In this episode Dr. Steven Suh interviews Dr. Katie Wulff, an optometrist, about a specialty gas-permeable contact lens called scleral lenses. Some people have abnormal corneal curvatures and irregularities which make it difficult for them to see even with glasses or soft contact lenses. Stephen Curry, an NBA star with the Golden State Warriors, wears scleral lenses because of his corneal condition called keratoconus.
Rigid gas-permeable contacts (RGP) and scleral contact lenses have a smooth, spherical, and hard surface which will neutralize these irregular “hills and valleys” on one’s cornea. The reason soft contact lenses do not work as well is because they “mold” onto these corneas and do not vault over them, thus replicating the abnormal curvature. Regular RGPs can be helpful in many cases but they have limitations. Scleral lenses do not sit on the cornea like RGPs but sit on the white part of the eye (sclera) so they are usually more comfortable.
Scleral contact lenses can help maximize vision in patients with these corneal conditions:
Scleral lenses are much larger than standard rigid gas-permeable and soft lenses. Since they are customized for each patient’s eye, several visits are needed to ensure that the lens is fitting properly. Inserting these lenses onto the cornea may be much more difficult than other types of contacts. Because of their potential to restore sight in many of these patients, these specialty lenses can help delay or avoid the need for corneal cross-linking or corneal transplantation.
Here is another article on scleral lenses.
This is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and nothing in this podcast/blog is to be considered as recommending or rendering medical advice or treatment to a specific patient. Please consult your eye care specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment of any eye conditions that you may have.