Scleral contact lenses after a corneal transplant
Corneal transplant surgery is a delicate and complex procedure that aims to replace a damaged or diseased cornea with a healthy donor cornea. This surgery can save the vision of patients who suffer from conditions such as keratoconus, Fuchs’ dystrophy, or scarring from injury or infection. However, to achieve optimal results, patients must follow a strict postoperative regimen that includes the use of scleral contact lenses.
Scleral contact lenses, also known as scleral shells or prosthetic lenses, are large-diameter lenses that cover the entire cornea and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye. Unlike traditional contact lenses, which sit on the cornea, scleral lenses vault over it and create a chamber of fluid between the lens and the cornea. This fluid-filled space can provide a number of benefits for patients who have undergone corneal transplant surgery.
Here are five ways that scleral contact lenses can help after corneal transplant surgery:
Protection and Healing
Corneal transplant surgery involves the removal of a portion of the damaged or diseased cornea and the replacement of it with a donor cornea. During the healing process, the new cornea is vulnerable to damage or infection from external factors such as dust, debris, or bacteria. Scleral contact lenses can provide a barrier of protection that shields the cornea from these potential hazards. The fluid-filled space created by the lens can also promote healing by preventing the cornea from rubbing against the eyelid and reducing the risk of graft rejection.
After corneal transplant surgery, patients may experience a variety of vision problems such as blurred vision, glare, or halos. These issues may be caused by irregularities in the shape of the cornea or by the presence of sutures used to secure the donor tissue. Scleral contact lenses can help to correct these problems by creating a smooth, regular surface that improves visual acuity and reduces aberrations. In some cases, scleral lenses may also be used to correct higher-order aberrations that cannot be corrected with glasses or traditional contact lenses.
Patients who have undergone corneal transplant surgery may experience discomfort or irritation due to the use of traditional contact lenses. Because scleral lenses do not touch the cornea, they can be more comfortable than traditional lenses, especially for patients with sensitive or irregular ocular surfaces. Scleral lenses may also be more comfortable for patients who suffer from dry eye, as the fluid-filled space between the lens and the cornea can help to provide a cushion of moisture.
Scleral lenses can be custom-designed to fit the unique shape and size of each patient’s eye. This versatility allows for a greater degree of customization and precision compared to traditional contact lenses. Scleral lenses can also be used in cases where traditional contact lenses are not effective, such as in patients with irregular astigmatism, severe dry eye, or corneal scarring. Scleral lenses can also be used in combination with other treatments, such as corneal collagen cross-linking or punctal plugs, to provide a comprehensive approach to vision correction and ocular health.
Scleral lenses are typically made from high-quality materials that are designed to last for a long time. Unlike traditional contact lenses, which may need to be replaced every few months, scleral lenses can often last for years with proper care and maintenance. This longevity can be especially beneficial for patients who have undergone corneal transplant surgery, as it can help to minimize the need for frequent lens changes and reduce the risk of corneal damage or infection.
Choosing the right contact lens specialist for your scleral lenses
In conclusion, scleral contact lenses can offer a range of benefits for patients who have undergone corneal transplant surgery. These lenses can provide protection and healing, visual rehabilitation, comfort, versatility, and longevity. If you are considering corneal transplant surgery or have already undergone the procedure, speak to your eye doctor about whether scleral contact lenses may be a good option for you. With the right approach, scleral lenses can help to optimize your vision and protect your ocular health for years to come.