A hybrid contact lens is comprised of a gas permeable or “hard” lens with an outer skirt made of soft or silicone hydrogel material. The hard center offers the clear vision found with gas permeable lenses (GP) while providing the same level of comfort and ease as any soft lens. Hybrid contact lenses are available in single-vision and multifocal lenses.
Because the rigid gas permeable lenses are hard, certain people may find them uncomfortable. However, in hybrid lenses, which are larger in diameter, the rigid part of the lens vaults over the cornea and the soft skirt holds it in place in order to keep it from moving around and rubbing against the cornea.
Hybrid lenses are great for those seeking to correct myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) and are particularly beneficial for patients with specific types of visual impairments, such as:
- Irregular or high astigmatism
- Those uncomfortable with toric or multifocal contact lenses
- Corneal transplants
Hybrid lenses compare to soft contact lenses in the way they are inserted and removed. However, they differ in their replacement schedule. While hybrid contact lenses can last up to 6 months, soft contact lenses generally require daily, bi-weekly or monthly replacements. This is because hybrid contact lenses are far more durable in design — although their longer life span also means a more rigorous cleaning process to prevent bacterial growth.
A brief adaptation period is required to learn the methods of inserting and removing hybrid contact lenses. Your eye care professional will provide instructions on how to handle the lenses. Contrary to soft contact lenses, that may turn inside-out when pressed down during cleaning or inserting, hybrid contact lenses retain their bowl-like shape. If the edge or soft skirt ever creases out of shape, gently smooth the edge back into shape before insertion. In contrast, with soft contact lenses, any change in shape generally signals that it's time to replace your lenses.
Because of the variety of hybrid contact lenses available, we recommend you speak with your eye care professional to determine the best option for you. For example, certain hybrid lenses are beneficial for those with keratoconus or irregular corneas, while others, like the UltraHealth FC by SynergEyes, is prescribed for patients with flat corneas. A flat cornea could develop following eye surgery, such as RK or similar refractive surgery.
A bit of trial and error will be required to discover what lens ultimately works for you. A contact lens specialist will guide you through the available options to help you discover the most comfortable and suitable lens for your needs.