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Scleral Contact Lenses for Sjogren’s Syndrome

What Is Sjogren’s Syndrome?

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes extreme dryness that affects much of the body, including the eyes. In addition to dryness of the mucous membranes, Sjorgren’s syndrome can cause pain, exhaustion, nerve damage and blood cancer.

About 4 million Americans have the disease, 90% of them women. An additional 3 million may be living with the disease without knowing it, according to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation. In fact, an estimated 1 in 10 patients with dry eye symptoms have Sjogren’s syndrome.

Why Sjogren’s Syndrome Causes Dry Eyes

Individuals with the syndrome have inflammation of the lacrimal glands, which causes them to produce a lower quantity of tears. Lower tear volume means that irritants that would ordinarily be washed away by tears remain on the ocular surface, leading to inflammation, irritation and, if left untreated, corneal scarring.

Many individuals with Sjogren’s syndrome also have other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, celiac disease or rheumatoid arthritis.

Eye Symptoms Related to Sjogren’s Syndrome

In those with Sjogren’s syndrome, having dry eyes is a given.

dizzyOther common symptoms include:

  • Burning eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye strain and fatigue
  • Blepharitis – an inflammation of the eyelids
  • Discomfort while wearing regular contact lenses

How Is Sjogren’s Syndrome Diagnosed?

Because the symptoms are varied and develop gradually, it can take several years for those with Sjogren’s syndrome to be diagnosed with the disease.

However, eye doctors are often the first to suspect the condition since dry eyes are a key symptom of the disease.

After taking your medical history and providing a thorough eye exam, your eye doctor may perform the Schirmer’s test to see whether your tear glands are working properly.

During the test, the eye doctor will place special paper inside your lower eyelids while you keep your eyes closed for a few minutes. Once the paper is removed, the doctor will measure the amount of liquid on the paper.

Another test, which uses dye to make your tears more visible, measures how quickly your tears evaporate.

How Scleral Lenses Alleviate Dry Eyes

Individuals with dry eye syndrome, whether caused by Sjorgren’s syndrome or another condition, often complain that traditional contact lenses irritate their eyes. That’s because traditional contacts dry out easily and compensate by drawing moisture away from the eye.

Scleral lenses, which are gas-permeable, do the exact opposite. They form a protective dome over the cornea that conserves saline solution. The solution acts as a liquid buffer between the lens and the cornea’s surface. That, in turn, alleviates the irritation, itchiness and redness that are the hallmarks of dry eye.

Due to their larger diameter and custom fit, scleral lenses don’t move around as much as conventional lenses. This boosts visual acuity and reduces irritation.

If your eyes feel parched and gritty, contact Dr. Stephanie Woo for a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether you have dry eye syndrome and to discuss whether your symptoms could be due to Sjorgren’s syndrome.

Call the The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada today to schedule your consultation.

Our practice serves patients from Las Vegas, Spring Valley, Enterprise, and Paradise, Nevada and surrounding communities.

References:

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Scleral Lenses for Keratoconus

Keratoconus (keh-rah-toe-cone-us) is a non-inflammatory eye disorder in which the round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins causing a cone-like bulge to develop.

Hence the name keratoconus, from the Greek word ‘kerato’ (cornea) and ‘conus’ (cone-shaped).

Because those with keratoconus have irregular, cone-shaped corneas, glasses cannot conform to the shape of the eyes and thus cannot adequately correct the patients’ vision. The best solution, therefore, is scleral contact lenses, since they sit on the sclera without touching the cornea and deliver maximal clarity while being perfectly comfortable in most cases.

What are Scleral Lenses?

what are scleral lensesCustom-designed scleral lenses help patients with corneal irregularities achieve dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort. Scleral lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera while avoiding the diseased cornea. This creates a new optical surface instead of the damaged cornea and prevents discomfort by resting on the sclera of the eye. Moreover, the reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea ensures that the eye is always in a liquid environment – making it optimal for healing.

Both rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses and scleral lenses provide the eyes with sufficient oxygen. However, scleral lenses provide more comfort and stable vision than traditional GP lenses. In most cases, scleral contact lenses are the optimal choice of treatment for patients with keratoconus and irregularly-shaped corneas.

If you have Keratoconus and are interested in scleral lenses, Dr. Stephanie Woo at The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada can help. We serve patients from all over Las Vegas, Spring Valley, Enterprise and Paradise, Nevada and provides the highest level of care.

