Scleral Contact Lenses

Would you like to wear contact lenses, but were told in the past that you shouldn’t wear them?  Have you tried wearing standard contact lenses and experienced trouble with them, so you gave up on wearing contacts?  

Standard contact lenses may not be the best option for everyone, including those with keratoconus, dry eye, or other eye conditions in which a person is advised against wearing contact lenses. In cases like these, scleral contact lenses may be a suitable alternative. 

What are Scleral Contact Lenses?  

Scleral contact lenses are large-diameter rigid gas permeable lenses designed to vault over the entire front surface of the eye and rest on the sclera, the “white part” of the eye. The sclera is less sensitive than the cornea, so scleral lenses tend to be more comfortable than regular RGP lenses. Some patients find that scleral lenses are even more comfortable than standard soft contact lenses!  

Because scleral lenses vault over the entire front surface of the eye, they create a smooth optical surface to correct vision problems caused by keratoconus or other irregular cornea problems.  

What are the Benefits of Wearing Scleral Contact Lenses?  

Patients often report that wearing scleral contact lenses offers sharper vision compared to wearing standard contact lenses.  

Scleral lenses are very durable, easy to handle, and tend to be more stable on the eye than standard contact lenses, which means they are less likely to slide out of place on the eye, making them feel more comfortable for patients. They are also constructed with materials which allow high amounts of oxygen to pass through to the cornea, and this also contributes to the comfort many feel when wearing scleral contact lenses.  

Am I a Candidate for Scleral Contact Lenses?  

Anyone who is interested in the sharpest possible vision with contact lenses is a candidate for scleral contact lenses! But if you have one or more of the following conditions, then scleral contact lenses may be the most suitable option.  

Scleral Lenses for Chronic Dry Eye 

If you have chronic dry eye, then you may find wearing standard contact lenses to be very uncomfortable or completely unsuitable. Since scleral contact lenses vault over the front surface of the eye, there is a small space in which a reservoir for tears is created, providing a cushion of moisture for the front surface of the eye.  

Scleral Lenses for Astigmatism 

People with moderate to severe astigmatism may find that regular soft contact lenses don’t offer the sharpest vision, because the distortion is too severe to be properly compensated for by regular soft contact lenses. The soft contact lenses will simply conform to the irregular shape of the cornea. Because scleral lenses are rigid, they will hold their shape, and they sit on the sclera, not on the cornea, so the eye can properly focus light, and sharp, clear vision is the result. 

Scleral Lenses for Keratoconus 

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease which affects the structure of the cornea, the front surface of the eye.  

It causes the cornea to become thin, and irregular (cone) shaped. The abnormal shape of the cornea prevents light from being focused correctly on the retina and causes distorted vision. It is typically diagnosed childhood or the teenage years and continues to progress until the mid-thirties or so.  

Because of the abnormal shape of the cornea, eyeglasses and regular soft contact lenses can’t fully correct vision. Scleral contact lenses vault over the entire front surface of the eye, so they effectively provide a new front surface of the eye for people with keratoconus. Scleral contact lenses also have a cushion of moisture in the space between the lens and the cornea which provides comfort.  

Scleral Lenses for Post-Surgical Complications  

If you have experienced complications after eye surgery, then you may have found that wearing standard contact lenses doesn’t provide you with the vision correction you need. Since scleral contact lenses vault over the entire front surface of the eye, they will provide you with the sharp vision correction needed.   


If you frequently play sports and are very active, then you may find that standard contact lenses tend to be uncomfortable because they are too easily dislodged, or because they slide around on your eyes. Scleral contact lenses are much more stable than standard contact lenses, so it’s harder for them to become dislodged from your eyes or slide around on your eyes, offering you sharp vision during sports.  

Scleral Contact Lenses in Northern Virginia  

Our doctors have the knowledge and experience required to fit scleral contact lenses for people who suffer from chronic dry eye, moderate to severe astigmatism, keratoconus, or post-surgical complications.