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Scleral Lenses for Athletes

Clear and comfortable vision is vital in sports—it can make a huge difference to optimizing your game-time performance. Fortunately, scleral lenses offer a way for athletes who need corrective eyewear to achieve their goals, even in contact sports like basketball, football and hockey.

Scleral lenses are custom-fit contact lenses for people with corneal irregularities, hard-to-fit eyes and severe dry eye syndrome, among other conditions. They provide comfort and offer sharp vision on and off the playing field.

Scleral lenses are extremely stable on the eye, as they vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera. Moreover, the reservoir of saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea ensures that the eye remains moist all day long. Furthermore, the lenses’ highly breathable gas permeable material ensures that plenty of oxygen reaches the front of the eye.

What Kind Of Athletes Wear Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses benefit athletes who find wearing traditional contact lenses challenging or impossible, and/or who have any of the following eye conditions:

  • Astigmatism
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Presbyopia
  • Keratoconus
  • Post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK, PRK)
  • Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)

Scleral Lenses for Athletes with Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye condition in which the cornea thins and weakens over time. This causes a cone-like bulge to develop and an irregular-shaped cornea. Keratoconus can result in increased sensitivity to light, distorted vision, slightly blurred vision and even significant vision loss. Professional athletes diagnosed with keratoconus often worry that the condition could end their career.

Scleral lenses are a long-term solution that helps athletes with keratoconus to continue to perform at their peak with amazing vision. Just ask professional athletes Brandon Williams from the Baltimore Ravens, Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors, or Diamond DeShields from the Chicago Sky. These star athletes all wear scleral contact lenses and can now show off their true sporting prowess due to their sharp vision.

Do Scleral Lenses Work For All Sports?

When fitted correctly, the edges of these customized lenses fit comfortably under the eyelids, which prevents them from easily falling out. Moreover, because of their stability and extreme comfort, they offer an added advantage for athletes who engage in contact or extreme sports or those with rapid movements, such as in:

  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Hiking
  • Hockey
  • Rock Climbing
  • Soccer
  • Skiing
  • Tennis

However, scleral lenses are not advised for wrestling, karate, or boxing, other martial arts or any sports where facial injuries are common.

How Can Scleral Lenses Improve An Athlete’s Vision?

Athletes are often exposed to challenging environmental conditions, such as dust, chalk, sand and wind, all of which can lead to discomfort with soft contact lenses. As scleral lenses provide a seal over the eye’s surface, their eyes are much more protected from the elements. Because athletes have demanding visual needs, stable, clear, crisp vision is essential for optimal athletic performance.

To learn more, contact Unger Eye Care today.

Our practice serves patients from Troy, Edwardsville, Maryville, and Glen Carbon, Illinois and surrounding communities.
Book Online
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Treating Ocular Surface Disease with Scleral Lenses

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Treating Ocular Surface Disease with Scleral Lenses

Ocular surface disease (OSD) is not a single disease. It is a group of eye disorders that affect the surface of the eye. It can significantly affect your eyesight and quality of life. Many cases of ocular surface disease are misdiagnosed a simply ‘dry eyes’, so this condition can go undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

Fortunately, scleral lenses, which are custom-fit and lubricate the eye’s surface, can provide the relief and comfort people with OSD seek.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Ocular Surface Disease?

Your tear film is controlled by various tissues and glands around the surface of your eyes. If there is a problem with those glands or tissues, it can cause your tear film to become unstable, resulting in dry eye syndrome or other types of ocular surface disorders.

A stable tear film keeps eyes moist, protects them against infection and cleans the surface of your cornea.

When your tear film is unstable, symptoms can include:

  • Redness
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Gritty or scratchy feeling in the eye
  • Itching
  • Pain

Ocular surface disease symptoms are usually worse in the evening. They can also be exacerbated by windy conditions or a dry climate.

Types of Ocular Surface Disease

Some of the most common types of ocular surface disease include:

  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Blepharitis
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction
  • Allergies
  • Keratitis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Immunological conditions (e.g. Sjogren’s syndrome)
  • Chemical or thermal burns

Treatment With Scleral Lenses

Depending on the type of condition, treatment can range from artificial tears (dry eye) to antihistamines (allergies), but many people continue to experience dry, itchy, irritated eyes. Eventually, many patients with ocular surface disease seek out more durable methods of treatment.

In recent years, scleral lenses have become a preferred treatment option for patients with ocular surface problems.

While they are generally used to treat refractive errors and corneal irregularities, scleral lenses can also provide immense relief to patients with ocular surface disease.

Scleral lenses do three things simultaneously: they protect the eye, they provide vision correction, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye. Scleral lenses decrease discomfort, pain, itchiness and eye redness while providing sharp, clear vision.

These customized lenses form a dome over the cornea and rest on the sclera (the white part of the eye). The zone between the lens and the cornea provides a continuous moist environment that protects the cornea and provides relief for those with ocular surface disease.

At Unger Eye Care, we regularly diagnose, treat and manage the different types of ocular surface disease to help patients experience clear, healthy vision again. Our Dr. Alice Unger and Dr. Thomas Unger has the experience and proven treatment options you need to find relief from OSD.

