Discovering the Comfort of Scleral Lenses: What Do Scleral Lenses Feel Like?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wear contact lenses that cover the entire white part of your eye? Scleral lenses are becoming increasingly popular among contact lens wearers for their unique design and ability to provide clearer vision than traditional contacts. But what do scleral lenses feel like when they’re on?

First off, let me tell you that the sensation of scleral lenses may be a bit unsettling at first. These lenses have a larger diameter than regular contacts, which means they cover not only the iris but also the surrounding sclera. As a result, they may feel heavy and uncomfortable initially. However, don’t let the initial discomfort dissuade you, as the benefits of scleral lenses may outweigh the temporary discomfort they cause.

The good news is that once your eyes have adjusted to the scleral lenses, you’ll soon forget they’re even there! Their larger size makes them much more stable than traditional contacts, so you don’t have to worry about them slipping out of place or causing blurry vision. Plus, scleral lenses can help improve vision for those with conditions like keratoconus or other corneal irregularities. So, if you’re on the fence about trying out scleral lenses, I highly recommend giving them a shot.

Benefits of Wearing Scleral Lenses

When it comes to finding the perfect contact lens, it might take some trial and error to find the right one. If you have tried and failed with traditional contact lenses, scleral lenses may be the best solution for your visual needs. These lenses are specially designed to fit on the sclera, which is the white part of your eye that surrounds the iris and pupil. Not only do they provide sharper vision, but there are many other benefits that come with wearing scleral lenses. In this article, we will discuss the advantages of scleral lenses that make them worth trying.

  • Comfort: Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of scleral lenses is the comfort they provide. Unlike traditional lenses, scleral lenses don’t move around on your eye, which means you don’t get that constant feeling of something rubbing against your eye. The lenses are also larger than traditional contacts, which means they don’t have to be as tight on your eye, resulting in less irritation and discomfort.
  • Visual Clarity: Scleral lenses provide superior visual clarity since they vault over the cornea and create a smooth, consistent surface for light to enter the eye. This leads to sharper, more stable vision, especially if you have a corneal irregularity.
  • Stay in Place: Scleral lenses are able to maintain their position due to their size, which allows them to sit firmly on the sclera. This means that they won’t move around, even during vigorous physical activity. This also means that the vision will remain stable, even when wearing them for longer periods of time.
  • Longevity: Scleral lenses are highly durable and can last for years with proper care. This means that you won’t have to replace them as frequently as you would with traditional contacts, which can save you money in the long run.

Types of Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses are custom-made contact lenses that cover the entire sclera of the eye, providing clearer vision for people with various eye conditions. There are different types of scleral lenses, each designed for specific needs, which include:

  • Mini-Scleral lenses – These lenses are smaller in diameter than typical scleral lenses, ranging from 15-18mm. They offer improved comfort while providing clear vision for people with corneal irregularities or dry eyes.
  • Semi-Scleral lenses – These lenses are slightly larger in size than mini-scleral lenses, ranging from 18-20mm. They provide vision correction for people with moderate to severe astigmatism.
  • Full-Scleral lenses – These lenses have the largest diameter, ranging from 20-24mm, and are suitable for people with severe corneal irregularities like keratoconus. They provide excellent vision clarity, stable fitting, and are comfortable to wear.

Each scleral lens type has its own benefits and limitations, and your eye care professional can help you choose the best type for your specific condition.

Here is a detailed chart that showcases the differences between the various types of scleral lenses:

Mini-Scleral lenses Semi-Scleral lenses Full-Scleral lenses
Size (mm) 15-18 18-20 20-24
Indications Corneal irregularities, dry eyes Moderate to severe astigmatism Severe corneal irregularities like keratoconus
Fitting Easy to fit on most patients Not as stable fitting compared to smaller sizes Require experienced fitters
Clarity of Vision Good Better than mini-scleral lenses Excellent
Comfort Better than full-scleral lenses, but not as good as semi-scleral lenses Good Comfortable

The table highlights some of the differences between the various types of scleral lenses, but keep in mind that your eye care professional will be able to provide you with more detailed information specific to your individual needs.

