Contact lenses are a popular way to correct vision – approximately 45 million people in the U.S. wear them, according to the Center for Disease Control. There are two basic types of lenses, soft lenses made from soft, flexible plastic and gas permeable rigid lenses that are commonly used by individuals who require complex vision correction or precise vision.
Although inserting contact lenses may appear instinctive, as a first-time user and even someone who hasn’t worn them for a long time, it might not be as easy as you thought.
Whether you’re new to wearing contact lenses or are returning to wearing them again, this tutorial can help you properly put in contact lenses to save you from frustration or irritation to ensure safe, effective use.
How to Insert Contact Lenses
If you’re not used to touching your eyes, it might seem scary at first. Don’t worry – after a few tries, it will start to feel natural putting in and taking out your lenses.
Before you handle the lenses or touch your eyes, wash your hands with soap and hot water to prevent the spread of Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria is often found in and around your nose and is a common cause of eye infection, according to WebMD, so washing with hot soapy water and drying with a lint-free towel is important.
Here are the steps to put in contact lenses:
- If you have soft lenses, check to see that the lens is not inside out. To do this, place it on the tip of your finger. The contact lens should look like a bowl, with edges that are straight. If the edges flare, then the lens is inside out.
- Consider starting with the same eye each time to avoid getting lenses mixed up.
- Hold your upper eyelid open with your finger to prevent blinking.
- Carefully pull the lower lid down with one of your other fingers.
- Look upward as you place the lens on your eyeball.
- Release your eyelids and close your eye to help the lens settle.
- Repeat the process for the other eye.
At first, you may feel the lenses in your eyes. If your lenses are soft, it could take a few days to get used to them. If they are the gas permeable type, it could take a few weeks. But, it will get to a point where you won’t notice them at all.
How to put Contact Lenses in Small Eyes
It’s not that much more difficult to insert contact lenses into small eyes, it just takes a little more patience when you get started. Follow the same steps as above but take extra care to ensure that your lids are open enough before approaching your eye with the lens. After placing your lens on your eyeball, close your eye and give your lens a moment to settle.
How to Remove Contact Lenses from Your Eye
Again, start with clean, dry hands and have your contact lens case open and solution handy if your lenses are not daily disposables.
- Look up and pull your lower eyelid down.
- Move your index finger slowly to the lower edge of the lens and slide it down to the lower part of your eye.
- Using your index finger and thumb, squeeze the lens and remove it from your eye.
- Rinse your lens with a saline solution or multi-purpose cleaner; ask your eye doctor for recommendations.
- Place the lens in a clean lens case, and cover with the solution. If you have daily disposables, simply discard it.
- Repeat the process for the second eye.
Additional Contact Lens and Eye Care Tips
To ensure your contact lens use brings you great vision and healthy eyes, here are additional tips to follow:
- Discard your contact lens case after one to three months of use.
- After putting in your lenses, dry the case out with a non-linty towel or allow it to air dry before putting on the caps.
- If your eyes feel dry or irritated while wearing your contacts, artificial tears can help. If you’re using soft lenses, use artificial tears without preservatives – ask your eye doctor for recommendations.
- Discard your contact lenses at the correct time. Your eye doctor or contact lens manufacturer will say when lenses should be discarded.
If you experience on-going dryness, irritation or persistence redness, see your eye doctor. An exam by a qualified professional can uncover the root of the problem, which could be alleviated with a simple procedure or could require a more involved process.
If you are looking for an eye care professional to help you transition into contact lenses or other corrective methods, the eye doctors at Southwestern Eye Center have years of experience to help you have healthy vision for many years to come. Contact them for an appointment today.