Dry eye syndrome is a reasonably common issue and will affect most of us at some point during our lifetime. It occurs when the eyes no longer make enough natural lubrication to keep them comfortable, or when the substances that go into tear film aren’t perfectly balanced. It can also occur because the tear film drains too quickly. Most people who experience dry eye will only suffer temporarily and the condition will resolve itself. However, some unlucky patients will find that their dry eyes become chronic. This could mean that the symptoms come and go, or that they remain consistent.
If you need to wear prescription lenses to see clearly, you could be forgiven for thinking that you aren’t able to wear contact lenses. Until fairly recently, patients that suffered from chronic dry eyes would find that their eye doctors would tell them that they weren’t suitable candidates for contact lenses, leaving them with very limited options when it came to the correction of their vision. This is because contact lenses sit on the natural tear film within the eye so that they remain comfortable. Fortunately, the designs of contact lenses have evolved a great deal to make them as widely accessible as possible. Today, there are speciality contact lenses that are designed specifically for those patients for whom conventional contacts were difficult or impossible to wear.
Speciality contact lenses are unique to each patient and their ocular needs. This helps to ensure that they both fit as securely and comfortably as possible as well as giving them the clear, precision vision that they need to live life to the fullest.
If you suffer from dry eyes, several types of speciality contact lenses could enable you to see clearly whilst enjoying all of the convenient advantages of contact lenses.
Also known as RGP lenses, these speciality contacts are created from a material that is gas permeable. This means that it enables oxygen to pass through the lens and reach the surface of the eye whilst you are wearing them. This is important as sufficient oxygen can prevent the moisture on the eyes from drying out too quickly and keep them and your lenses feeling comfortable.
Another benefit of rigid lenses is that, as their name suggests, they hold their shape more effectively than soft lenses. Since rigid lenses have been shown to actually stimulate tear film production, this too will help to counteract dry eyes. Finally, rigid lens materials don’t dehydrate as quickly as soft lenses too, which again will help to ensure greater comfort when wearing them.
Scleral lenses have a slightly different design to conventional contact lenses. Rather than flying flat and touching the entire surface of the cornea, they are instead much larger in diameter and have a design that means that the majority of the lens vaults over the top of the cornea, leaving space beneath. The only place where scleral lenses touch the eye is on the sclera itself – the white part of the eye. There are different sizes of scleral lenses available, making it possible to find a variety to suit virtually any patient.
Scleral speciality lenses help patients with dry eye in several ways. Firstly, the area of space between the back of the lens and your cornea acts as a fluid reservoir, trapping tear film and keeping the eyes moist and comfortable. Secondly, all modern scleral lenses are made from gas permeable material, meaning that just like RGP lenses, enough oxygen can reach the eye to keep it feeling comfortable and healthy.
If you are suffering from dry eye and you’d like to discuss speciality contact lenses in more detail, please contact our offices where our team of experts would be happy to assist you.