How to Insert and Remove Scleral Lenses Properly

Scleral lenses are specialized contact lenses that are designed to vault over the entire cornea and rest on the white part of the eye called the sclera. They are often recommended for individuals with corneal irregularities or dry eye syndrome. For first-time users, inserting and removing these lenses may seem daunting, but with some practice, it can become second nature. Here are some tips for properly inserting and removing scleral lenses:

Inserting Scleral Lenses

  • Wash your hands with mild soap and water, then dry them with a lint-free towel or air dryer.
  • Fill the bowl of the scleral lens with preservative-free saline solution or artificial tears. Avoid using tap water or other solutions, as they can damage the lens or cause infection.
  • Place the lens on the tip of your index finger, bowl-side up, and pull down your lower eyelid with your other hand.
  • Look straight ahead and gently place the scleral lens on your eye. You may need to use a mirror or ask someone for help.
  • Blink several times to center the lens and remove any air bubbles or debris. The lens should be comfortable and provide clear vision.

Removing Scleral Lenses

Removing scleral lenses requires some skill and patience. Follow these steps to safely remove them:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them with a lint-free towel or air dryer.
  • Look up and pull down your lower eyelid with your middle finger.
  • Gently press the bottom of the lens with your index finger to break the suction and release the lens from your eye.
  • Using two hands, slide the lens down and out of your eye. Be careful not to drop the lens or put any pressure on it, as it can easily break or deform.
  • Clean the lens with the recommended solution, then store it in a clean and dry case until your next use.


Inserting and removing scleral lenses can be tricky, but with practice and patience, it can be done safely and comfortably. Always follow your eye doctor’s instructions and maintain good hygiene practices to avoid infections or other complications. If you experience any discomfort or vision problems, consult your eye doctor immediately.

Do Don’t
Wash your hands before handling the lenses Use tap water or other non-recommended solutions
Use preservative-free saline or artificial tears to fill the bowl of the lens Touch the lens with dirty or greasy hands
Center the lens on your eye and remove any air bubbles or debris Force the lens to insert or remove it
Break the suction and slide the lens out of your eye smoothly Pull the lens out forcefully or abruptly

Remember that proper insertion and removal of scleral lenses can help you avoid discomfort and protect your vision. Be patient and persistent, and don’t hesitate to ask your eye doctor for help if you encounter any challenges or concerns.

Scleral Lenses versus Traditional Contact Lenses

When it comes to contact lenses, many people have experience with traditional soft lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses. However, those who have tried scleral lenses can attest to the significant differences in their experience. Here are some key ways that scleral lenses compare with traditional contact lenses:

  • Comfort: While traditional lenses can cause discomfort or irritation, scleral lenses are often described as feeling like a cushion on the eye. Because the lenses do not touch the cornea and instead rest on the white part of the eye (the sclera), they can provide a more comfortable wear experience for many people.
  • Stability: Scleral lenses are designed to fit more securely on the eye, which can provide greater stability. This can be especially beneficial for those with irregularly shaped corneas or other eye conditions that may cause traditional lenses to shift or move around on the eye.
  • Visual clarity: Scleral lenses can provide clearer vision than traditional lenses for those with certain vision needs. Because the lenses vault over the cornea and have a larger diameter, they can correct for a wider range of vision issues and provide a more consistent visual experience.

While there may be some additional considerations or challenges with scleral lenses (such as a longer fitting process or additional care steps), many people find that the benefits outweigh any potential drawbacks. If you are curious about whether scleral lenses may be right for you, speak with an eye care professional for personalized recommendations and guidance.

