If you've been keeping up with the latest buzz in optometry, you know that scleral lenses are a hot topic. They've been around for a long time...since the 1880s to be exact. Why are sclerals now making a comeback? One explanation is they're amazing, effective lenses! Granted, they're not the end all solution for every patient that walks through the door, but they are an incredible option for many. They can be used for both regular and irregular corneas and they have one huge advantage over corneal GPs—they're actually comfortable! With all the benefits associated with sclerals the question that remains is why aren't more optometrists fitting them? The most common response I hear to this question is that they're too complicated. Today I'd like to put that myth to bed.
As a scholar ambassador for Acculens, a few months ago I had the opportunity to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to attend a scleral lens academy put together by Mr. Greg Sobiech and Dr. Alex Gibberman. As a newly minted third year student my experience with sclerals was limited to insertion and removal, and that's about it! The first thought that came to my mind was "how am I going to learn to fit sclerals in one day knowing well that it took me weeks to learn how to read fluorescein patterns in GP lenses! "After finishing the academy that evening one prevailing thought came to mind—I got this! Ok, maybe I'm not a master fitter like Dr. Alex Gibberman who led the academy, but I left feeling fairly proficient. I was able to fit three different patients and all of them had outstanding results with the lenses. Dr. Gibberman broke the fitting process down into 3 simple steps. First pick a baseline diagnostic lens based on the patient's condition, second assess the central vault and scleral landing areas and third design your lens with the assistance of the Acculens consultation team.
I'm living proof that sclerals are not too hard to fit. Not only can you grow your practice by fitting specialty scleral lenses but you can also dramatically change the quality of your patient's life. Make it a point to attend a scleral academy at a local or regional meeting or simply reach out to your local scleral company representative. If I can do it so can you! Happy fitting!
Southern California College of Optometry
Alyssa Pack is a current 3rd year at Marshall B. Ketchum University (Southern California College of Optometry). She grew up in San Diego California and graduated from UC Irvine in 2016 with a degree in Biology. This year is her first year as Acculen's Scholar Ambassador. In addition to her student ambassador role, she also serves as her school's COA liaison and sits on the board for the Alumni Mentorship Committee. In the past she also served as her private practice club vice president and helped lead an optometric mission to El Salvador with Doctors of America. Currently, she is interested in specialty contact lenses and hopes to complete a contact lens residency after graduation. In her free time, she also enjoys yoga, calligraphy, hiking, and gymnastics.
Kentucky College of Optometry
Nitya Murthy is a third year optometry student at the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) and the first AccuLens Scholar Ambassador. She is passionate about contact lenses and will specialize in corneas and contact lenses upon graduation. Nitya is the founder and President of the KYCO Contact Lens Society, through which she has help create opportunities for her classmates to engage in a wide field of contact lens applications. She is also a founding charter member of the Pikeville, KY. Lions Club and a devoted leader in her community. Nitya is one of the top students in her class and has been recognized by her faculty and peers for her leadership, community service and research. She is proud to represent AcuLens as a Scholar Ambassador and to use this position to excel in the field of specialty contact lens fitting.