Two Major Benefits of Scleral Lenses for Keratoconus

1) Scleral Lenses Provide More Comfort

Our patients report comfort as the most prominent feature of the scleral lens. Throughout the fitting process, we survey our patients on how the lenses feel, and not surprisingly, the usual response we get is “fine” or “I can’t feel them at all”.

The size of a scleral lens is one of the reasons it is more comfortable than a traditional gas permeable contact lens. A traditional contact lens is much smaller, typically 9 -10 mm in diameter. With each blink, this contact lens moves a bit over the cornea and the lid tends to roll over the edge of the lens as well. Many patients report being unable to wear them for more than a few hours at a time due to discomfort.

The scleral lens, on the other hand, is larger in diameter and spreads its weight over a much greater, less sensitive area so that when you blink, the eyelid doesn’t catch the edge of the lens. Moreover, because the lens vaults over the bulging cornea, it protects the cornea from any abrasion caused by blinking or external irritants. Furthermore, the scleral lens is made up of highly oxygen permeable materials and provides a soothing bath of artificial tears that refresh the ocular surface.

2) Scleral Lenses Offer Improved Vision

Patients with keratoconus have a clearer vision with scleral lenses than with glasses. With glasses, patients usually see 20/200, whereas with scleral lenses their vision typically improves to 20/30 or even 20/20. Furthermore, because the lenses sit firmly on the eye, they offer more stable vision than traditional lenses. The scleral lens not only offers comfort but also improves vision acuity.

What Changes Will I Notice with Scleral Lenses?

Once you have been properly fitted for scleral lenses, you can expect to gradually see improvements in clarity, color and detailed contrast between multiple images and objects within your visual field. The comfort you’ll experience will enable you to wear your custom-made scleral lenses all day long so that you can keep doing all the things you enjoy – but with better vision.

Should I See An Eye Doctor Experienced in Fitting Keratoconus Patients with Scleral Lenses?

improved vision with scleral lensesIf you are interested in seeing whether scleral lenses are right for you, make sure that the eye doctor you visit has the knowledge and experience required to correctly fit the lenses on patients with keratoconus. Scleral lenses require precise customization, and every patient’s case of keratoconus varies in degrees of severity and corneal measurements.

To check if you are a good candidate for scleral lenses, contact us at The The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada. Our staff has the expertise in fitting specialty contact lenses. Call or book online and regain your quality of life.

Our practice serves patients from Las Vegas, Spring Valley, Enterprise, and Paradise, Nevada and surrounding communities.

“I loved my visit from start to finish. The The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada staff is friendly, caring and knowledgeable. The eye exam that I had for keratoconus was incredibly thorough and Dr. Stephanie Woo explained all the results very clearly. He fitted me for scleral lenses, and now my eyes feel so comfortable that I frequently forget that I’m wearing contact lenses.“

REFERENCES:

Ariela Gordon‐Shaag, Michel Millodot, Igor Kaiserman, Tzahi Sela, Guy Barnett Itzhaki, Yaffa Zerbib, Efrat Matityahu, Shira Shkedi, Svetlana Miroshnichenko and Einat Shneor, Risk factors for keratoconus in Israel: a case–control study, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 35, 6, (673-681), (2015).

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Scleral Lenses For Post-LASIK, Post-PRK And Post-RK Surgery

LASIK, PRK and RK are common refractive vision surgeries that correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism by altering the shape of the cornea using a laser. While these surgeries have a high success rate, eye complications can occur, such as Post-LASIK, Post-PRK and Post-RK ectasia, a corneal distortion or irregularity that causes the cornea to weaken and bulge.

Those with surgery complications develop vision problems that cannot be fully corrected using glasses or soft contact lenses, as their newly shaped cornea often causes the lenses to easily dislodge. For those people, scleral lenses are the ideal option for clear and comfortable vision.

Have you experienced complications following your laser eye surgery? Speak with Dr. Stephanie Woo at The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada to find out how scleral lenses can help you see clearly and comfortably again.

Why Wear Specialty Contact Lenses For Post-Surgery Complications?

Post-LASIK, Post-PRK, and Post-RK patients with eye complications tend to experience poor, distorted vision, resulting in an inability to wear standard contact lenses due to their sensitive cornea. In fact, attempting to wear soft contact lenses can be extremely painful and can further damage the cornea.