Wrap up with a table

Comparison Scleral Lenses Traditional Contact Lenses
Comfort Often described as feeling like a cushion on the eye May cause discomfort or irritation for some wearers
Stability Designed to fit more securely on the eye May shift or move around on the eye, especially for those with irregularly shaped corneas
Visual clarity Can correct for a wider range of vision issues and provide a more consistent visual experience May not be able to correct for all types of vision issues

Overall, while traditional contact lenses may work well for many people, scleral lenses offer a unique and potentially beneficial option for those with certain vision needs or challenges. For individualized guidance on whether scleral lenses are a good fit for you, consult with an experienced eye care professional.

Common Misconceptions about Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses are a type of gas permeable contact lenses that have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their ability to provide clear and comfortable vision for people with a range of eye conditions. However, there are several common misconceptions about scleral lenses that are important to address in order to dispel any myths and help people make informed decisions about their eye health.

  • Misconception #1: Scleral lenses are uncomfortable to wear
  • Misconception #2: Scleral lenses are difficult to put in and take out
  • Misconception #3: Scleral lenses are only for people with severe eye conditions
  • Misconception #4: Scleral lenses can’t be worn for extended periods of time
  • Misconception #5: Scleral lenses are only for sports and outdoor activities

Misconception #5: Scleral lenses are only for sports and outdoor activities

While scleral lenses can certainly be great for sports and outdoor activities because of their ability to stay in place and provide clear vision even in windy or dusty environments, they are by no means limited to these applications. In fact, many people wear scleral lenses on a daily basis to correct a variety of eye conditions, including dry eye, keratoconus, and corneal irregularities.

Eye Condition Potential Benefit of Scleral Lenses
Dry Eye Scleral lenses can help keep the eye hydrated by trapping a layer of fluid between the lens and the cornea, reducing the dryness and discomfort often associated with dry eye.
Keratoconus Scleral lenses can provide clear vision by vaulting over the irregularly shaped cornea and creating a smooth optical surface.
Corneal Irregularities Scleral lenses can improve vision and reduce discomfort for people with corneal irregularities resulting from conditions like corneal scarring and post-surgical complications.

Overall, scleral lenses are a versatile and effective option for people with a wide range of eye conditions, whether they are using them for sports and outdoor activities or for their daily routine.

What to Expect during your First Scleral Lenses Fitting

Getting fitted for scleral lenses can be an exciting experience because of the potential improvements in visual acuity, but it can also be a daunting process for those who have never done it before. Here’s what you can expect during your first scleral lenses fitting appointment:

  • Comprehensive Eye Exam: Before being fitted for scleral lenses, your eye doctor will conduct a comprehensive eye exam to assess your overall eye health and determine if you are a good candidate for scleral lenses. This may include a measurement of your eye’s curvature using a topographer.
  • Scleral Lenses Fitting: Your eye doctor will then perform a scleral lenses fitting, which involves measuring your eyes and determining the appropriate lens size, curvature, and prescription. This process may take a few hours as your eye doctor may need to adjust the lens multiple times to achieve the best fit and comfort.
  • Learning How to Insert and Remove the Lenses: Inserting and removing scleral lenses can be challenging at first, but your eye doctor will teach you the proper technique. You may need a few practice sessions before feeling comfortable doing it on your own.

In addition to the above, here are some other things you can expect during your first scleral lenses fitting:

  • Your eye doctor may ask you about your lifestyle and activities to determine the best type of scleral lenses for you. For example, if you play a lot of sports, your eye doctor may recommend a lens that has enhanced durability and stability.
  • You may need to try different types of scleral lenses before finding the right fit. Your eye doctor may have to order different lenses and have you come back for additional fittings.
  • Your eye doctor will likely schedule follow-up appointments in the weeks and months following your initial fitting to ensure your scleral lenses are providing optimal vision and comfort.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Fitting Appointment

Here are some tips for making the most of your first scleral lenses fitting appointment:

  • Bring a list of questions to ask your eye doctor. It’s important to fully understand the fitting process, the different types of scleral lenses available, and any potential risks or side effects.
  • Be honest with your eye doctor about any concerns or discomfort you experience during the fitting. Adjustment periods are normal, but your eye doctor may need to make necessary tweaks to ensure optimal comfort and vision.
  • Be patient! Finding the right scleral lens fit can take time and patience. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few fittings to find the right lens for you.