If you have OSD and are interested in scleral lenses, Unger Eye Care can help. Dr. Alice Unger and Dr. Thomas Unger is specialized in fitting scleral lenses for dry eyes and other corneal conditions.

Our practice serves patients from Troy, Edwardsville, Maryville, and Glen Carbon, Illinois and surrounding communities.
Book Online
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scleral lens for astigmatism

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Scleral Lenses for Astigmatism

Scleral lenses are a great nonsurgical solution that provides exceptional vision correction in patients with astigmatism, whether by birth, due to post-refractive surgery, or other corneal procedures. Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by irregular corneal curvature, resulting in blurred and distorted vision. Scleral lenses allow astigmatic patients to experience improved visual acuity and comfort while keeping eyes hydrated all day.

If you have been told that your astigmatism is too severe to wear contacts, ask Dr. Alice Unger and Dr. Thomas Unger about scleral contact lenses. At the Unger Eye Care in Troy, we work hard to give each patient a superior contact lens fit and know that these lenses can truly make a difference in our patients’ lives.

What is Astigmatism

Histoplasmosis Retinopathy ThumbnailAstigmatism is a common type of refractive error caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. The abnormal cornea causes light to enter unequally onto the retina, which results in blurred or distorted vision, eye strain, headaches, squinting and eye irritation. People are either born with this condition or can develop it later in life.

This condition typically occurs with myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) and can be easily diagnosed using a simple eye exam.

Astigmatism falls into three categories:

  • Myopic (nearsighted) astigmatism: For the myopic, light rays focus in front of the retina, leading objects in the distance to appear blurred. Myopic people who have astigmatism experience further blurring and vision distortion due to the refractive error caused by mismatched curvatures of the cornea or lens.
  • Hyperopic (farsighted) astigmatism: For the farsighted, light focuses beyond the retina. Individuals with hyperopia and astigmatism experience blurred and distorted vision and have difficulty focusing on objects that are up close.
  • Mixed astigmatism: In people with mixed astigmatism, one curvature of the cornea or lens focuses light to the front of the retina while the other focuses light to the back of the retina.

Astigmatism falls into the regular or irregular camp:

Most cases of astigmatism are regular, meaning that the front surface of the eye is oval-shaped. Irregular astigmatism is often caused by scarring of the cornea, keratoconus or from certain types of eye surgeries.

Can People With Astigmatism Wear Contact Lenses?

In cases of moderate to severe astigmatism, sometimes the distortion is too severe to be compensated for properly by soft contact lenses, which simply conform to the irregular shape of the cornea. Scleral lenses, on the other hand, sit on the sclera – not the cornea. They are rigid and maintain their shape regardless of the corneal dimensions. This allows the eye to properly focus light and thus ensures the sharp vision and exceptional comfort. The liquid reservoir that gets trapped underneath the scleral lens masks corneal astigmatism and ensures a stable fit.

What are Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses get their name from the way they fit on the eye. The sclera is the white part of the eye, and these lenses rest on the sclera while the lens itself vaults over the cornea.

Scleral lenses have become an important therapeutic strategy in the visual rehabilitation of patients with irregular corneas, such as astigmatism. The liquid reservoir between the lens and the cornea neutralizes astigmatism and provides a continuous moist environment that protects the cornea from exposure to air and friction from blinking.

Scleral lenses offer better comfort, breathability and improved visual acuity due to their rigid optical surface and a shape designed specifically for each patient’s eye. We have found that for our patients with astigmatism, scleral lenses have proven to be the best solution in providing sharp and comfortable vision all day long.

eye doctor, scleral lens on the finger

Are Scleral Lenses for Astigmatism Expensive?

Scleral lenses are custom-fit to each eye, and though the fees for fitting scleral and the cost of the lenses are higher than traditional lenses, their life span and benefits offset the costs.

Coverage rates and restrictions vary among providers, and if considered a medical necessity, many insurance companies will cover the cost of scleral lenses. That said, every country and state has its own restrictions and regulations. Consult with our eye care team at the Unger Eye Care to discuss your specific payment options and cost of scleral lenses.

Specialized optometrists, such as Dr. Alice Unger and Dr. Thomas Unger, are trained in fitting scleral lenses for excellent, effective vision correction, and help patients with astigmatism and other corneal irregularities enjoy great vision and comfort with specialty lenses.

Our practice serves patients from Troy, Edwardsville, Maryville, and Glen Carbon, Illinois and surrounding communities.

TESTIMONIAL:

“ I went to the Unger Eye Care for my astigmatism, and I’m so grateful to the staff and doctors for their thorough care! They meticulously fitted me for scleral lenses, and now I can not only see well, but I tend to forget I’m wearing lenses. They’re so very comfortable! “

Our practice serves patients from Troy, Edwardsville, Maryville, and Glen Carbon, Illinois and surrounding communities.
Book Online
Call Us

Learn More About Scleral Lenses

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What are Scleral Lenses?

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