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When to Choose Scleral Lenses vs. RGP Lenses

Aug 1, 2023 | Contact Lenses

When to Choose Scleral Lenses vs. RGP Lenses

Aug 1, 2023 | Contact Lenses

Choosing the right contact lenses can be daunting with the various options available today. However, professional medical advice and evaluation can help tremendously. Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses and scleral lenses are beneficial for patients with various vision concerns. Although they help treat similar eye conditions, their functions and composition are different. Here are a few considerations when deciding between the two: 

Resting on the cornea 

In terms of size, scleral lenses are wider than RGP lenses. The diameter of a larger scleral lens is about 15-16 millimeters, while a smaller RGP lens has a diameter of about 8-9 millimeters. Scleral lenses do not rest on the cornea, and they rest only on the white part of your eye. 
Scleral lenses give an allowance to bypass severe corneal irregularities. Some patients are unable to wear RGP lenses because of these concerns. Since an RGP lens is smaller and sits on the cornea, it can be tough to fit irregular corneas. 

Less movement 

Moving your eyes quickly can cause an RGP lens to move within your eyes. The smaller a contact lens is, the more movement it can potentially have. This can be a concern if you are a very active patient. On the other hand, a scleral lens is wider, occupying the entire corneal surface. It is also more comfortable to wear and provides more stable vision. 
Scleral lenses produce no foreign body sensations, making them more comfortable. Scleral lenses are ideal because they have less movement in the eye, providing additional comfort in extreme conditions like playing sports. 

Moisture retaining 

Scleral lenses provide larger fluid reservoirs to the cornea than RGP lenses. This is helpful for people who suffer from dry eyes or any corneal-related conditions like keratoconus. 
The moisture enclosed within the eye is dependent on the shape of the lens and your cornea. Scleral lenses protect your cornea better and provide constant hydration to the eye, relieving dry eye discomfort. 

The fitting process 

Evaluating the fit of an RGP lens is quicker than with scleral lenses. A scleral lens evaluation takes time and requires more follow-ups for the initial fitting. The RGP lens sits on the cornea. For this reason, minimal change can be expected, completing the fitting process with fewer visits. 
In some instances, fitting either the scleral or RGP lenses can be time-consuming. It is because every patient has a unique set of eyes. Our optometrist needs to evaluate if the expected values are optimal and if the best fit is achievable. 

Losing the lenses 

Scleral lenses do not make contact with the corneal surface so that you can see clearly. The contacts do not slip or move during any quick movements of the eye. Additionally, there are minimal chances of losing scleral lenses. Since RGP lenses are smaller, they can fall off easily when you are participating in outdoor activities if they are not fit properly. More patients prefer scleral lenses to avoid loss of their contact lenses. 
For more on when to choose scleral lenses vs. RGP lenses, visit us at I-Care Optical in Tampa, Florida. You can also reach us at (813) 806-0812 to schedule an appointment today.