How to Care for Your Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses require proper care to ensure their longevity and safety. Here’s what you need to know about caring for your scleral lenses:

Cleaning the Lenses Storing the Lenses
Use a specific cleaning solution recommended by your eye doctor. Rub the lenses gently with your fingers to remove any debris or buildup. Store the lenses in a clean, sterile case filled with the cleaning solution. Change the solution daily.
Do not use tap water to clean the lenses as it can contain harmful bacteria. Avoid exposing the lenses to extreme temperatures or humidity.
Do not use abrasive cleaners or solutions with hydrogen peroxide. Do not wear the lenses longer than recommended by your eye doctor.

Overall, scleral lenses can provide remarkable improvements in visual acuity and comfort for those with certain eye conditions. By knowing what to expect during your first fitting, how to make the most of your appointment, and how to care for your lenses, you can enjoy all the benefits scleral lenses have to offer.

Proper Care and Maintenance of Scleral Lenses

As with any contact lenses, proper care and maintenance of scleral lenses are essential to ensure their effectiveness and longevity. Here are some tips on how to take care of your scleral lenses:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling your lenses. This helps prevent the transfer of any harmful bacteria or dirt to your eyes.
  • After removing your lenses, clean them with a recommended cleaning solution. This will help remove any debris or buildup from the surface of the lens.
  • Store your lenses in a clean and dry case. It’s important to change the solution in your case daily and replace the case every 3 months to prevent infections.

Aside from these general care guidelines, there are some additional maintenance steps you may need to take depending on the specific type of scleral lens you have.

For instance, if you have a gas permeable (GP) scleral lens, you may need to perform lens conditioning to maintain its shape and curvature. This involves soaking your lenses in a conditioning solution overnight. Always consult with your eye care practitioner before attempting any conditioning techniques.

Cleaning Solution Substitutes
Hydrogen peroxide solution Sterile saline solution
Multipurpose solution Preservative-free saline solution

It’s important to note that proper care and maintenance of scleral lenses not only benefits your eye health but can also improve the lifespan of your lenses. Always follow your eye care practitioner’s instructions and recommendations for your specific case to ensure your vision stays clear and comfortable.

What Do Scleral Lenses Feel Like: FAQs

Q: Are scleral lenses uncomfortable?
A: Scleral lenses are designed to fit comfortably over the eye, and most patients report little to no discomfort when wearing them.

Q: Do scleral lenses cause dry eyes?
A: No, scleral lenses are filled with saline solution, which helps keep the eye hydrated and reduce dryness.

Q: Will I feel the edge of the lens on my eye?
A: Scleral lenses are designed to fit smoothly and seamlessly over the eye, and most patients report not feeling the edge of the lens.

Q: Can I wear scleral lenses for long periods of time?
A: Scleral lenses can be worn for extended periods of time, but your eye doctor will determine the best wearing schedule for your individual needs.

Q: Will scleral lenses affect my vision?
A: Scleral lenses can provide excellent visual acuity and reduce distortions caused by irregular corneas.

Q: Will putting scleral lenses in be difficult?
A: Scleral lenses may take some practice to insert and remove, but most patients become comfortable with the process after a few tries.

Q: Can I exercise with scleral lenses?
A: Yes, scleral lenses can be worn during physical activities and provide stable vision during movement.

Closing Thoughts on What Do Scleral Lenses Feel Like

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about what scleral lenses feel like. If you’re considering this type of lens for your vision needs, don’t hesitate to consult with your eye doctor to determine if they’re right for you. With proper care and handling, scleral lenses can provide clear vision and comfortable wear for those with irregular corneas. Be sure to check back for more informative articles on eye care and vision solutions!