Office Hours

Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday 7:00am - 7:00pm
Thursday 7:00am - 5:00pm
Friday 7:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday CLOSED

Optometric Physicians NW
2222 James Street Suite A
Bellingham, Washington 98225

Phone: (360) 676-4030
Fax: (360) 676-8719

Do you have reduced and difficult vision that can’t be corrected with glasses or conventional contact lenses? Scleral Lenses may be your solution.

Scleral contacts are a specialty lens designed to vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the "white" of the eye (sclera). In doing so, scleral lenses functionally replace a sick or irregular cornea with a perfectly smooth optical surface to correct vision problems that otherwise cannot be corrected.

Who could potentially benefit from scleral lenses?

Patients with:

  • Irregular corneas
    • post surgical corneas
    • keratoconus
    • pellucid marginal corneal degeneration),
    • patients with conditions that affect the tear film
  • Dry eye syndrome
    • Moderate to severe dry eye
    • Graft vs. host disease
    • Sjogrens disease
    • Stevens Johnsons Syndrome
    • Neurotrophic keratopathy
    • Bells Palsy or lid closure problems that lead to severe dry eye
  • Eyes that have undergone a corneal transplant
  • Inflammatory conditions
    • Limbal stem deficiency
    • Ocular Cicatricial pemphigoid
  • High Refractive errors
  • Patients unable to wear other forms of correction

If the cornea is sick and/or not smooth, vision will not be easily correctable with spectacles or most soft contact lenses. Scleral lenses mask this irregularity and allow for improved vision by providing a smooth front surface. The fluid reservoir beneath a scleral lens will also improve comfort, and may allow cornea’s in poor health to heal.

There are different sizes and types of scleral lenses. During your contact lens exam and fitting, your eye care professional will determine the best scleral lens type and size for your specific needs.

Scleral Contact Lenses For Keratoconus

Many optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend scleral contact lenses for a variety of hard-to-fit eyes, including eyes with keratoconus.

In cases of early keratoconus, a standard GP lens may be used. However, if the lens does not center properly on the eye or moves excessively with blinks and causes discomfort, switching to a large-diameter scleral contact lens may solve the problem.

Because scleral lenses are designed to vault the corneal surface and rest on the less sensitive surface of the sclera, these lenses often are more comfortable for a person with keratoconus.

Also, scleral lenses are designed to fit with little or no lens movement during blinks, making them more stable on the eye, compared with traditional corneal gas permeable lenses.

Scleral Contact Lens Cost

Scleral contact lenses are custom-made for each wearer, so fitting scleral contacts demands much greater expertise and more time than fitting standard soft or GP contact lenses.

Often, computerized maps of the curvature of the entire cornea are generated to facilitate the lens fitting, and several trial lenses of different sizes and curvatures may be applied to the eye during the fitting process.

Also, depending on the complexity of the problem and how the individual eye tolerates the scleral lens, adjustments of lens parameters may be needed, which will require additional lenses to be made and exchanged. The entire scleral lens fitting process can take several visits to determine the optimal lens for each eye.

While many individuals who use scleral lenses have worn soft or corneal GP lenses in the past, the process for applying and removing scleral lenses is different and may take some practice. The additional time needed to master this, due to the larger size of the lenses and the fluid reservoir under the lenses, needs to be taken into consideration during the fitting process.

For these and other reasons, scleral contact lenses can cost significantly more than standard contacts; in fact, it is not uncommon for scleral contacts to cost three or four times more. Ask your eye doctor's office for details. We offer financing options for scleral contacts.

Scleral Contact Lenses Help Star Perform Crazy Movie Stunt

July 2015 — Actor Tom Cruise is known for doing his own adrenalin-pumping, sometimes crazy movie stunts. In his new film, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, Cruise wears scleral lenses during one of his stunts.

Watch as Tom Cruise prepares for one of his most talked-about movie stunts. See if you can catch the clip where they insert his scleral contact lenses.

The scleral lenses Cruise wears are to protect his eyes and allow him to open them while facing high speed winds. Why does he need them? Because the actor does a scene hanging onto the wing of a real fighter jet that flies 5,000 feet above the ground.

Scleral lenses have a larger diameter than other gas permeable contact lenses and rest on the white part of the eye. They are sometimes used to treat severe dry eyes, because the space between the cornea and the lens acts as a fluid reservoir, keeping eyes moist. Other scleral lenses are used for people who have irregular corneas.

However, this instance demonstrates a very unique benefit: protecting the surface of the eye from high speed winds. — N.B.

Our Mission To You

Our family of eyecare professionals is committed to:

  • Providing you, your family, and our community with a lifetime of compassionate and unparalleled preventative eye care services and state of the art products.
  • Inspiring confidence through patient and community education.
  • Promoting visual excellence with an organized, caring and dedicated staff, and with doctors and staff who promise to stay in the forefront of eye care with continuing education, certification and licensure, and the latest instrumentation.

We welcome you to our team at Optometric Physicians Northwest.