Contact Lenses Overview

Contact lenses, scleral and therapeutic

The Mayo Clinic contact lens specialty group is staffed by optometrists and ophthalmologists who work closely with technicians certified by the National Contact Lens Examiners.

We offer a wide variety of contact lenses, such as soft contact lenses, frequent replacement soft contact lenses and rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses. Special therapeutic, bifocal and cosmetic contact lenses also are available. Our staff is experienced in fitting and managing patients with specialized contact lens needs, such as people with keratoconus or corneal transplants.

Scleral lenses

Scleral contact lenses can help people who don't respond to other treatments for their cornea conditions. A scleral lens differs from a standard contact lens — it's larger and rests atop a layer of tissue over the white part of the eye (sclera). A fluid barrier keeps the scleral lens from touching the cornea.

The lack of contact between the back of the scleral lens and the cornea reduces pain, and the spherical front surface of the lens improves vision.

Scleral lenses are sometimes the only solution for people with conditions that can't be helped by regular contact lenses. Scleral lenses can be used to:

  • Protect the front surface of the eye in conditions such as neurotrophic or exposure keratopathy
  • Improve eye comfort in conditions such as dry eye and Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Provide improved vision in people with irregular corneal surfaces, as in keratoconus and corneal scarring

Lenses can be customized for each person. Mayo Clinic's eye experts are highly experienced in treating people with scleral lenses.

Video: Keratoconus

Scleral contact lenses cover the white part of the eye and arch over the cornea. A protective layer of saline lies between the eye and contact lens. These lenses are a good alternative to surgery for many patients with keratoconus.

April 15, 2023