Dry eye syndrome is a condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly. This common condition, affects an estimated 10-30% of the population, with higher prevalence in older individuals and females.
Tears are essential for maintaining the health and lubrication of the eyes. They provide moisture, nourishment, and protection to the cornea and other delicate structures of the eye. When the eyes are not properly lubricated, it can lead to discomfort, irritation, and even damage to the eyes if left untreated.
There are several potential causes of dry eye syndrome, including:
• Certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants
• Hormonal changes, particularly in women during pregnancy or menopause
• Environmental factors, such as dry air, wind, and exposure to smoke or pollutants
• Medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and diabetes
Treatment for dry eye syndrome can vary depending on the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms. Some common treatments include:
• Artificial tears or eye drops to lubricate the eyes
• Prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation and increase tear production
• Omega-3 supplements to improve the quality of the tears
• Punctal plugs to block the drainage of tears from the eyes
• Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding environmental triggers and practicing good eye hygiene
Even with these multiple treatment options available, these solutions may not be enough to provide relief for some folks. This is where scleral contact lenses save the day.
Scleral contact lenses are a type of specialty contact lens that are larger in diameter than traditional contact lenses, and they vault over the entire cornea and rest on the white part of the eye (the sclera). These lenses create a dome over the eye, trapping a layer of tears between the lens and the cornea, which can help to alleviate the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
Diane E. Kerris, OD, an optometrist in Tampa, Florida, is an expert on dry eye syndrome and has extensive experience fitting patients with scleral contact lenses. According to Dr. Kerris, “scleral contact lenses can be a game-changer for people with dry eye syndrome, particularly those who have not found relief with other treatments.”
Dr. Kerris works closely with Dr. Craig Berger, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist, providing the best dry eye syndrome treatment available in the Tampa Bay and central Florida areas. Founder of Bay Area Eye Institute, Dr. Berger has dedicated his practice to the treatment of Dry Eye Disease, Cataract and Cornea Transplant surgery.
How do scleral contact lenses work?
Scleral contact lenses are designed to create a space between the cornea and the back of the lens, which is filled with a saline solution. This reservoir of fluid provides constant lubrication to .the cornea, which can help to reduce the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
The space between the back of the lens and the cornea also acts as a barrier, protecting the cornea from environmental factors such as wind and dust, which can exacerbate dry eye symptoms.
Who can benefit from scleral contact lenses?
Scleral contact lenses can be beneficial for people with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome, as well as for those who have corneal irregularities, such as keratoconus. These lenses can also be helpful for people who have undergone certain types of eye surgery, such as corneal transplant surgery.
According to Dr. Kerris, “scleral contact lenses can be especially helpful for people who have not found relief with other treatments, such as artificial tears or punctal plugs. They can also be a good option for people who have trouble tolerating traditional contact lenses, as they are typically more comfortable to wear.”
What to expect during a scleral contact lens fitting
A scleral contact lens fitting typically takes longer than a traditional contact lens fitting, as the lenses are custom-made for each individual patient. The process may involve several appointments at Bay Area Eye Institute, during which Dr. Kerris and her experienced technicians will take measurements of the eye, assess the cornea and tear film, and determine the appropriate lens parameters.
Once the lenses are ordered, the patient will return for a final fitting and instruction on how to insert and remove the lenses, as well as how to care for them. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor the fit of the lenses and ensure that they are providing adequate relief for the patient’s dry eye symptoms.
Caring for scleral contact lenses
Proper care and maintenance of scleral contact lenses are essential for ensuring their longevity and effectiveness. Patients should follow the instructions provided by their eye doctor, which may include using a specific type of saline solution, cleaning the lenses regularly, and storing them properly.
It is important to note that scleral contact lenses should not be worn for longer than recommended by Dr. Kerris, as overwearing the lenses can increase the risk of eye infections and other complications.
If you are struggling with chronic dry eye syndrome and have not found relief with other treatments, scleral contact lenses may be a good option for you. It is important to consult with an eye doctor who has experience fitting patients with scleral contact lenses, such as Dr. Diane Kerris, OD, and Dr. Craig Berger, MD, to determine if scleral contact lenses are the right solution for you.
Dr. Berger and Bay Area Eye Institute
Craig Berger, MD opened the Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa, Florida in 2007, specializing in the treatment of Dry Eye Disease, cataract and cornea transplant surgery.
Along with Dr. Berger, Doctors Gamell and Kerris, treat and manage a large spectrum of eye conditions and diseases at Bay Area Eye Institute. They accept most health insurances and will accommodate quick new-patient appointments.
The practice focuses on patient satisfaction. Their philosophy is to put the patient first, provide physical and emotional comfort, and strive for the highest care possible. Your time and comfort are paramount. They feel that patient education is an important aspect of treatment and will take the time to explain ocular conditions and treatment plans.
The Bay Area Eye Institute facility employs state-of-the-art technology and careful testing is conducted before, during and after treatments and surgeries. They utilize the most modern surgical techniques and technology for cataract, cornea transplantation, and glaucoma and eyelid surgery.
Bay Area Eye Institute is conveniently located in north Tampa and is easy to get to from all Tampa Bay area counties. They are open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday-Thursday and 1:00 to 5:00 on Friday. Call them today and ask about setting up a surgery evaluation with Dr. Berger. (813) 265-6940