Let's begin by discussing what dry eyes are. It is a multifactorial disease at the front surface of your eye that impacts your tear film and causes discomfort to the patient. There are conservatively an estimated 4.88 million Americans aged 50 and older who suffer from dry eyes.
Scleral lenses can be used to treat dry eyes. Scleral lenses are specialty hard contact lenses that help relieve the symptoms of dry eyes. They do not cure dry eyes, but can provide relief by better moisturising the eyes. These lenses rest on the white part of your eyes called sclera and are larger in diameter than rigid gas permeable lenses. Since these lenses are larger, and they cover the whole corneal surface, and even a little bit beyond that, they help to protect your eyes from different irritants such as smoke, wind, dust debris, which may reduce your symptoms. Scleral lenses are also filled with fluid before they are inserted into your eyes, which provides a cushion and keeps your eyes moist during the day when they are instilled.
These lenses are comfortable for people with dry eyes to wear their lenses for an extended period of time. As a result, patients are less likely to need to use eye drops and keep their eyes moist. Not only can scleral lenses help reduce dry eye symptoms, but also symptoms of keratoconus if you have them. Sclerals are a great option for anyone who has a sensitive ocular surface, is bothered by symptoms and wants more immediate relief, or who is bothered by dust, smoke or other irritants in addition to dry eye.
There are two different components of dry eyes. There is aqueous deficient dry eye and evaporative dry eye. Having aqueous deficient dry eyes means you aren't producing enough lubricating fluid so your eyes aren't properly lubricated. You can also suffer from the evaporative component of dry eyes, where there is an issue with the outermost layer of your tears, causing the tears to evaporate more quickly, causing ocular surface inflammation.
Dry eyes can lead to a whole host of symptoms including:
Different types of treatment options are available depending on the severity and type of dry eye.