Handling contact lenses for the first time can be a daunting task – they’re fragile, susceptible to damage and contamination, and can cause discomfort and irritation if improperly inserted. Luckily, practice makes perfect and eventually you won’t think twice about inserting and removing contact lenses. Always wash and dry your hands with mild soap and a lint-free towel before handling lenses, and be sure to have your favorite contact lens solution and a contact case within reach.
Inserting Contact Lenses
- Make sure your hands are clean and dry before touching your contact lenses.
- If you’re removing the contact lens from a brand new blister pack gently shake the blister before opening (in case the lens is stuck to the foil.)
- Place the lens on the tip of your finger and make sure your other fingers are out of the way.
- Hold the lens up to the light – make sure it’s clean, moist, and free from nicks or tears.
- Check the lens to make sure it’s not inside-out – if the profile of the lens is curved, the lens is in its proper orientation.
- Look straight ahead into a mirror and use the index finger on your opposite hand to hold your upper eyelid firmly against your eyebrow.
- Pull the lower lid of the same eye down using your middle finger.
- Place the lens over the iris, and make sure the edges of the lens are in contact with the eye.
- Press firmly, release your eyelid, and massage or ‘blink’ the contact lens into place.
Removing Contact Lenses
- Wash and dry your hands completely using a mild soap and a clean towel.
- While looking up at the ceiling, use your non-dominant hand to pull apart your eyelids.
- Slide the lens down onto the white of the eye, and with the pads of the index finger and thumb of your dominant hand, pinch the lens gently off the eye. Note: this might take a few tries, especially at first. Remain calm and keep trying.
- If you wear daily disposables, toss your used contact lenses into the trash.
- If you wear any other type of contact lens place the lens in the palm of your hand, clean and sanitize according to the directions on the bottle of solution.
- If the edges of your lens stick together, add a drop of solution to the lens and rub to disperse.
- In order to avoid confusion, always use the same eye first when inserting and removing lenses.
- Don’t re-use contact lens solution; always fill your case with fresh solution.
- Never use tweezers, your nails, or other pointed instruments to dig your lenses out of the case.
- Never place a damaged lens in your eye – throw it out and start with a fresh lens.
- If you’re not sure how to tell if your lens is inside-out, try the “taco test”: place the lens on your finger and pinch it together – if the lens takes the shape of a taco shell the lens is positioned properly for insertion.
- Don’t force or press the lens onto the eye – this can cause the lens to fold or tear.
- Consult your eye doctor if inserting or removing your lenses is causing you excessive amounts of trouble.