The joy of working with scleral lenses is the opportunity to improve the quality of patients’ lives, to enhance our skills, and to elevate our profession and our practices. In March 2020, in these ever-changing times, we all need a bit of good news to cheer us up. I asked global scleral lens experts to share their inspiring scleral lens stories.
One key theme is the benefits that scleral lenses provide to improve the quality of life. Stephanie L. Woo, OD, describes a patient who had extreme dry eye and unresolving punctate keratitis for five years. The patient had been on multiple treatments including cyclosporine, lifitegrast, hourly use of artificial tears, autologous serum, and nighttime goggles. Dr. Woo notes that within two weeks of starting scleral lens wear, the punctate keratitis “has already resolved 50%!” There was a significant improvement in this patient’s quality of life, with a profound decrease in artificial tears use.
Michael J. Lipson, OD, reports the benefits of clear, comfortable vision with scleral lenses for those who are experiencing a blurry and distorted world. With scleral lenses, patients experience “life-changing improvements in vision, resulting in a significant improvement in their quality of life,” he says.
Damon J. Ezekiel, BOptom, described a male in his early 60s who had keratoconus and whom he has seen for 20 years. The patient has often stated that “You are not allowed to retire. If it was not for you, I would not hold down a job and would not be able to drive.” Dr. Ezekiel states that “this sort of testament really hits home regarding the amazing difference we can make for the quality of our patients lives.”
Karen G. Carrasquillo, OD, PhD, states that scleral lenses “are truly transformative.” She describes how scleral lenses are life changing with the example of a graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) patient who would have rather died from leukemia than live with extreme pain and photophobia. That patient is now free of pain and has hope in life because of scleral lenses. Dr. Carrasquillo reports that scleral lenses are “life changing,” and she is grateful every single day for her clinic’s motto of “Restoring Sight. Reclaiming Lives.”
Jim Kokkinakis, BOptom, reports that “Scleral lenses have revolutionized our specialty practice. The unfittable now have an option. Corneal transplant patients have been given their lives back. This has all been made possible using scleral topography software…. If an accurate map can be taken, virtually every eye can now be fitted.”
Daddi Fadel, DOptom, describes the multiple benefits of scleral lenses, which include visual rehabilitation, improved quality of vision with better contrast sensitivity and higher-order aberration correction, correction of astigmatism and presbyopia, and an increase in peripheral vision. She describes the benefits that scleral lenses provide for dry eye and ocular surface disease and improved lens comfort and wearing time. Dr. Fadel reports that “scleral lenses represent a life-changing event for patients. They reduce the need for eye surgery and help decrease depression, psychological problems, and emotional instability.”
Many thanks to all of the scleral lens experts for their inspirational stories, wonderful insights, and contributions to this edition of Scleral Lens Monthly.
Dr. Barnett is a principal optometrist at the University of California Davis Eye Center, specializing in anterior segment disease and specialty contact lenses. She is the past president of the Scleral Lens Education Society. She is an advisor to and/or has received honoraria or travel expenses from AccuLens, Alcon, Alden Optical, Allergan, Bausch + Lomb, Bruder, Contamac, CooperVision, EveryDay Contacts, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Ocusoft, Paragon Bioteck, RaayonNova, ScienceBased Health, SynergEyes, Tangible Science, and Visioneering Technologies.