Learn How to Insert Contact Lenses
With These 10 Steps

Learning how to insert contact lenses into your eyes is usually the hardest part of contact lens wear. Once you learn how, though, it gets to be easier every time you do it. Patience is a must!

Please make sure you have been fitted by a licensed eye care professional before attempting to insert contact lenses. Only use contact lenses that have been fitted for you, and never wear a friend's contact lenses, even the coloured ones.

Before you attempt to insert your contacts, here are a few pointers to make things easier and safer for your eyes.

  • Always, before touching your eyes, or handling your contact lenses, make sure you wash and dry your hands thoroughly.
  • Make sure your finger nails are short and filed. You do not want to scratch your eye with jagged, long or sharp nails.
  • get used to looking in the mirror at your eyes, and touching your eyes (make sure hands are clean!) You can practice touching the white of your eye with your finger (put a drop of solution on it), but only touch the cornea with a contact lens.
  • A standing, magnifying mirror really helps with learning to put your contacts in. The mirror itself should tilt to a comfortable angle for you to use. Here is an example of one
  • Make sure you have no makeup on, and no lotions on your hands or face.
  • Decide which hand you are going to use to apply the lens, and which you will use to hold the upper lid.
  • Always start with the same eye.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Nothing makes it more difficult to put contact lenses in, than rushing or losing your patience.
  • Make sure you have saline solution or a MPS available to rinse lenses if necessary.
  • Use a small mirror that you can place where it is most comfortable, at an angle that works for you. A magnifying mirror may help.
  • handle your contact lenses with care. They are flexible but fragile, and may tear if handled roughly.
  • Know how to tell if your contact lens is inside out or not.
  • Don't move too quickly, or with jerky movements. Contact lenses are best applied with slow, steady movements.

10 Steps to Insert a Contact Lens

  1. Put a contact lens on your index (first) finger. Check to see if it is inside out, or if there is any damage (nicks, chips, tears)
  2. Look up, and hold the upper lid with your other hand.
  3. Use the middle finger of the hand with the contact lens to pull down the lower lid.
  4. Tip the contact lens so that the bottom edge is angled to touch the eye first; position inside the lower lid.
  5. Gently move the contact lens toward your eye. You can place the lens directly on the coloured part (the iris) or on the white below the iris if you are looking up.
  6. Do not blink until you think the contact lens is on your eye.
  7. You must press gently but firmly to allow the contact lens to suction onto the eye.
  8. Take your finger away from the eye
  9. Blink gently
  10. Repeat steps for the other eye.

Common Complaints While Inserting Contact Lenses

1. "The lens is sticking to my finger!" 

This has to be the most common problem that new contact lens wearers have while attempting to insert contact lenses.

The reasons a lens will stick to your finger are numerous:

- there is too much/ too little solution on your finger

- you blinked too soon

- the lens was not positioned on your finger correctly

- you didn't press enough on your eye (only the edges touched the eye, there was still too much distance between eye and contact)

- you pressed too hard on your eye (the contact lens flipped backwards because of too much pressure)

2. "I can't tell if the contact lens is inside out or not."

Many people have difficulty determining if a contact lens is the correct way, or if it is inside out.

If a contact lens is inside out when it goes into your eye, most people can tell right away:

- the lens is uncomfortable

- the lens doesn't centre on the cornea properly

- the lens might fall out

- your vision is not as good as it normally is, and can fluctuate

I had worn contact lenses for many years before I apparently did not check to see if the lens was correct, and accidentally put it in my eye inside out. I had it in for about 5 minutes, wondering what was wrong with it, was there a cat hair in my eye, was there a small tear in the lens? Finally I took it out and saw that it had been inside out.

How to tell if a contact lens is inside out:

- You might have to put your glasses on to look at the edges of the lens.

- Place the contact lens on the tip of the finger you will be inserting it with. All edges should be up, not tipped down against the finger.

- Hold the lens up against a light source so you can see the edges better

- If the contact lens is the correct way, the edges will be shaped like a bowl, nicely rounded.

- If the contact lens is inside out, the edges will tend to flip outwards, and the lens will look a little flatter, more like a saucer than a bowl. The edges will also look a little darker when inverted.

3. "I'm doing everything right, but the lens is still sticking to my finger!"

There are two possible reasons for this:

1. You just aren't pressing firmly enough onto your eye, or

2. The contact lens is not touching the eye all the way around. In other words, the angle that you are touching the lens to the eye is not quite right. All edges of the contact lens must touch the eye to stay on the eye. If the top edge isn't touching, it won't come off your finger. Same with the bottom, or more commonly, one of the sides.

Toric Contact Lenses for Astigmatism

Because contact lenses for Astigmatism are shaped a little differently, they have their own considerations for inserting and to see if inside out.

Return to Contact Lens Care from Insert Contact Lenses

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