Successful hybrid lens wear starts with a solid foundation regarding proper application and removal technique. Here are five tips to educate patients who are new hybrid lens wearers—or who may need a hybrid refresher during a visit to your office.
Five Tips for Optimal Hybrid Lens Success
1) Make It a Balancing Act A hybrid lens, with its GP center, tends to wobble on one finger during application, especially as the finger transitions from horizontal to near-vertical at the ocular surface. The finger can remain horizontal right up to the point of application—or, two fingers, typically the index and middle fingers, can be used to stabilize the lens as patients bring the eye gently down to meet the lens resting on the fingers.
2) Aim for the Center Unlike soft contact lenses, which can be digitally moved from the conjunctival surface onto the cornea easily without irritation, a hybrid lens can cause discomfort and/or signs of tracking if the lens is moved around on the eye. It is best to direct patients to place the lens directly on the center of the colored part of their eye to obtain the best initial comfort upon application (Figure 1).
3) A Drop or Two Will Do For indications such as clinically significant regular astigmatism, astigmatism with presbyopia, or typical refractive error on an eye with a larger-than-average sagittal height, no saline is needed to fill the tear chamber of the hybrid lens, as hybrid lenses do not vault significantly over these normal corneas. Instilling a few drops of preservative-free artificial tears (PFATs) into the bowl of the hybrid lens prior to application can help to cushion the lens on the eye and to improve the overall quality of the wear experience. One or two drops of low- to mid-viscosity PFATs can also help to fill in small air pockets that get trapped under the hybrid lens when first applied.
4) Just a Pinch For new hybrid lens wearers, removal can be tricky. A narrow pinch at 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock is sufficient to pluck the hybrid lens off of the ocular surface (Figure 2). Again, sliding the lens off of its central location on the cornea can cause discomfort and microabrasions, so discourage patients from removing hybrids as they would a regular soft lens.
5) The Dryer the Better Wet or moist fingers make it difficult to remove a hybrid lens, especially if the lens is coated with a surface treatment that improves lens wettability. It can be frustrating to continuously pinch a lens that will not budge on the eye.
Dry fingers improve grip, providing enough friction to grasp and dislodge the hybrid lens edge. Patients should dry their hands well with a paper towel or use a lint-free tissue to help grab the lens. If removal is not successful after a few tries, patients can apply a drop of PFATs to the surface of the eye, wait a few minutes, and then reattempt removal.
Reinforce accurate hybrid contact lens handling by reviewing these easy application and removal clinical pearls when novice and established wearers are in your chair. CLS