To report the use of a custom-designed, scleral contact lens (SL) in the treatment of pediatric patients.
The medical records of all patients under 15 years of age fitted with SL from March 2018 through February 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Ophthalmic diagnosis, prior surgical intervention, lens wearing failures, and duration of lens use are reported.
Lenses were dispensed to 18 patients (24 eyes). Main indications for SL fitting were refractive error correction (n = 18: keratoconus (KCN), traumatic corneal scarring, corneal transplant status, and aphakia) and ocular surface protection and optimization (n = 6: neurotrophic keratitis and chronic blepharokeratoconjunctivitis). Patient age ranged from 16 months to 14 years (mean, 9.9 ± 3.5 years (mean ± standard deviation (SD)). Patients fitted for surface disease indications were significantly younger, 8.8 ± 2.5 years. The mean maximal keratometry reading in patients with keratoconus was 64.0 ± 12.6 diopters (D). In six eyes with advanced KCN (Kmax 71.8 ± 11.0 D) and three eyes with traumatic scarring, SL use obviated the need for keratoplasty. Fifteen patients (83 %) continued scleral lens wear with a mean follow-up period of 9.2 ± 7.4 months. Complications included one case of corneal graft rejection and one corneal abrasion associated with lens insertion.
The goals of SL fitting in pediatric patients are visual rehabilitation and ocular surface protection. Pediatric patients with advanced keratoconus and traumatic corneal scarring are most appreciative of the benefits of scleral lenses. The challenges associated with SL fitting and the training process did not preclude long-term SL wear.