A hybrid contact lens combines a gas permeable or “hard” lens center while maintaining a soft ridge or soft skirt. The hard center provides clear vision that's not disrupted by astigmatism or corneal irregularity while matching the same comfort and ease as any soft lens. Hybrid contact lenses have become so widespread that they're available in single vision and multifocal. A multifocal hybrid contact lens or progressive contact lens has 3 powers of strength within the lens for those who need near, intermediate, or distance vision.
Hybrid lenses compare to soft contact lenses by the way they are inserted and removed daily, however they differ in their replacement schedule since hybrid contact lenses can last up to every 6 months. Soft contact lenses, on the other hand, generally require bi-weekly replacements or monthly. This is due to hybrid contact lenses being far more durable in design. Although, their longer life span also requires a more in-depth cleaning process to avoid bacterial growth.
Hybrid Contacts = Soft Lens Comfort with Hard Lens Clarity
As far as adapting to hybrid lenses, there is a brief period of required to adjust to the inserting and removing of hybrid contact lenses. Your eye care professional may provide instructions of special procedures on handling the lenses. Also, there may be a tint on your hybrid lenses, but this has no effect on the quality of vision. Contrary to soft contact lenses that may turn inside out when pressed down, such as during cleaning, hybrid contact lenses retain their bowl-like shape. If the edge or soft skirt ever creases out of shape, you can gently smooth the edge back into shape before insertion. With soft contact lenses, however, any change in shape is generally a sign that you need to replace your lenses.
While there are some minor differences between soft contact lenses and hybrid lenses, overall the process of inserting, removal, and cleaning is very similar. This makes the transition for some worthwhile and comfortable. Though, over the last few decades, people only had the option of hard or rigid gas permeable lenses. (RGPs), hybrid lenses are a newer product that’s specifically designed for those with keratoconus or other corneal irregularities who need a lens that provides the same clarity and comfort as regular soft lenses.
Due to the variety of hybrid contact lenses and how they correct various astigmatisms or cornea irregularities, your eye doctor is the best resource for which option is best for you. For example, some hybrid lenses pertain to those with keratoconus or irregular cornea, while others, like the UltraHealth FC by SynergEyes is prescribed to patients with flat corneas. A flat cornea could develop after an eye surgery like RK or similar refractive surgery.
Hybrid lenses are the in between for scleral lenses and soft contact lenses. While scleral lenses cover the entire white surface of the eye, the sclera, and soft cut lenses merely cover the central part of the eye, Hybrid contacts lenses are large like a scleral lens yet soft like your average soft contact lens. This approach has helped a countless number of contact lens wearers with astigmatism to wear contacts that mirror regular contact lenses without having to resort to hard gas permeable or scleral lenses. Although hybrid contact lenses haven't replaced hard gas permeable lenses as far as vision correction goes, hybrid lenses have become an acceptable option for those who find hard lenses uncomfortable.
In short, a major difference between hard lenses, hybrid lenses, and scleral lenses is how well they fit your eyes. While some astigmatisms or corneal irregularities may adjust to the lens, in some instances, a bit of trial and error will be required to discover what lens will ultimately work out. Finding a contact lens specialist who can guide you through the available options is vital to discovering the most comfortable, clear vision that's right for you.