Scleral Lens Tutorial 9 - Storage and Replacement
Safe practices for lens storage
What lens storage is:
- Keeping lenses in a case temporarily while napping, showering, swimming, etc.
- Keeping backup lenses
- Keeping any lenses that you do not use regularly
What lens storage isn't:
Putting lenses to soak overnight, if you are wearing them every day. That overnight soak is - or should be! - a disinfection cycle, and you should follow the instructions specifically for disinfection.
- RIGHT: Put lenses in a case and fill with a multi-purpose solution.
- WRONG: Put lenses in a case with preservative-free saline solution (e.g. Purilens, Scleralfil, LacriPure, Addipak) or neutralized Clear Care.
Step 1: Follow product label instructions & doctor's advice.
Step 2: Put lenses through a disinfection cycle before your next use.
About dry long term storage
Most scleral lenses can and should be stored dry if they will not be used for lengthy periods. Clean and dry your lenses and put them in a clean, dry case. Disinfect them before your next use.
Exception: Lenses with Hydra PEG coating should never be stored dry, according to the manufacturer.
Some people have special situations, such as rotating frequently between two pairs of lenses. Make sure you get your doctor's instructions on safe. appropriate lens care for your situation.
When & why you might need to replace a lens
- Loss (forgot to cover the drain!)
- Breakage (cracked on the sink, or it's just so old and worn that it was inevitable)
- Discovered a hole or crack in the lens (it happens, usually with older lenses)
- The surface has become "etched" by stubborn deposits, and you can't see as well or can't get it completely clean.
- The coating has worn off, the lens isn't performing up to your needs, and you've been told it cannot be re-coated.
- And more!
How often will my lenses need replacing?
This is one of the best questions you can ask as a new scleral lens user. The reality, though, is that it somewhat resembles the infamous question, "How long is a piece of string?"
Alas, gone are the days when it seems we could keep our lenses year after year and they did just fine as long as we were careful. At least that's what it seemed like at the time. But maybe it's a myth, like walking uphill through the snow to school?
At any rate, lens manufacturing seems to be changing, as well as provider- and manufacturer-specific policies about how much can be done to maximize the life of a lens that you have already worn for some time, such as re-treating or re-coating a lens.
We don't have answers. Focus on asking good questions. Which brings us to....
Questions to ask your provider about lens replacement
- How frequently should I expect to have to replace my lenses (barring loss or breakage)?
- What factors lead to shorter lens life?
- What steps can I take, if any, to prolong my lens life?
- Is there any manufacturer warranty coverage if a pair breaks?
- How much do you charge for replacement lenses?
- Can I have the Hydra PEG coating re-applied if it wears off quickly?
And just a few more questions!
The following are questions we feel you should ask about every pair of lenses you receive, including replacements:
- What is the brand and diameter of my lenses?
- Do they have Hydra PEG coating?
- Will they fit safely in the Clear Care basket case?
- Are there any special considerations or specific recommended solutions that I should know about?
FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS GUIDE IS COMPRISED OF PEER-TO-PEER SUGGESTIONS, NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. CONSULT YOUR EYE DOCTOR WITH ALL YOUR EYE CARE AND LENS QUESTIONS.