Most contact lenses sit on top of the cornea (the clear outer layer of the eye) to correct refractive errors and make your vision clearer. Other types of contacts work in different ways and treat different eye conditions.

Talk with your eye doctor about what type of contact lenses are right for you. No matter what type of contact lenses you wear, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions for taking care of your lenses.

Multifocal contact lenses

Multifocal contact lenses correct both near and distance vision. They can help people who have trouble seeing things up close and far away. For example, people who have both presbyopia and nearsightedness can use multifocal contact lenses for reading and driving.

Some types of multifocal contact lenses, like bifocal lenses, have a line separating the sections for near and distance vision. Others are more like progressive eyeglass lenses, with no visible lines between the different sections.

Hybrid contact lenses

Hybrid lenses have a hard center and a soft outer ring. The hard center corrects refractive errors to make your vision clearer, and the soft outer ring holds the lens in place and makes it more comfortable to wear. Hybrid lenses may work better for people who can’t wear regular lenses because their corneas are an unusual shape (irregular corneas).

Ortho-K (orthokeratology) lenses

Ortho-K lenses temporarily change the shape of your cornea to correct refractive errors. You wear Ortho-K lenses overnight and take them out in the morning. Then you can see clearly during the day without wearing glasses or contacts.

Scleral contact lenses

Scleral lenses are hard contact lenses that sit on the sclera (the white part of the eye) instead of the cornea. The space between the scleral lens and the cornea can hold fluid to help heal damaged corneas and treat severe dry eye.

Decorative contact lenses

Decorative or costume contact lenses can change your eye color or make your eyes look different. Sometimes they also correct refractive errors. To keep your eyes safe, it’s important to get a prescription for any kind of contact lenses. Non-prescription lenses can damage your eyes or even cause blindness.

Last updated: July 1, 2019