Hybrid contact lenses are a specialized type of contact lens that combines the optical qualities of rigid, hard lenses with the comfortable fit of soft lenses. These lenses serve a unique purpose in providing effective vision correction for individuals with challenging corneal conditions, such as keratoconus, or after a corneal transplant. By offering both excellent vision correction and comfort, hybrid contact lenses have become a valuable solution for those who need more than what traditional soft lenses can provide, but find hard lenses uncomfortable or impractical for their needs.
The Composition of Hybrid Contact Lenses
Hybrid contact lenses feature a design that incorporates a rigid, gas-permeable center and a soft, pliable outer landing zone. This combination allows the lens to correct refractive errors with the superior optics provided by rigid lenses, while the soft outer portion ensures wearing comfort similar to traditional soft lenses. The specialized design of these lenses facilitates clear and crisp vision, providing a solution for individuals with irregular corneas.
Ideal for Difficult-to-Fit Corneas
The primary application of hybrid contact lenses is for individuals with difficult-to-fit corneas. Conditions such as keratoconus, where the cornea assumes a cone-like shape, or a corneal transplant, which can lead to irregular corneal surfaces, can present challenges for traditional contact lens wear. Soft contact lenses may not provide adequate vision correction in these cases due to the irregular corneal shape.
Hybrid contact lenses are designed to overcome these challenges by offering excellent vision correction while simultaneously ensuring comfort. The rigid central portion of the lens effectively corrects visual distortions caused by the irregular cornea. Meanwhile, the soft landing zone surrounding the central portion provides a cushioning effect, improving comfort and making the lens easier to tolerate.
When Traditional Hard Lenses are Not Suitable
Hybrid contact lenses are also used when traditional hard lenses are not a viable option for various reasons. This may occur when patients find hard lenses uncomfortable to wear, have difficulty adapting to them, or experience dryness and irritation due to limited oxygen supply to the cornea. Hybrid lenses offer a welcome alternative by combining the vision benefits of hard lenses with the comfort and ease of use of soft lenses.
It is worth noting that hybrid lenses may also be beneficial for individuals who require specific lens parameters or have higher amounts of refractive error that cannot be effectively corrected with traditional soft lenses.
Brands of Hybrid Contact Lenses
While there are various brands of hybrid contact lenses, the most commonly used brand is Synergeyes.
These lenses are able to be fit by many doctors who provide specialty contact lenses as a part of their practice.
The Synergeyes hybrid contact lenses are often able to be fit with a single visit and then ordered successfully rather quickly making them an excellent option when compared to other, more labor-intensive types of lens fittings.
Other brands are beginning to develop new options and may soon have multiple choices of brands for ready-to-fit hybrid contact lenses.