Hybrid Contact Lenses and Your Eyes

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.

Person holding a contact lens

 cruphoto / iStock

Who Needs Hybrid Contact Lenses?

Hybrid contacts aren't for everyone. Some people may benefit from a hybrid lens design. Read the following list and determine if you are a candidate for hybrid contact lenses.

  • Do you desire a crisper, vision correction? Are you unhappy with your vision corrected by regular soft contact lenses?
  • Do you have high amounts of astigmatism?
  • If you have high amounts of astigmatism, do you want to wear a bifocal contact lens?
  • Do you suffer from keratoconus?
  • Have you had corneal trauma or a corneal transplant and suffer from corneal distortion?
  • Have you had refractive surgery and are unhappy 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 healthcare providers will try fitting a regular rigid gas permeable contact lens. A hard lens produces better vision because it masks all of the corneal distortions, 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 healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider will conduct several tests to determine if a hybrid lens will work for you.

A Word From Verywell

Some people assume that hybrid lenses require more time for care and cleaning. 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.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ozcan SC, Ozcan DO. Effects of a new-generation hybrid contact lens on visual performance and vision-related quality of life in patients with keratoconus. ABO. 2022;86(1). doi: 10.5935/0004-2749.20230001

  2. Uçakhan ÖÖ, Yeşiltaş YS. Correction of irregular astigmatism with new-generation hybrid contact lenses. Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice. 2020;46(2):91-98. doi: 10.1097/icl.0000000000000618

  3. Kloeck D, Koppen C, Kreps EO. Clinical outcome of hybrid contact lenses in keratoconus. Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice. 2021;47(5):283-287. doi: doi: 10.1097/ICL.0000000000000738

  4. Chanbour W, Harb F, Jarade E. A modified customized rigid gas permeable contact lens to improve visualization during phacoemulsification in ectatic corneas. Med Hypothesis Discov Innov Ophthalmol. 2020;9(1):1-6. PMID: 31976337

Additional Reading
  • 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.