Scleral lenses provide clear vision and all-day comfort to those with corneal aberrations, whether due to existing eye conditions or following corneal surgery. These customized hard lenses are larger in diameter than standard contact lenses and because the lenses vault over the cornea, they spread their weight over a much greater, less sensitive area. These specialty contacts are made of highly oxygen permeable materials and provide a soothing bath of artificial tears that hydrate the ocular surface all day long.

Getting Fitted For Scleral Lenses

Once you have been properly fitted for scleral lenses, you can expect to see significant improvements in clarity, color and contrast between multiple images and objects within your visual field. The comfort you’ll experience allows you to wear your custom-made scleral lenses all day long so that you can keep doing all the things you love.

Does Collagen Cross-Linking Correct Post-LASIK Ectasia?

Patients with corneal ectasia resulting from LASIK surgery complications may be advised to undergo collagen cross-linking — a new method in treating advanced cases of keratoconus and diseased corneas.

Note that many patients who undergo collagen cross-linking may still require specialty contact lenses to achieve clear vision. Speak with your eye doctor to learn more.

Can a Second LASIK Surgery Repair My Ectasia?

Certain LASIK surgeons may recommend a follow-up enhancement procedure to improve your vision. This may lead you to undergo several corrective LASIK surgeries, potentially leaving you with scarred corneas and even poorer vision.

The safest and best option is to wear scleral lenses, as they correct astigmatism, farsightedness and hyperopia, and are perfectly safe on corneas. Our patients who got fitted for custom-designed scleral lenses report feeling thrilled with how sharp and comfortable their vision has become.

For more information or to book a consultation, contact The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada today.

Our practice serves patients from Las Vegas, Spring Valley, Enterprise, and Paradise, Nevada and surrounding communities.
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Scleral Contact Lenses For Post Corneal Graft

Patients may be concerned that achieving a clear and comfortable vision will be nearly impossible following corneal transplant surgery. Although corneal transplants have a high success rate, they do not entirely cure the eye of disease. Patients will certainly notice dramatic improvements, but their vision will still need to be corrected.

It can take more than a year for the eye to recover from a corneal transplant, as it needs time to adapt to the new cornea. Because this adjustment is unpredictable, nearsightedness or astigmatism may develop. Even after complete recovery, prescription glasses or lenses may still be required. For this and other reasons (explained below), scleral lenses are the optimal choice for vision correction.

Here at The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada, we aim to provide the best possible vision for our patients who’ve had a corneal transplant. If you’ve undergone this procedure, speak with Dr. Stephanie Woo to determine whether scleral contact lenses are the best choice for you.

Understanding Corneal Transplants

There are two common types of corneal transplants:

Penetrating keratoplasty, also called “full-thickness corneal transplant”, is when the full thickness of the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) is replaced with healthy donor tissue.

Endothelial keratoplasty replaces only the diseased corneal tissue, leaving healthy tissue behind.

woried old manWhy Would Someone Need a Corneal Transplant?

A corneal transplant is generally recommended in the following cases:

  • For those with vision problems caused by the thinning of the cornea (generally due to keratoconus) and only after less invasive treatments have been proven ineffective
  • Scarred cornea caused by severe injuries or infections
  • Vision loss caused by cloudiness of the cornea, typically due to Fuchs dystrophy

Scleral Lenses & Post-Corneal Transplant Surgery

Corneal transplants don’t cure irregular corneas, as the transplant doesn’t fully adapt to the eye. Some eye doctors may recommend rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP’s), hybrid contact lenses, or scleral lenses for clear and comfortable vision.

Of all the options, scleral lenses are the optimal choice. The fully customized contact lens vaults entirely over the cornea without adding any pressure to it, while allowing the cornea to remain hydrated for ultimate healing and comfort. Furthermore, because they are larger in size than any other contact lens, they are less likely to shift and move around on the eyes, thus reducing the risk of irritation or abrasion.

We Fit Scleral Lenses and Other Specialty Contact Lenses

Getting fitted for scleral lenses after a corneal graft can be life-changing. It can allow you to comfortably and safely drive at night or resume playing a sport that you thought you’d have to give up.

If you’ve had a corneal transplant or plan to do so in the near future, know that clear and comfortable vision after the surgery is possible. Don’t miss out on incredible life experiences because of poor vision — call The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada today.

Our practice serves patients from Las Vegas, Spring Valley, Enterprise, and Paradise, Nevada and surrounding communities.
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