There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to putting in contact lenses. If you have an intense blink reflex or an aversion to putting your hands near your eyes, you might find it especially hard. So before you begin, check out our tips for putting in contacts. Even if you’ve been wearing contacts for years, you might find it helpful to review these tips to refresh your memory.
Tips for Putting in Contacts
Start with Clean Hands and a Clean Face
One survey found that only 67 percent of people actually wash their hands before putting in their contacts. Yuck! Always wash your hands with soap (preferably non-perfumed, anti-bacterial soap) and water before placing each contact lens. Although it goes without saying, you shouldn’t expose your eyes to the germs on your hands (and don’t even get us started about the bacteria under your nails). Another common mistake is washing your hands, but failing to dry them. Water can harbor thousands of bacteria, so always dry your hands before applying your lenses (preferably with a lint-free towel).
It is also a good idea to wash your face beforehand or avoid touching your face. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trachoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness around the world, and it can be traced back to poor facial hygiene. In addition, you should always put your contacts in before you apply your makeup to avoid getting product in your eyes.
Carefully Place Each Lens
When clean, your fingers are the best tools available for applying your contacts. Remove one lens from your case, and if your prescription varies from eye to eye, make sure you are applying the correct one. Gently use your pointer finger and thumb to retrieve your lens. Then, place the lens on your pointer finger or middle finger (figure out which one works best for you), curved side facing up. It should look like a cup with a U shape. If the top edges flare out, it is inside out. Your lens might have an indicator that you can use to check that it is right side out.
So the lens is on the tip of your finger. Now you need to pull your bottom eyelid down and your upper eyelid up. Most people find that the best way to do this is to use another finger on the same hand as the finger applying the contact to pull down the bottom eyelid. Then, use the other hand to pull up the upper eyelid. You might prefer to use fingers on the same hand (the hand not applying the contact) to pull the eyelids apart.
Finally, look ahead in a mirror and gently place the contact on your eye’s iris. You might find it helpful to look up as you place the contact. The lens should settle and suction to your eye. Make sure it is in the center of your eye, and slowly release your eyelids. After you blink slowly and comfortably a couple of times, you are ready to apply your next lens.
Keep Your Contact Case Clean
Afterward, rinse your contact lens case with your sterile contact solution and rub it with clean fingers. Don’t use tap water to clean your case. Let it air dry when you are finished, and remember to replace your case every three months or so.
Still having trouble? Try these troubleshooting tips for putting in contacts:
- If you’re struggling, experiment with different methods to figure out which works best for you. For example, you might try placing the lens on a different finger, looking up rather than straight ahead, or only pulling down your bottom eyelid.
- If you are having trouble getting your eyes to stay open during the process, try practicing with clean hands. Take your finger and slowly move it toward your eye (without blinking) a couple of times before applying your contacts. This will help ease your eyes into the process. Remember that during the application process, your finger won’t actually touch the eye itself.
- Are your lenses folding over after application? You might be blinking too fast afterward, prohibiting the lens from settling and suctioning to your eye. Try holding your eye open with your fingers for a few seconds after you apply the lens.
- If your contact lens is sticking to your finger, be sure that your finger is dry. If your finger is wet, the contact lens will cling to it.
- If you’re struggling to pull your eyelids up or down, be sure that your eyelids and fingertips are dry. If they’re moist, you might find it difficult to get a grip.
- Does your lens feel uncomfortable, and is your vision blurry? Your lens may be inside out. Remove it, check that it’s right side out, and reinsert it.
For more tips for putting in contacts, who better to ask than your optometrist? If you live near southwest Missouri, stop by Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an e-mail to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We would be happy to help you learn how to put in your contacts correctly.