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Symptoms returning after ~6 years wearing scleral lenses

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  • Symptoms returning after ~6 years wearing scleral lenses

    Hi, everyone - I've been wearing scleral lenses for my dry eye for about 6 blissful years, nearly symptom-free. Before that I suffered pretty severely for about 4 years, until finally someone referred me to the specialist who told me about scleral lenses. During the past 6 years there have been barely any times when my eyes have bothered me...even when I'm in dry or windy environments they just felt dry, but not painful or symptomatic. However, in the last couple of weeks I've felt some of the old familiar symptoms returning. Burning, aching, itchy, irritated, stinging...I've had to stop going into my office because of the air conditioning there (luckily I work for myself so I can just work at home), even though it was never a problem in the past.
    I remember my doctor saying to me, at the time they were fitted, that I was lucky that they worked for me because they don't relieve symptoms for everyone. Now, I'm feeling terrified that I'm going from being one of the people who they *do* work for, to the alternative. But is that even a thing? In the other stories I've read on here, it seems like when scleral lenses become less effective over time it just has to do with the lenses needing cleaning or plasma coating (which isn't even something I knew about and am planning to ask a doctor about), and then their effectiveness is restored. But in those cases it seems that there was just irritation, not necessarily a return of all symptoms. This feels like a full-on return to the days when I didn't even wear the lenses.

    So I guess my main question is, has anyone else here ever had the experience of wearing them for several years with no symptoms, and then symptoms suddenly returning (and cleaning, retreating etc the lenses doesn't help)?
    There's so little information out there about scleral lenses, and especially about what to expect in the long term.
    My next step is to go talk to a doctor, which I've been putting off because it will be ungodly expensive with my insurance. I wanted to get recommendations here first on what to ask about, and also set my own expectations about what I can realistically hope for.

    I'm so frightened of returning to the days when my life was ruled by my symptoms...I just can't go back to that again.