How Scleral Lenses Treatment Can Help Those With Chronic Ocular GVHD

dry eyes
Severe dry eye from Ocular GVHD.

Ocular Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD) is a major complication that affects 45% to 60% of patients with chronic Graft vs. Host Disease.

The symptoms can vary greatly but may include reduced and blurry vision, dryness, a gritty sensation, pain, foreign body sensation and mild to severe light sensitivity. Ocular GVHD can severely limit an individual’s lifestyle.

While currently no preventative treatment for chronic ocular GVHD exists — there is relief.

How the Scleral Lens Works for GVHD

scleral lens eye treatment

The scleral lens performs 3 critical tasks for the patient with dry eye:

  1. Fits under the lids and rests on the white sclera of the eye. By vaulting over the cornea it protects it from the irritation caused by blinking and outside environment.
  2. The vaulting of the lens traps a soothing bath of artificial tears that constantly refreshes the ocular surface.
  3. Creates an almost perfectly smooth ocular surface that provides clear and sharp vision without glare.

What does a Scleral Lens look like?

scleral lens eye comfort
Scleral Lens providing soothing comfort for a dry eye.

A Scleral Lens consists of clear multilayered domes made out of a material with very high oxygen transmission.

An example is the Boston XO2 which is an FDA approved gas permeable material, allowing for very high amounts of oxygen to transfer through the material to the corneal surface.

Patient Services
Our staff prides themselves on the warm and compassionate care we deliver. We understand the pain and frustration patients often experience with their diseases. Our goal is to provide an excellent experience both medically and supportively through the entire process.

Contact Us Today
Patients interested in potential scleral lens fitting are encouraged to schedule an appointment with Dr Doug Herriott, our scleral lens specialist.  To make an appointment, refer a patient, inquire about more information or speak to one of the doctors or staff on our team please call:

Eyecare Associates of Osawatomie
524 Brown Avenue
PO Box 456
Osawatomie, KS 66064
913-256-2176

Ocular GVHD Symptoms

chronic ocular GVHD
Severe dry eye from Ocular GVHD.

In 2009, the Boston Foundation for Sight conducted a survey of 51 patients suffering from ocular GVHD and found:

  • 96% had moderate or severe eye pain
  • 87% had difficulty reading regular print, newspapers, magazines or websites
  • 85% were very worried about their sight
  • 80% had trouble with work or hobbies that require seeing close up
  • 75% had trouble driving at night

In a study led by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, researchers found using scleral lenses to be a safe and effective treatment for patients with severe eye dryness and inflammation as a result of GVHD.

76% of the patients reported significant success with scleral lenses.

Outcomes and Results

A 2008 study of patients with ocular surface disease treated with scleral lenses, including 45% with dry eye, reported a 73% reduction in ocular pain and a 90% increase in mental health. Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness of the Boston Ocular Surface Prosthesis, Schneider Institute for Health Policy, Heller School, Brandeis University April 18, 2008 Hundreds of patients with chronic ocular GVHD have had their vision restored and quality of life transformed with Scleral Lenses.

For most people with severe ocular GVHD dry eye, scleral lenses are the only path to restoring their vision, alleviating pain and returning to functional lives.

Patient Comments

“I’m not just satisfied with the scleral contacts, I’m grateful to be able to see clearly again. I’m back at cross stitching and needlepoint-reading is pleasurable again.”

“I never thought I would ever use my eyes again, but now I can see clearer than I ever thought I would with comfort.”