Can corneal transplant patients wear scleral lenses?
We had the pleasure of seeing a kindly referred patient for a specialty contact lens consultation yesterday.
This 78 year old white female has a positive ocular history of radial keratotomy (RK) surgery in both eyes in 1990, followed by a corneal transplant in the right eye in 1995, and then had LASIK on top of the right transplant in 1998. Radial keratotomy was a surgery performed in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s to help correct patient’s vision. It has now been replaced with safer options such as LASIK and permanent contact lenses.
Both eyes underwent cataract surgery in 2014.
Right eye corneal transplant
She complains that her vision is blurry, distorted and double. This is very common for patients who’ve undergone RK surgery. Because of the scalpel cuts into the cornea, this creates an irregular shape, which distorts the image coming into your eye. This results in fuzzy, wavy, fluctuating, blurry vision. She was kindly referred by her corneal specialist, Dr. Casey at Nvision, to our clinic for an evaluation.
With glasses, she can see 20/200 “double” in the right eye and 20/50 “double” in the left eye. The corneal transplant looked clear centrally with minimal neovascularization inferiorly. RK scars were present on both eyes. When I assess a corneal transplant, I make sure that the center of the transplant is clear. If there is major scar tissue or haze within the transplant, there may not be an opportunity for vision improvement. Luckily, for this patient, her corneal transplant is very clear.
Left eye showing radial keratotomy (RK) scarring
When I am not sure if a patient will see better with a specialty lens, I always place a diagnostic lens on the eye. This will help us determine whether or not a specialty contact lens will improve your vision. If we put a diagnostic lens on and perform a few short tests, it will determine the best potential for vision improvement. For instance, let’s say you can only see the 20/400 line at the eye doctor (the big “E”). If we are not sure whether or not your vision will be helped with a contact lens, we will place a diagnostic lens on your eye and re-assess the vision. If your vision improves, it is certainly worth it to move forward with the fitting process.
Before that, we took sMap 3D images of each eye to map the shape of her sclera, the white part of the eye. Then, we placed diagnostic Europa scleral lenses onto the eyes to see what her best vision would be. There was superior touch with the diagnostic lenses on the right eye (see the OCT image), so we knew a traditional scleral lens may not be the best option for her. A more custom lens would be better suited for her unique eye shape.
OCT imaging showing superior touch
With scleral lenses, she could achieve 20/50 in the right eye and 20/40 in the left eye. When a patient doesn’t see better on the visual acuity chart, I always ask them to rate the “quality” of their vision. She stated the letters were much sharper and less distorted. Since the vision improved the overall quality and clarity of her vision, we decided to order the Latitude custom scleral lenses.
We are really hoping to improve her vision with these special lenses!
Thank you Dr. Casey for your kind referral of your patient to our clinic!