How long did your successful scleral lens fitting take?
Question 1: How many lenses did you try before your first successful lens(es)?
Question 2: How long did the process take, from your first trial lens to the “keeper” lens(es)?
Question 3: How many doctors did it take?
Question 4: How many technologies did it take?
This survey was exclusively for people who have been successfully fitted with scleral lenses, meaning specifically that (1) their eye doctor feels the fit is correct, and (2) the lenses are comfortable enough for them to wear as long as recommended by their doctor, and (3) their vision is satisfactory. Of the 145 participants in this survey, 63.4% are vision-driven (keratoconus, LASIK, RK, scarring, etc), 32.4% are dry eye driven (GvHD, SJS, Sjogrens, non-closing eyelids, severe MGD, etc) and 4.1% are “other” ranging from OCP to neuropathic corneal pain to MDFD.
This is not a study conducted with scientific rigor; it was a simple survey of participants in my scleral lens group and subscribers to my newsletters, and there are bound to be a number of limitations. The scope and purpose of the study was simply to identify trends that may be helpful to patients in understanding their own experience, and to that end, some very important messages come across loud and clear from the data in this survey, namely:
Scleral lens fitting is not a slam dunk process. 38% of successfully fitted participants in this survey had to try at least 4 lenses. 3% required more than 15 lenses.
It can take awhile. 43% required more than two months. 17% took between 4 and 12 months. 3% took more than a year!
You might need to switch doctors: 16% had to do that. A persistent 4% tried three or more doctors but got there in the end!
Or technologies: 17% had to try at least two different lens types (but that number might be higher, because 25% don't actually know whether more than one technology was tried).
This scleral lens survey was conducted by:
June 6-9, 2019
Comments from participants
My answers are based on my initial lenses/fitting. I am now being fitted for new lenses due to vision changes and it's taking a lot longer. New doctor (due to old one moving...same clinic). Issues with 1st set of lenses not being made right when using first drs. work due to lab changes in manufacturing. Total three unsuccessful attempts with that brand. Now trying new brand, just received second set of those lenses (mailed to me), had extreme wetting issues with the first pair. Prescription off on both sets, and don't see doctor for a couple more weeks (4 -5 weeks between appointments, sadly). However, fit seems good. Hopefully at my next appointment we can nail down the refraction.
I'm actually still working on a good fit, but i'll be trying my 3rd doctor soon and likely my 3rd brand.
Primary reason was dry eye in combination with corneal disease
Limbal stem cell deficiency and a virus
This is a process. I remind myself on the bad days that the alternative is not really an alternative. And I can see.
Map dot dystrophy
Dry eye and also vision...(high myopia and strabismus). I still wear glasses which correct the double vision. The Rx in glasses is easier to make now because the myopia is corrected by sclerals.
Being patient is important. Knowing that scleral lens fitting is not like soft contact lens fitting is important. It takes some time, but is really worth it!
Over the last 45years I went from hard contacts to RGP to piggyback to a rt scleral and left hybrid to most recently both scleral lenses.
This was for Prose Lenses.
I am only now realizing how lucky I’ve been. My eye doc got me fitted for my permanent pair of scleral lenses with the first pair she presented to me. She told me that she had received scleral-specific training that enables her to provide these kinds of results in most cases.
After wearing my 3rd PROSE lens (the 1st 2 shattered unexpectically), I just saw my PROSE lens Doctor on Jun. 3rd and will be going back to see her on Jun.18 for new advanced lens that she had ordered. I am now wearing a test lens until then with clear vision and no discomfort.
It was a longer process and frustrating to get fit right but sooo worth it. Scerals help keep my eyes moist while also improving my vision - very happy with them!!
Using the scleral lenses improved my vision immensely. I was almost blind in my left eye without the sense, but with it I can see about 20/40.
Salzmanns nodular dystrophy
I'm a veteran scleral lense wearer. The second and third fitting sessions didn't go as smoothly. I'm currently recovering from full corneal transplant on right eye. Left very successful full corneal transplant was done 15 years ago.
These suckers are so hard to learn to put in! It took close to a year to achieve a fit without an air bubble! In the beginning I would actually cry, spend an hour and use a ton of solution I think your brain Has to learn to ignore something coming at your eyeball and it takes time to “train” it!
Be sure to choose a Dr. who has a lot of experience with scleral lens fitting.
