Even if you’ve never realized before that you are uncomfortable with touching your own eyes, getting contacts for the first time will make just about anyone nervous right off the bat. Some people may go years without getting contacts just so they can avoid this.
Before any eye doctor will let you take your contacts home for the first time they will usually make sure you can put them in and take them out on your own. Sometimes, however, even if you nailed it first try when you had a professional coaching you, you might run into a world of trouble when you are alone at home in front of your mirror and panicking because you can’t get your contacts in and there is some place you need to be.
Luckily, learning to put in and take out your contacts is like learning how to do anything else. It just takes time, practice, and a complete willingness to fail over and over again before you finally start to get it right.
The great American inventor Thomas Edison is quoted as saying while trying to invent the light bulb, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
Keep Edison in mind if you fail again and again while trying to learn to put your contacts in. In each of these failures you are learning one way NOT to put in or take out your contacts. These are just as important as learning the way to actually do it. Here are a few tips to help you finally get it right.
For starters you need to familiarize yourself with the proper care and storage of your contacts. Those things can become breeding grounds for bacteria that can lead to major eye irritation or even permanent damage if you aren’t careful.
Now if you are using a daily disposable like Acuvue 1 Day then this really isn’t something you have to worry about since you are starting with a brand new contact lens every day. You just need to make sure that you stick to that regiment and don’t try to “stretch” a lens by wearing it for longer than it is supposed to be worn.
If you are wearing something built to last longer like Encore Premium’s monthly disposable contact lenses then you will need to familiarize with and follow that particular brands cleaning schedule.
No matter what contacts you go with, maintaining a proper cleaning and storage schedule will make them feel the most comfortable on your eyes.
Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, with soap, for at least 15 seconds. This should kill any bacteria that might be on your hands. Now be sure all the soap has been rinsed off. Don’t use a tissue or toilet paper to dry your hands because they might leave tiny pieces behind on your contact. Always use a clean towel.
Take the contact lens out of the case, making sure you know which one is the right and which is the left. On the off chance that your eyes have the same prescription, this doesn’t matter of course.
Put the contact lens on the index finger of your dominant hand. This is the finger you will be inserting the contact with. Relax. Take a deep breath. Visualize how easy this will all be in the coming weeks and months.
Now make sure the contact isn’t inside out, that the edges are facing up and not sticking to your finger. Check the lens for any tears, rips, or particles. If there is any visible dust or lint you should rinse the contact off with solution before putting it in.
Now take your index finger on your other hand and pull your upper eyelid up. Use the middle finger of the hand that is holding the lens and pull your lower eyelid down. After you have practiced this you will probably be able to do it with only pulling down your bottom eyelid. For now stick to pulling both apart though.
Be calm. Try not to think about it too much. Start bringing the contact towards your eye. Don’t blink. You want to put the contact in gently but the quicker you do it the quicker it will be over. Once you have it on your eye you want to move it around so that it is centered over the colored part of you eye (the iris).
You will be amazed at how quickly you get accustomed to pressing your contact against your eye like this. Now when you let go make sure you let go from the bottom. If you let go from the top sometimes air bubbles will get under there.
Now blink very slowly so you don’t knock out the contact. If there is any weird pain then there might be something wrong with the contact and you should just take it out and start again.
If everything feels comfortable just blink a few more times and repeat with the other contact.
Pour out the used contact solution and close your case.
That’s it! Pretty soon you will have everything down so quick that all these steps will just blend together. Don’t give up and remember that anything worthwhile will often be difficult at first!
Jon Davidson is a freelance writer who writes about health, eye care and specific products such as Acuvue Oasys.