Putting in contact lenses can be tricky for a lot of people, especially those who are trying it for the first time. Whether you want to change the color of your eyes or just want to boost your eyesight, knowing how to properly put the contact lens in is essential for comfortable vision changes.
Beginning with freshly washed hands, stand over a clean surface. If you drop your contact, you want to ensure that it falls on a sterile surface! If you wear makeup, insert the contact lens before applying makeup to prevent dirtying or tearing the lenses. Ensure that your hands are dry so that the contact does not stick to your eye. Air-drying is recommended to avoid small fibers staying attached to your fingers. Only open one lens case at a time, and carefully place the lens on your index finger. You can use a scooping motion, though often the lens sticks to your finger immediately. If needed, rinse the lens with fresh contact solution. There is no harm in rinsing with fresh solution each time that you put the contacts in. If your case has gotten dirty in any way, rinse the lens to avoid infections. Never use saliva or tap water to cleanse your contacts as these can scratch or contaminate the lens.
Double-check to make sure the lens is the correct side up. A lens right side up will curve inward with rounded edges. If the lens has folded, gently push back into the proper form. It should look like an “U” or a bowl.
Use either the middle finger of the hand with the lens or your opposite hand to hold your top eyelid open. Check to ensure that the lens is balanced on your finger so that it remains steady as you raise it to your eye. Lower your head, look upwards, and swoop the contact lens into your eye from above. A slight variation of this is to dip one’s head back while using one hand to hold the eye open, and inserting the contact with the dominant hand. Another well known technique is to reach around your head with one harm to pull the eye up, while using the other hand to pull the bottom of your eye down. What works best for you is what the best option is.
Slowly and gently guide the contact to your eye. The lens should sit of the colored iris of your eye, but as long as it is on your eye, it can be adjusted once placed. If needed, you can use a finger to gently lower the bottom eyelid. With practice, many people can put their contacts in solely by pulling down on their bottom lid. Hold your eye open for a moment as to not squeeze the contact out. Slowly blink your eye to help the lens adjust to your eye. If there is any discomfort, remove the lens, look for any debris, cleanse, and try again! Repeat with the second contact lens! After the second lens is in, clean the case and refill with fresh solution to avoid potential infections.
If your contact lenses are soft, they will eventually center and adjust themselves. Most extended wear contacts are soft to allow more oxygen to reach your eye. Hard lenses will not automatically adjust, but can be adjusted and maneuvered while in your eye. Both lenses should only be worn for as long as prescribed, including not wearing them while sleeping unless recommended. Wearing the lenses for too long can prevent the proper flow of the oxygen to the eye and prevents the eye from producing tears as needed. If you find your eyes drying out more with contacts inserted, you can carry eye drops with you to lubricate the eye. This is also highly important when traveling via plane as the air inside planes is very drying.
If you aren’t accustomed to touching your eyes, you can carefully put a drop of warm water or contact solution on your finger, and slowly touch your eye with it. Be careful with the temperature! The water will numb your eye slightly so you cannot feel your finger touching your eyeball. This also gets your adjusted to touching your eye without blinking.
With the right technique and enough practice, putting in contact lenses can be second nature. It may take a few times at first, but eventually it will only take mere seconds. You’ll soon figure out what techniques are most comfortable for you, and which ways are the easiest to insert your lenses.
Joanna Gomez is a freelance writer who writes about health, eye care and specific products such as Acuvue Oasys.