Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome

Discover why Scleral Lenses can provide relief from symptoms of dry eye, such as burning, stinging, gritty, and painful eyes. 

Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

If you suffer from dry eye, and have looked into treatment options to help alleviate symptoms, you may have seen scleral contact lenses mentioned. Of course, the obvious question then arises. Do they actually help?

Dry Eye, and Its Symptoms

Many people suffer from dry eye, which is when the tears don’t properly lubricate the eyes, commonly due to instability within the tear film. The tear film is comprised of three layers: oil, aqueous fluid, and mucin, and the right balance within it, along with the right amount of tear film overall, is important for things to operate properly. Commonly, the problem causing dry eye is related to the amount or the quality of tears produced.

Dry eye can be caused by a wide range of things, and while dry eye might seem like just a mild irritation, the irritation and inflammation to the eyes can cause serious damage if not treated.

Symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Red eyes 
  • Stinging or burning sensation in the eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty driving at night
Dry Eye, and Its Symptoms
Scleral Contact Lenses

Scleral Contact Lenses

While scleral contact lenses aren’t a cure for dry eye, they can provide relief through better moisturizing the eyes.

They are large-diameter lenses which are gas permeable and leave space over the cornea, resting instead on the sclera (the white of the eye.) They provide a smooth optical surface which can also correct vision problems from corneal issues like keratoconus.

Additionally, they are filled with isotonic fluid prior to installation, which gives them increased ability to moisturize the eye, making them much more comfortable for people with dry eye to wear for extended periods of time, and make wearers less reliant on eye drops to keep the eyes moist.


Scleral Contact Lenses

Scleral Contact Lenses for Dry Eye Disease

Optometrists usually recommend scleral lenses after they've attempted more traditional dry eye treatments . These lenses won't cure your dry eye , but they can provide relief by consistently moisturizing your eyes. Scleral contact lenses are an effective method for treating dry eye The lenses cover your entire corneal surface, protecting your eyes from irritants such as smoke, wind, dust, and other debris. The lens design is more comfortable to wear for long periods, decreasing the need for artificial tears There are several studies dedicated to evaluating the effectiveness of scleral lenses. In one study, patients said scleral lenses increase comfort, decrease the need for eye drops, and improve visual acuity . Another study found that scleral contact lenses can relieve symptoms when dry eye is severe or difficult to manage.

Scleral contact lenses aren't a one-size-fits-all solution for your dry eye symptoms, but they can effectively provide relief and moisture. Scleral contact lenses aren't for everyone, so speak with your optometrist to determine if these lenses can help you. Your optometrist will tailor-fit the scleral lens on your eye for better comfort and vision.

Poor Tear Quality and Tear Production

A common cause of dry eye is poor tear quality leading to them evaporating too quickly. The oil portion of the tear film is what normally prevents this, so a problem with this oil, called meibum, can lead to dry eye.

Eye allergies, dry air, infrequent blinking, posterior blepharitis, MGD, and vitamin A deficiency can all cause this, along with issues with the eyelid. The latter can be caused by inflammation due to irritation from contact lenses.

Tear production generally lessens with age, but it can also be negatively impacted by things like antihistamines, antidepressants, decongestants, and side effects from other medications.

Scleral contact lenses may be an option to help reduce the discomfort from poor tear quality and tear production. 

Dry Eye, and Its Symptoms
Scleral Contact Lenses

Don’t Let Your Dry Eye Control Your Life

Dry eye does not mean you have to give up wearing contact lenses. However, if your current lenses are causing irritation, or if your current treatment is not giving you relief, you should come in for a checkup right away, as dry eye can be a more serious issue than many realize, so don’t wait! Additionally, upon coming in for a dry eye examination, we may be able to provide other treatment options specifically tailored for your condition which can provide long-term relief.

Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Contact Us

Call us to at (360) 491-2121 schedule an appointment with us at American Family Vision Clinic today. Patients with dry eyes visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of dry eye care for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.

Related Articles


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
1 2 3



Macular degeneration: separating fact from fiction- myths and misconceptions

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in older adults in the United States. Approximately 20 million adults in […]

Read More

Alleviating Eye Strain from Digital Devices: Tips and Exercises for Relief

As we spend more and more time in front of computer screens and cell phones, it's important to be aware […]

Read More

Beyond LASIK: Discovering New Vision Correction Techniques

According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), there were approximately 1.8 million LASIK procedures performed in […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

American Family Vision Clinic Logo

Working Hours




400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 459-1097
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram