Charlotte Contact Lens Institute

Scleral Lenses

Scleral Contact Lenses

Scleral Lenses Offering Clear Vision and Ultimate Comfort for a Wide Range of Eye Conditions

Scleral Contact Lenses

- Our Most Recommended Treatment Method

The majority of patients who come to Charlotte Contact Lens Institute are unable to see well with traditional soft contact lenses or glasses, conventional scleral contact lenses, and/or glasses. For patients who require specialty contact lenses to see their best, scleral contact lenses are typically recommended due to their adaptability, inherent design (which vaults over the cornea), and the customization potential of scleral lenses.

It should be noted that some patients are accustomed to wearing a different type of lens, such as a corneal gas permeable (GP) lens. Typically, in these situations our doctors will support the patient’s desire to continue using that type of lens, assuming there isn’t a potentially serious reason to switch to a different type of lens. However, most often patients who require specialty contact lenses are open to the result that will deliver the best outcome for their vision and eye health. For these patients, typically our doctors recommend scleral lenses due to their superior performance and the customization potential, among other factors.

Scleral Lens Specialists in North & South Carolina

At Charlotte Contact Lens Institute, it is common for patients to travel from hours away to see us, as our office is truly unique in the capabilities and services we provide. We have scleral lens patients who come to us from Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia, as well as North Carolina and South Carolina. At our office you can expect a very thorough and detailed initial examination, and you can expect to spend 100% of your time on-one-on with the doctor. Our doctors lecture nationwide on the topic of scleral contact lenses, so rest assured you’re in good hands with doctors who are truly scleral lens specialists.

Another way in which Charlotte Contact Lens Institute is truly unique is with the type of technology which is available to aid in designing the best possible scleral lens.  The Pentacam AXL Wave is a medical device that is currently only available at a dozen or two Optometry offices nationwide. 

This device collects up to 240,000 unique data points, and these 240,000 data points are used to design a truly custom scleral lens that is specific to each patient’s eyes.  For this reason, each scleral contact lens is extremely different for each patient, which allows for the best possible visual outcome.

Scleral contact lenses come in many shapes and sizes. They are large-diameter gas-permeable (“hard”) lenses, which may sound intimidating; however, scleral contact lenses are designed to vault over the cornea (the sensitive part of the eye) and land on the white part of the eye. 

Because of this design, they are very comfortable.  Unlike traditional contact lenses that cover only the cornea, scleral lenses are larger, extending to the sclera’s outer edges.  If scleral lenses are uncomfortable, then either the design needs to be adjusted or the patient may have dry eye syndrome, which is something that will be addressed separately.

  • Stability and Comfort – Scleral lenses offer a stable fit, reducing the likelihood of movement on the eye and enhancing overall comfort
  • Corneal Protection – Scleral contact lenses provide a protective barrier, shielding the cornea from environmental factors and reducing the risk of abrasions
  • Visual Correction – Scleral lenses are particularly effective in correcting complex vision issues, such as irregular corneas or high prescriptions, leading to improved visual acuity
  • Dry Eye Management – The fluid reservoir helps maintain a stable tear film, making scleral lenses a valuable option for individuals with dry eye syndrome
  • Versatility – Scleral lenses can be customized to fit various eye shapes and conditions, offering a versatile solution for a wide range of visual challenges

There are two different typical approaches to designing a scleral lens.  Charlotte Contact Lens Institute primarily uses a different method, but first we are going to explain the standard approach, which is using a “fit set”. 

A fit set is comprised of 12-40 standard designs of scleral lenses which are provided by contact lens manufacturers, and this serves as a starting point for Optometrists to customize lenses for individual patients. A lens is selected that is close to the patient’s eye shape. From there, the doctor will determine modifications by observations of the “fit” lens on the eye. While effective for straightforward cases, traditional scleral lenses may fall short in providing the best fit, vision, or comfort compared to more advanced options like freeform lens designs or those created from scleral topography.

The traditional fitting process can be both time-consuming and expensive, often necessitating multiple visits. However, with technological advancements, the trend is moving towards more customized solutions, such as freeform lenses. These are crafted using advanced imaging and lens design software, allowing for a fit that precisely matches the unique contours of each patient’s eye, potentially surpassing the results achievable with standard fit sets. At the Charlotte Contact Lens Institute, our doctors primarily employ scleral topography-based, freeform lenses, focusing on maximizing comfort and vision quality for patients using scleral contact lenses.

Most patients want the best fit, vision, and comfort possible, and that is why at Charlotte Contact Lens Institute we do NOT use “fit sets” except for in rare circumstances. Instead, we use an advanced medical device called thePentacam AXL Wave which is only found in a few doctor’s offices nationwide!!

The Pentacam AXL Wave collects up to 240,000 unique data points, and these 240,000 data points are used to design a truly custom scleral lens specific to each patient’s eyes.  It is this extreme amount of data that our doctors use to design truly custom lenses that include customizations that would not be possible with a fit set.  Not only does this technology result in a much more customized design, it also minimizes the number of “re-fits” / adjustments to the lens that have to be made, which allows the patient to avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office.

