Full eye contact lenses, commonly referred to as scleral lenses among the optometric crowds are a larger variant of contact lenses which are meant to cover the sclera (the visible white opaque portion of the eye) and create a sheath over the cornea which gets glazed with tears on the inside. They get their name, scleral contacts as they are supported by the sclera. Certain conditions that can’t be treated with the normal dime-sized contact lenses and require the whole eye to be covered pave way for scleral lenses. While normal lenses are about the size of a dime, a typical scleral lens will be the size of a quarter, sometimes even larger. Another reason full eye contact lenses are sought after is in the special effects industry. We’ll be looking at both, the cosmetic and corrective uses of full eye contacts below.
Full eye contact lenses for medical/visual aid
Full eye scleral contact lenses are custom made for each patient, and are designed in a way so that there is no movement, with he vaulted portion filled with a saline reservoir which plays the role of a liquid bandage, helping heal dry or irregular corneas. The size of the scleral lens raises additional concerns for the wearer, even though handling these is a rather easy task. Putting these on and removing them requires quite a bit of practice. After one manages to put them on, it takes around 10 minutes for the eyes to get accustomed to them since they’re oxygen porous and gas permeable.
To aid tear flow under the lens and prevent the extremely uncomfortable dry eye, the lenses have fenestrations which are a set of small holes punched at the edge of the lens. The fitting process for full eye contacts is quite complicated, as they have to be applied in a certain way. Due to their size, and the way they have to be precisely positioned in the eye, the manufacturing process also becomes quite challenging resulting in the optometrist and the laboratory spending considerable time manufacturing them.
These problems make full eye contact lenses unsuitable for routine wear. In special cases with irregular corneas, keratoconus, corneal trauma, corneal transplant and refractive surgery, these lenses can however work wonders. In fact, for many patients with irregular or scarred corneas, these lenses are the only viable form of vision restoration since they provide the eye with a new optical surface which can be calibrated to compensate for multiple irregularities. Once applied properly, the scleral lenses keep the eye surface moist, while keeping dust and debris out since it is virtually impossible for those to get under the scleral lens.
For some cases of corneal scarring, a piggyback lens system may be required. Using this approach, comfortable colored contact lenses are used as base lenses before rigid ones are placed on top. Indeed, colored contact lenses has more applications that just changing a person’s eye color.
Full eye contact lenses for cosmetic use/special effects
Full eye contact lenses have been immortalized by movies like the Evil Dead, Underworld as well as the hit TV series, Supernatural. In fact, over 60% of Supernatural episodes have contained at least one scene where some ghoul or with or demon has donned black sclera or black full eye contact lenses. However, the trend of using full eye contacts was kicked off by ‘The Horror of Dracula’ in 1958, where Christopher Lee wore white scleral lenses.
Most reputable online lens sellers will require a prescription and fitting measurements for these. This itself os a good test of the quality of the seller and their interest in keeping your eyes safe. Full eye lenses also need to be custom-made.
Even though these lenses are decorative/cosmetic in nature, they still require the same care as normal lenses. Also, its is advised that you never share your lenses with anybody else because the practice is unhygienic and may cause serious damage to ones eyes. Furthermore, to enjoy savings on eye care without compromising visual health, choose discount contact lenses from reliable brands.