Inserting and Removing Scleral Lenses
When you handle scleral lenses incorrectly, poor hygiene and improper cleaning can increase your risk of getting an eye infection. For this reason, it’s crucial to follow your eye doctor advice on how to properly care for your contact lenses.
Before Handing Scleral Lenses
Make sure to do the following before inserting or removing scleral lenses:
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial pump soap or non-oily soap and dry them with a clean paper towel or lint-free towel.
- To insert and remove your lenses, sit at a table or desk with a lint-free cloth. Bathrooms frequently have more germs than other areas in the house, so avoid them when handling scleral lenses.
- Examine your lenses for chips or cracks, as well as protein deposits on the surface. If you see any flaws or are unclear whether your lenses are broken, have your eye doctor inspect them before wearing them.
Inserting Scleral Lenses
- Remove your scleral lenses from their storage case and rinse them with saline. If you’re using a hydrogen peroxide solution, wait at least 6 hours for the solution to neutralize after you place the lenses in the storage case. Before placing the lens on the eye, always clean it with saline.
- Secure the scleral lens to a suction instrument (plunger) provided by your optometrist, or insert it between your middle finger, forefingers and thumb (the tripod method).
- To prevent air bubbles from accumulating between your eye and the lens, fill half the bowl of the lens with preservative-free saline solution. In a facedown position, place the lens directly on the middle of your eye.
- With a tissue, wipe and dry your lens case, then leave the cover off to air dry.
Removal of Scleral Lenses
Scleral contact lenses can be removed in two ways: with your fingers or with the help of a plunger. To remove your lenses, press firmly on your bottom eyelid just below the edge of the lens with your finger, then push upward.
- Hold your bottom lid open while looking in the mirror in front of you. Attach the suction tool to the bottom of the lens after wetting the tip for greater adhesion.
- Remove the lens with the suction tool by tilting it up and out of the eye.
- To loosen the lens, use a drop of preservative-free saline solution or artificial tears.
- Look down at a level surface (a towel or mirror can be placed there).
- Use your middle finger to open your eyelid wider than the lens diameter.
- Push down on the eyelid and apply pressure to the middle of the lid, as close to the lashes as possible, to move your eyelid beneath the lens and pull it off the eye.
Caring for Your Scleral Lenses
Always follow your optometrist’s advice when it comes to contact lens care.
Never use tap water at any stage of lens maintenance, including rinsing and filling your lens case. Tap water contains a variety of harmful microbes, including acanthamoeba, which can cause a severe, painful and sometimes sight-threatening infection. Before handling your lenses, make sure your hands are clean and completely dry after using a lint-free towel.
Use a Filling Solution That Is Preservative-Free
Before inserting your scleral lenses, fill the bowl of the lens with unpreserved sterile saline solution. Using preserved saline solution raises the risk of infection.
Use a Peroxide Cleaner
Soaking your scleral lenses in 3% hydrogen peroxide solution sterilizes them. The catalyst in the case converts hydrogen peroxide into oxygen gas and water over the course of 6 hours. This deep cleans your lenses and eliminates the need to rub them, lowering the danger of accidentally breaking them. If you use the lenses before they’ve been immersed for 6 hours, the un-[neutralized] peroxide will irritate your eyes. When not in use, let the lens case dry.
Remove Before Going to Sleep
Most people can wear scleral contact lenses for up to 12-14 hours at a time without any discomfort. The optimal time to remove the lenses is around an hour before going to bed. If your lenses fog up in the middle of the day, remove them and clean them before reinserting them.
Remove Debris Using Multi-Purpose Lens Solution
Remove your scleral lenses and rub them for 2 minutes in a contact lens case filled with saline solution after properly washing and drying your hands. Microorganisms and sediments are effectively removed, minimizing your risk of infection. While scleral lenses are durable, they can be broken if used or handled incorrectly.
After massaging your lenses, rinse them well for 5-10 seconds with the solution. Then place them in a case filled with new solution for at least 4 hours to disinfect.
Routinely Clean and Replace Your Lens Case
To avoid infection from bacterial contamination, clean and replace your lens case on a regular basis.
Cleaning the storage case on a daily basis is recommended, as is replacing it monthly or as directed by your eye doctor.
Your optometrist will let you know when it’s time for a new pair of scleral lenses and when you should book a follow-up appointment. Failure to show up for scheduled appointments can [jeopardize] your lenses’ effectiveness.
At The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Loudoun Eye Associates, we can recommend the optimum wearing schedule for your contact lenses to provide the highest level of comfort and visual acuity. Always follow the advice given to you by your eye doctor. Call today to make an appointment for an eye exam and scleral lens fitting.
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