Contact lenses can be difficult to handle for a variety of reasons and even for the most experienced of contact lens wearers! Here are some tips to help you insert, remove and handle your lenses.
“The Taco Test”
Is Your Contact Lens Right Side Up?
Inserting the Contact Lens in Your Eye
Getting your contact lens in can be a bit daunting at first, but with a bit of practice and a few tips this whole process will become second nature.
Contact Lens Insertion Process
- Wash and dry your hands. You should try to use a non-perfumed anti-bacterial soap and dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
- Place lens right side up on your finger. Your lens should rest gently on your fingertip like a small bowl.
- Inspect your contact lens. It is a good idea to get in the habit of checking your contact lenses any time you go to insert them. You should always check to make sure your lens is not torn or damaged, and that there is nothing stuck to the lens before you put it in your eye.
- Use your other hand to keep eyelids spread apart. Gently hold your upper eyelid open with one finger and then carefully pull your lower eyelid down using your other fingers. You want to make sure you don’t blink during the insertion process and you don’t want your eyelashes to get in the way.
- Place the lens on your eye while keeping both eyes open. Slowly move your finger with the contact lens towards your eye, and look upwards as you make contact.
- Slowly release lower eyelid, then the upper eyelid. Close your eyes for a moment to allow the lens to settle into place.
- Blink slowly a few times and take a moment to test your focus. Look at several different objects that are varying distances away to help check that your contact lens is properly situated on your eye.
- Repeat procedure for your other eye.
Tips for Inserting a Soft Contact Lens
- When you are inserting your contact lenses you should always try to start with the same eye each time. This will help you avoid mixing up your lenses.
- Always check to make sure your lens isn’t inside out. To do this hold your lens on your finger up to a light source. If the edges of your lens flare out that means it is inside out. Some contact lenses also include laser markings, such as a brand name, around the edge to help you ensure your lens is not inside out. If you do accidentally put your lens on inside out don’t worry, it will be uncomfortable but it won’t cause any damage to your lens or your eye.
- Don’t pull on your lenses. If your lens is stuck to the side of your contact lens case you should resist the urge to pull it free with your fingertips. Instead, close the case and give it a gentle shake. This will allow the contact lens solution to loosen the lens.
Removing the Lens from Your Eye
Once you get the hang of it removing your contact lenses is an easy and effortless process.
Contact Lens Removal Process
- Wash and dry your hands. Just like you did when you put your lenses in you should wash and dry your hands thoroughly before beginning. You should also try to use a non-perfumed anti-bacterial soap and dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
- Pull your lower eyelid down and tilt your head forward. You may choose to gently move your lens off the iris portion of your eye and onto the white during this phase. However, this is not necessary and you can remove the lens from its normal position if you prefer.
- Softly pinch the side of the contacts with thumb and index finger. This will help you gently pry your lens loose from the surface of your eye.
- Store your contact lenses properly. Contact lenses should be stored in a contact lens container, and each lens should have its own section in that container. You should also ensure your lenses stay moist using an approved contact lens solution.
Tips for Easy Removal
- Keep your nails short. Until you master removing your contact lenses you may want to keep your fingernails short. This will help you avoid scratching and damaging your eyes.
- Take your makeup off first. You should always remove your makeup before you remove your contact lenses. This will help you avoid contaminating the lenses.
- Consider a plunger. If you are having trouble removing your contact lenses you may want to talk to your optometrist about a plunger. These small devices can be used to touch your contact lens and remove it directly from your eye. However, if you do use a plunger make sure it only comes in contact with your contact lenses, not the surface of your eye.
- Make sure your eye is moist. If you are having trouble getting your contact lens out because your eye is dry don’t panic. Instead, simply use some eye drops to lubricate your eye and then remove the lens.
- Close the drain. If you are removing your contact lenses over a sink you should make sure to close the drain stopper. This will prevent your lens from getting lost if you happen to drop it.
Storing Your Contact Lens
Storing your contact lenses properly will both prolonge their life and help keep nasty bacteria at bay. If bacteria gets into your eyes it can cause eye infections.
- Keep it clean. Make sure you are cleaning and disinfecting your contact lenses and their storage case regularly. Your optometrist can provide you with specific cleaning instructions.
- Avoid saliva. You may be tempted to wet your contacts by slipping them into your mouth, but this should be avoided.
- Use fresh solution. You should never “top off” the solution in your contact lens case. Instead, you should discard the old solution and replace it with fresh solution every time you go to store your contact lenses. This helps prevent bacteria growth and can reduce the chance of you getting an eye infection.
- Rub your lenses. Even if you are using “no-rub” solution it is still a good idea to give your lenses a quick rub to clean them thoroughly.