How to Take Care of Your Scleral Lenses

Caring for your scleral lenses 

Congratulations on your new scleral contact lenses! Now that you have your lenses, you’re probably wondering how to best take care of them. Cleaning and caring for your scleral lenses is an important daily eye care task. Following the correct maintenance and handling procedures for scleral lenses will allow for clear, comfortable vision for years to come. Plus, proper lens handling and cleaning is not only central to ensuring your scleral contacts function well—good lens care is also imperative to maintaining your eye health. 

Read on to learn how to put in your scleral lenses, remove your lenses, and clean your lenses with scleral-lens-friendly products and solutions. Your eyes will thank you—diligent scleral lens care is synonymous with good eye care.

older woman with clear eyes

What are scleral lenses?

What makes scleral lenses distinct from traditional contact lenses? Scleral lenses are a special type of contact lens that can help patients with eye conditions like keratoconus, irregularly shaped corneas, high refractive errors, astigmatism, corneal transplants, and dry eye achieve clear vision. Traditional contact lenses rest directly on the cornea of your eye, but scleral lenses vault over this part of your eye to rest on the white area around the cornea (scleral refers to the “sclera,” which is the white part of your eye). Scleral lenses bathe the eye in a saline solution and can provide relief from dry eye.

How to put in and remove your scleral lenses

Good hygiene is foundational to getting the most out of scleral lenses. Always wash your hands and dry them with a lint-free towel before handling a lens. There is an increased risk of eye infection with all types of contact lens wear. 

Inserting and removing scleral lenses can take some practice. Always inspect each lens before putting them in to check for any debris. You can hold your lens on your fingertip or with a special tool your eye doctor provides for you. Fill the bowl of the lens with preservative-free saline solution and then place the lens in your eye. When you feel the solution on your eye, press very gently and let go of the lens. If you notice any discomfort when you put in your contact lens, you may need to remove the lens and try again. If you drop your lens, just rinse it thoroughly in saline solution before trying again.

To remove your scleral lenses, you can use your fingers or a special plunger. To remove the lens with your fingers, place 2 fingertips on either side of the lens to gently break the seal from your eye. If using a plunger, wet the tip with saline solution and attach this to the lower part of the lens. Press gently into the lens to allow the plunger to remove it from your eye. As with most other contact lenses, you should always remove scleral lenses before bed.

How to clean your scleral contact lenses

Like all contact lenses, scleral lenses need thorough and regular cleaning to ensure proper function and eye health. So, what are the steps and products you need to clean your lenses? And what are the best practices for safe storage of your scleral lenses in their case?

Good hygiene for healthy eyes

It’s vital to clean your hands before any lens cleaning. Scrub your hands with a mild soap and warm water, making sure to scrub your fingertips, under your fingernails, in between your fingers, and the back of your hand. Always dry your hands with a lint-free towel to ensure no debris could get stuck to your lens. Clean hands mean clean contact lenses and happy, healthy eyes.

Use the right cleaning solution and techniques

You care about your eyes and vision, and this care must extend to your contact lenses. 

To clean and disinfect your lenses, use a saline solution. Once your hands are clean, place the scleral lens with the bowl side facing up in the palm of your hand. Using a daily cleaner approved for gas permeable lenses (Boston SIMPLUS), gently rub the lens in a circular motion against your palm for 30 seconds. This process will remove any debris, deposits, or microorganisms that may harm your eyes. Then rinse your lens with the saline solution for 5-10 seconds. Never use tap water to rinse your lenses. Refill the case with fresh gas permeable solution (Boston SIMPLUS) and leave your contact lenses there to disinfect until your next wear.

Not all lens solutions are made alike, so follow your eye doctor’s advice about which solution is best for you and your scleral lenses. Using the wrong solution may harm your contact lenses or your eyes. Never modify your lens solution to make it last longer, and always clean your lenses before and after wear.

If needed or recommended by your doctor, you can sterilize your lenses using a peroxide solution (CLEAR CARE®). Look for a contact lens peroxide solution that has 3% hydrogen peroxide. Leave your scleral lenses in the peroxide solution for at least 6 hours. DO NOT REMOVE EARLIER AND INSERT SCLERAL LENSES. The peroxide solution deep cleans the lens and eliminates the need to rub it, reducing the chance the lens will break. Always wait the full 6 hours before inserting your lens—putting the lens in too early can damage your eyes.

Care for your case, too

Proper storage of your scleral lenses is an important part of caring for your lenses and your eyes. We recommend that you clean your lens case daily. You should also replace your lens case monthly. To clean your scleral lens case, wipe out the case with a tissue or a dry, lint-free towel. Remove the lid of the case during the day so the case can air dry.

Never use water

This is an eye care rule for all contact lenses, including scleral contact lenses: never use water to clean your lens. There is a microorganism called acanthamoeba in tap water that can cause a serious, painful, sight-threatening eye infection. Always use only an eye-doctor-recommended contact lens solution to clean contact lenses.

Eye health and contact lens care go hand in hand

Loving older couple

Optimal eye care extends well beyond your regular eye exam appointment; good eye care is all about daily practices that ensure long-term eye health. Contact lens maintenance is a key part of this practice, and the importance of tending to scleral lenses is no exception. When your lenses are clean, not only will they help you see clearly, but they will also help you keep your eyes healthy. 

Scleral lens technology has helped countless patients with certain eye conditions see well and live better, which is why we are proud to offer this special lens to our Beyond Vision Center patients across Southern California. By following the best scleral lens practices, you’re ensuring a lifetime of visual comfort, clarity, and health.