If you have ring on the white part of your eye when you remove your scleral lenses, often called a compression ring, it could be for a variety of reasons.
Though you may not think about it while they're on your eye, all types of contact lenses exert pressure and weight on your eye when you wear them. When you insert a scleral lens, all that weight rests on the conjunctiva, which is a thin, squishy, easily moldable membrane that covers the white part of your eye. Because of the conjunctiva's moldability, scleral lenses that are worn for a long period of time can begin to settle into this portion of your eye. This is called lens compression.
When you remove the lens, you may notice a white ring around the iris of your eye, or a halo around the eyeball. This is where the scleral lens was resting while you were wearing it. Though the amount of time varies from patient to patient, the tissue will eventually go back to its original shape. These compression rings are harmless to your eyes and vision.
Like a Sock Indentation On The Eye
Eye care professionals compare these rings around the iris of the eye to the indentations left on the skin after a long day wearing socks. When you remove your socks at the end of the day, there are some lines on your feet or ankles where the socks were. Eventually, your skin harmlessly reverts back to the shape it was before. This is the same thing with your eye and compression rings.
Is lens compression normal?
In some cases, yes. Since the scleral lens rests directly onto the tissue all day, it is normal for that tissue to change shape, like the example of sock indentation above. However, if you have a very large compression ring, or your eye becomes very red as you wear the scleral lens, the fit of the edge may need to be adjusted.
My eye gets really red after a few hours of scleral lens wear, and I also have a really large compression ring, is that normal?
No. If your eye is getting very red (and worsens throughout the day), the compression ring is really alrge, or you're seeing a red ring around your iris, it may mean that your contacts are not fitting properly, and are likely too tight. Sometimes the shape of your eye may be the culprit, and a custom scleral lens may be a better option.
If you have a compression ring when you remove your scleral lens, take a photo with your phone and then show your doctor at your next visit. They may be able to troubleshoot the fit based on images you show them.
Check out a patient who was successful in a custom scleral lens here.