The cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, is a key component in how your eye focuses light. Ideally, it should be smooth and round, much like the surface of a camera lens. However, due to various factors, some people may develop irregularities in the shape of their cornea, leading to something known as irregular corneas.
Irregular corneas can occur due to a variety of reasons, including eye diseases like keratoconus, complications from eye surgeries, or injuries to the eye. Regardless of the reason, an irregular cornea will not be perfectly round but may be cone-shaped or have a bulge. This irregular shape interferes with the eye's ability to focus light, leading to a range of visual problems.
Living with irregular corneas can have a significant impact on both vision and comfort. Because the cornea's primary role is to focus light onto the retina, any irregularity in its shape can lead to distorted vision. This often manifests as blurriness, double vision, or sensitivity to light. For some, the visual distortion can be slight, but for others, it can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities.
Irregular corneas can also cause discomfort or even pain. This is because the cornea is densely packed with nerve endings. An irregularly shaped cornea can put pressure on these nerves, leading to discomfort or pain. Some people might also experience a gritty or sandy feeling in the eye, and in certain cases, the cornea might become swollen and red.
Considering the impact of irregular corneas on a person's vision and comfort, it's clear that managing this condition is crucial. Thankfully, advancements in eye care technology have provided us with solutions, one of the most promising being scleral lenses.
Scleral lenses, unlike conventional contact lenses, are large-diameter gas permeable contact lenses designed to vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the 'white' part of the eye, the sclera. The space between the back surface of the lens and the front surface of the cornea acts as a fluid reservoir that provides comfort and clear vision.
Scleral lenses have been around for quite some time, but recent advancements have made them more accessible and effective. Originally, these lenses were made from glass and were quite uncomfortable. Today, they are made from highly oxygen-permeable materials, which allow for longer wear and greater comfort.
Scleral lenses have a unique design that sets them apart from other contact lenses. They are larger in diameter and are designed to vault over the cornea without touching it, making them an excellent choice for individuals with irregular corneas.
Given their unique design, scleral lenses can play a significant role in improving vision and comfort for individuals with irregular corneas. Because they vault over the cornea, they create a new, smooth, artificial surface for light to pass through. This helps to eliminate the distortion caused by the irregular cornea, leading to clearer, sharper vision.
In terms of comfort, scleral lenses also offer significant advantages. The fluid reservoir between the lens and the cornea keeps the eye hydrated, reducing feelings of dryness or grittiness. Moreover, because the lenses rest on the sclera and not the cornea, they distribute the weight more evenly and reduce pressure on the cornea's sensitive nerve endings.
The use of scleral lenses for irregular corneas is not just theoretical. Numerous studies have shown their effectiveness in managing this condition. For example, a study published in the journal Eye & Contact Lens found that scleral lenses improved vision and comfort for over 90% of participants with irregular corneas.
The benefits of using scleral lenses for irregular corneas extend beyond just improved vision and comfort. For one, they can provide a level of visual clarity that glasses and standard contact lenses cannot. This is because scleral lenses correct for the entire irregular surface of the cornea, not just part of it.
Additionally, scleral lenses are highly customizable. They can be made to fit each individual's unique eye shape, ensuring optimal fit and comfort. This customization also makes them a viable option for those who have been unable to wear contact lenses comfortably in the past.
Finally, scleral lenses are durable and long-lasting, making them a cost-effective solution in the long run. Though they may require a more significant upfront investment, their durability and the quality of vision they provide make them well worth the cost for many individuals with irregular corneas.
Living with irregular corneas can pose challenges to both vision and comfort. However, innovations like scleral lenses have made it possible for those affected to experience clear, comfortable vision. Through their unique design and functionality, scleral lenses provide a comprehensive solution to the complications presented by irregular corneas.
If you are struggling with vision and comfort due to irregular corneas, consider scleral lenses by contacting VisualEyes at our office in Fayette or Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Call 205.932.5286 or 205.861.2020 to discuss any questions with our team of experts or to schedule an appointment today.