Posted by Emily Tait
Large contact lenses could bring relief to the millions of people who suffer from dry eyes, new research has shown.
A pair of wide-diameter contact lenses could be used to relieve the uncomfortable sensation of dry eyes, reports ScienceDaily, making them a "hot topic" in the contact lens world.
Peter Russo, director of the contact lens service of Loyola University Health System, prescribed one of his patients larger contact lenses to combat the condition, and has seen positive results.
A conventional rigid contact lens measures around 9mm in diameter, but the special scleral contact lenses are 15 to 22mm.
The size of the scleral contact lens is not the only difference to a typical lens, as where a normal contact device lies on the cornea, it encompasses a dome-shaped lens which vaults over the cornea, resting on the sclera.
Contained underneath the dome is a reservoir of saline solution, which treats the dry eye.
However, the unusual design does not mean wearers suffer discomfort, with Mr Russo telling the website: "It is remarkable that lenses this large can be so comfortable."
He prescribed the treatment for patient Susan Loughman, who said: "They keep my eyes moist and are very comfortable to wear,
"I don't know what I would do without them."
Russo detailed how when patients first come into the office they have extremely irritated eyes, blurred vision and are being forced to apply eye drops very regularly.
However, the sclera lenses provide "instant relief," he says.
Dry Eye syndrome is more common in older people, tending to affect those over 50, and women more than men.
However, around one in 13 people in their fifties are believed to suffer from the condition.
It occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly, which leads to eyes drying out and becoming red and swollen.
Symptoms include dry or sore eyes as well as blurred vision.
by Emily Tait