I have worn contact lenses for over 55 years- dx with keratoconus at age 28 and wore gas perm lenses for years; wore a soft/gas perm piggy back combination for awhile before going to scleral lenses 4 years ago. I think many years of dealing with both my dx and many different lenses made the scleral fitting less frustrating for me. I'm seeing better and wearing my lenses longer than I have in years!
Dr. Gloria Chiu at Roski Eye Institute in LA is the best
Original fit was successful for vision improvement, but fogging was a frustration. After several months, my doctor switched to a different type of scleral lens. Vision was still good and fogging only a minor, occasional issue.
I’m out about 4 years. I still have fit problems. My corneas seem to change. The worse eye has improved tremendously while the good eye has gotten worse.
Have a different brand in each eye.
Love love love it!!!! Such a miracle!!!!
I have a OCP and over the years have developed extreme dry Eyes.
Mi first set were PROSE lenses. 5 days. In and out and perfect fit and vision. Those lenses lasted me 5 years without any issues.
The experience of your fitter — how many patients has he or she out in sclerals — is among the most important things to keep in mind.
My primary reason for getting sclerals fit into all three options: Severe dry eye, extreme corneal scarring, and nodules on both corneas.
The key to the fit was the solutions used to clean and store, not from the fit or lenses themselves. That came from recommendations from a second medical organization when I started to have problems and the results were remarkable. Solutions are as important (or more) than the exact fit. Also, installation is tricky and needs practice, even for somebody with years of experience with hard contacts. Now I am more than happy. I am ecstatic.
One eye was perfect first try. other 6 attempts, for an ok fit not perfect.
Process took so long because of cross linking surgery between each lens due to advancing keratoconus. I also wore corneo-scleral lenses prior to surgery. Multiple technologies were tried for the corneo-scleral lenses due to irritation from first lens type.
I am waiting for new lenses made from a more breathable material. I don't know what brand or material.
I lucked out! - less than a half hour from home there is practice that specializes in scleral lenses for keratoconus and other corneal defects (Paul Blaze). My previous optometrist was very discouraging about trying scleral lens for post-infection scarring - especially lens discomfort compared with silicon hydrogel soft lens. Glad I did not let his opinion keep me from trusting my instincts about benefit and wearability of scleral lens. I'm very pleased - even considering getting scleral lens for my other eye even though soft lens for astigmatism works well.
primary reason is both dry eye and neuropathic pain...no GvHD,Sjogrens etc
It was harder to learn to remove them than to insert them.
Up to three pairs of lenses within 90 day trial period was part of the guarantee.
Been wearing contacts for 50+yrs and love my scerals.
I have yet to get any real comfort from scleral lenses. The corners of my eyes are dry and painful and they frequently fog up.
light sensitivity / autonomic nervous system disorder
Thanks for all you do! Love your site.
I was diagnosed with neuropathic corneal pain while being fitted for sclerals
I feel very lucky as I had a great doctor with specialty for keratoconus patients. Going to sclerals from standard RGP was a personal choice due to comfort and I am so glad I made the switch and was covered by insurance. My process felt smooth as I was so used to the many trials and challenges with my RGP lenses.
Took me almost 2 years for my ophthalmologist to try the lenses. I can’t believe how much my vision has changed for the better. I can’t even wear glasses anymore because my eyes are so bad. Please don’t wait as long as I did – – you will be extremely Satisfied!!!
luv my lenses
It took 2 doctors because the first doctor felt my case was challenging and he passed me off to somebody more experienced, it wasn’t because I sought a second doctor.
Insertion is easier with Lacripur and celluvisc
Last question...both answers are correct. It's about vision and dry eye.
I don't know how to answer the questions. It was in the late 1980's. I had SJS has a kid - I was in my thirties when I was referred to Boston Foindation for sight - my eyes were so sore and the lens were so big - it took me months but Dr Kotter (sp?) did no give up on me although I was ready to- I can' easily take take them in and out -To anyone out there go for if - my life has been way better with the lenses -
I did not want to wear a scleral lens. My dr tried to get a good fit with other lenses. After 5 months I finally gave in to wearing the lens. Had a great fit with the second lens fitting.
Want to use our survey data?
You are welcome to use our surveys freely so long as you attribute them to THE DRY EYE ZONE and provide a link to this page.