Scleral contact lenses are versatile and can be beneficial for various vision and eye health conditions. Some of the primary applications for scleral lenses include:

  1. Keratoconus – Scleral lenses are frequently used to provide visual correction for individuals with keratoconus, a condition where the cornea takes on a cone-like shape. More info 
  2. Irregular Astigmatism – Individuals with irregular astigmatism, often caused by corneal irregularities or post-surgical complications, may benefit from the customized optics of scleral lenses.
  3. Dry Eye Syndrome – Scleral lenses are known for their ability to create a fluid reservoir between the lens and the cornea, providing continuous moisture.
  4. Ocular Surface Diseases – Conditions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Sjögren’s syndrome, and graft-versus-host disease can cause significant discomfort and vision issues. Scleral contact lenses can provide protection and comfort for these conditions.
  5. Post-Corneal Transplant – After corneal transplant surgery, the cornea may have irregularities that affect vision, and scleral lenses can help compensate for these irregularities
  6. High Refractive Errors – Scleral lenses are effective in correcting high levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism that may be challenging to address with traditional lenses
  7. Post-Refractive Surgery Complications – Some individuals may experience complications or unsatisfactory outcomes after refractive surgeries like LASIK or PRK, and scleral lenses can help
  8. Photophobia and Light Sensitivity – Scleral lenses can provide relief for individuals with conditions causing heightened light sensitivity, such as migraines or photophobia
  9. Corneal Trauma – Individuals recovering from corneal injuries or trauma may benefit from the protective and stabilizing features of scleral lenses during the healing process
  10. Complex Prescriptions – Scleral lenses are suitable for individuals with complex prescriptions that may not be adequately addressed by traditional contact lenses or glasses
  11. Sports and Outdoor Activities – Scleral lenses provide stable vision and reduce the risk of dislodgement during physical activities, making them suitable for sports or outdoor pursuits
  12. Cosmetic and Prosthetic Use – Scleral lenses can be customized for cosmetic or prosthetic purposes, such as changing eye color or concealing disfigurements

While scleral lenses offer numerous advantages, they are not without certain disadvantages. It is essential to consider both the benefits and limitations when deciding on the most suitable vision correction option, and our doctors are well-versed in explaining all available options.

Potential disadvantages of scleral lenses include:

  • Cost – Scleral lenses can be more expensive than traditional contact lenses. The initial fitting process, customization, and the cost of the lenses themselves may be higher
  • Complex Fitting Process – Fitting scleral lenses requires more time and expertise from eye care professionals. Finding the right fit may take multiple appointments. Our technology reduces the number of needed appointments and typically a suitable lens is designed within 2 to 3 visits.
  • Limited Availability – Scleral lenses may not be readily available at all eye care practices. Finding an experienced practitioner with expertise in fitting scleral lenses may be challenging in certain locations
  • Initial Difficulty Putting in the Lenses – For those who are not used to putting in contacts, it may take time to get used to putting in scleral contact lenses.

Many people wonder what scleral lenses cost.  Scleral contact lenses cost more than other types of contact lenses, due to the level of technology offered, combined with the involved fitting process.  Although the cost varies, often times the initial fit typically ranges around $2800 – 3500 for scleral lenses.  This price range includes a 1.5-2 hr comprehensive exam with the doctor, necessary adjustments to the lens, a set (of 2) lenses, and all follow-up visits.  In addition to a paid-in-full option, Charlotte Contact Lens Institute offers an affordable monthly payment program that breaks this up into payments of ~ $170-270/month.  Additional financing options such as CareCredit TM may be available.

Why Charlotte Contact Lens Institute for
Scleral Contact Lenses?

The Team

The team at Charlotte Contact Lens Institute are experts in fitting scleral contact lenses.

Advanced Technology

Our office is one of a few practices in the country that is equipped with the Pentacam AXL Wave and Optovue Solix OCT, which aid in the design and (potential) adjustment of scleral lenses.

Unlimited Answers

We allow for enough time for thorough comprehensive exams, and plenty of time for answering questions. No rushing in and out here.

Specializing in Custom Sclerals

We do not offer traditional eye exams for “normal” eyes, and instead, a large percentage of our patients come to looking for advanced and customized scleral contacts.

Access to the Doctor

Our doctors are available to answer questions you have after your exam, and will make sure you have the information needed in order to ensure the best possible outcome.

Affordability

We keep our overhead costs low and offer very competitive prices as a result. We have monthly payment options available and also accept CareCredit™, HSA, & FSA.

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Summary

Scleral contact lenses are a major focus of our office and our doctors are nationally recognized for their expertise in the most current research and effective methods of fitting specialty contact lenses, including scleral contacts. Our doctors regularly present at both local and national meetings and conferences, where she shares the latest research and fitting techniques for scleral lenses.

Additionally, Dr. Cerenzie has been honored with the distinction of Fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society (FSLS), which is bestowed on advanced level practitioners within the specialty lens industry. In fact, currently there are only approximately 300 members worldwide of this elite group of specialty contact lens doctors.

During an initial comprehensive exam, our doctors will discuss all available treatment options, including custom scleral lenses, as well as any other options which might be beneficial. One of the benefits of visiting Charlotte Contact Lens Institute is the amount of one-on-one time with the doctor, which allows for plenty of time to ask questions and evaluate all options.

Scleral Lens Gallery