What Is a Hybrid Contact Lens?

Contact lenses. Steven Puetzer

A hybrid contact lens is a specialized contact lens that may be an option for you if you are uncomfortable wearing rigid gas-permeable contact lenses. Hybrid contact lenses attempt to give people the visual acuity of a rigid gas permeable lens with the comfort of a soft contact lens. A hybrid contact lens is comprised of a center rigid gas permeable contact lens with an outer skirt made of a soft lens material.

Do You Need Hybrid Contact Lenses?

Some people may benefit from a hybrid lens design, including the following:

  • people who desire a crisper, vision correction that are unhappy with their vision with regular soft contact lenses
  • people with high amounts of astigmatism
  • people with high amounts of astigmatism who want to wear a bifocal contact lens
  • people with keratoconus
  • people who have had corneal trauma or a corneal transplant and have corneal distortion
  • people who have had refractive surgery and are not happy with the outcome

People with some of the problems mentioned above have some type of corneal irregularity or distortion. Many times this problem is not correctable with eyeglasses and doctors will try fitting a regular rigid gas permeable contact lens. A hard lens produces better vision because it masks all of the corneal distortion, mimicking a new smooth optical surface to focus light. Because a soft contact lens is soft, the astigmatism or distortion often shines right through the lens because the soft lens just drapes over the cornea.

Because a rigid gas permeable lens is hard, it is not comfortable for all people. Some people have so much distortion that it is difficult for their eye doctor to get the lens to center properly over the cornea and pupil. With a hybrid contact lens design, the crisp optics of a hard lens is provided with the center rigid lens.

The rigid lens vaults the cornea so it is not rubbing up against it, causing discomfort. The soft skirt holds the rigid lens in place avoiding mislocation.

Can Anyone Wear Hybrid Lenses?

If you can wear a regular soft contact lens, then you can probably wear a hybrid lens. However, you may not see much of a benefit unless you have one of the conditions mentioned above. Patients that wear hybrid lenses state that their vision is much sharper than when corrected with a soft lens. Occasionally, a hybrid lens will not work. This sometimes occurs when a person has lenticular astigmatism instead of corneal astigmatism. Your doctor will conduct several tests to determine if a hybrid lens will work for you.

Are Hybrid Lenses Difficult to Care for?

Most hybrid lenses are just as easy to care for as regular soft contact lenses. Sometimes, the same type of solutions may be used. However, one item that you must pay particular attention to is the center portion of the lens. Because the center part is rigid, it can be broken if too much pressure is applied to it while rubbing or cleaning the lens.


Holt JC, Dansie DF, Ogden, Utah. "A Hybrid For The Hard-to-Please: Hybrid multifocal daily-wear offers comfort and simultaneous vision." Optometric Management, Oct 2007.

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