In general, most eye care providers recommend that you remove scleral lenses before sleeping. Stagnation of the tear layer behind the lens could lead to a higher risk of eye infection. Since most of the people who need scleral lenses have already had some trouble with their eyes, further challenge to the surface of the eye would not be advisable.
In some cases, scleral lenses may serve to protect the surface of the eye overnight. In such cases, overnight wear may be specifically recommended by an eye care provider. However, if your eye care provider doesn’t specifically tell you to wear the lenses overnight, plan to remove them before retiring for the evening.
Many patients who wear scleral lenses are able to wear them for 12-14 hours daily. Some patients may need to remove the lenses, clean them, and reapply them with fresh saline periodically throughout the course of the day in order to maintain the best possible vision and comfort.
Scleral lenses will mask irregularities on the surface of the eye, and may give you better vision than other forms of correction. However, it’s possible that you’ll still need to wear glasses over the lenses in order to see clearly at all distances, especially if you’re over the age of 40 and are now using reading glasses for near tasks. Corneoscleral lenses designed to reduce your dependence on reading glasses are available.
Scleral lenses are a useful addition to your current therapy, but are not likely to completely replace other things that you’re doing to manage your condition. While scleral lenses protect the cornea, the back of your eyelid will still need to move over the front surface of the lens. Lubricant drops can help to reduce irritation caused by this interaction.
If you are using any medications prescribed to manage corneal infection or inflammation, you should continue to do so when wearing scleral lenses unless your eye care provider specifically instructs you to discontinue the medication. Furthermore, you should plan to remove scleral lenses before using prescription eyedrops, and reapply the lenses after instilling the drops.
Blurred vision that you notice after a few hours of wear could be due to deposits on either the front or back surface of the lens. Removing the lens, cleaning it, reconditioning the front surface, and reapplying it with fresh saline should clear your vision. If your vision remains blurred even after cleaning and reapplying the lens, check with your eye care provider to make sure that your lens is still fitting properly.
Depending upon your tear film’s tendency to coat the lenses and your care habits, scleral lenses should last approximately as long as other rigid lenses (1-3 years).