Talk to patients about the lenses

In my office, I explain to patients that a scleral lens is like a bowl, that we fill up with saline and apply to the eye so there is a layer of fluid between the lens and the eye. The fluid cushions the eye making it comfortable and the larger size allows it to tuck underneath the lids. The firm quality of the lens creates a smooth regular surface and provides excellent vision.

Explaining how a scleral lens works, especially in regards to issues patients have been having with their current lenses, can help get patients interested in being fit. For example, when a keratoconus patient tells you their lenses are uncomfortable or pop out, you have the perfect opening for scleral lens education.

To start off strongly, I recommend educating all patients that are candidates on the benefits of scleral contact lenses. Consider a lunch and learn where you educate your staff on the lenses and benefits so you can all feel more confident talking to patients.

Don’t be shy or nervous about your limited experience in scleral lenses, you are the expert in the room!

Pick the right case to start

Like trying anything new for the first time, easier is better. The 80-year-old glaucoma patient with tilted corneal grafts and a bullous trabeculectomy probably isn’t the simplest fit to start with.

Consider fitting a young keratoconus patient with comfort issues with corneal lenses or a patient with high astigmatism that couldn’t get functional vision out of soft lenses. You might even ask the lab if they will let you try and fit a staff member with dry eyes or a spouse with a high rx at no-cost. Many labs will even send someone out to help you for the day if you can line up several fittings.

In any case, the best way to become a regular scleral lens expert is to put lenses on eyes. Soon you might find the scleral lens fits are among your most rewarding patients.