye. Due to their stability, they are also typically more comfortable than conventional lenses.
Scleral lenses are made with highly breathable, rigid and gas permeable lens materials. This ensures that sufficient oxygen reaches the front surface of the eye, keeping it healthy and comfortable.
Different Categories of Scleral Contact Lenses
There are three categories of scleral lenses, each determined by their overall size and where the lenses have their primary contact with the front surface of the eye.
Corneo-scleral Lenses and Semi-scleral Lenses
These lenses are much larger than conventional lenses and rest near the junction between the cornea and the sclera.
Lenses in this category cover the entire corneal surface and rest on the anterior sclera.
The largest scleral lenses, these provide the greatest amount of clearance between the back surface of the lens and the cornea.
Are Scleral Contact Lenses A Good Fit For You?
If you are seeking the best vision possible with contact lenses, you are generally a strong candidate for scleral lenses. However, scleral lenses are especially ideal for patients with the following conditions:
Irregularly Shaped Corneas
In most cases, vision problems resulting from an irregularly shaped cornea cannot be fully corrected with glasses or soft contact lenses. Scleral lenses typically provide sharper vision for these types of eyes compared to other aids.
Irregularly Shaped Eyes
Due to their characteristics, scleral lenses are ideal if your eyes cannot be comfortably fitted with conventional lenses, or the shape of your eye makes lenses prone to dislodging. Scleral lenses are a more comfortable and secure fit.
If you find traditional contact lenses uncomfortable, check out Sclerals!
Chronically Dry Eyes
The proficient gas permeability of scleral lenses is of great benefit those who have eyes that are too dry for conventional lenses. This is helped by the space between the back surface of scleral lenses and the cornea; it acts as a tear reservoir to keep the front of your eye hydrated and comfortable.