One of the biggest reservations many people have about making the switch from eyeglasses to contact lenses is nervousness about actually being able to get them on their eyes. This is a perfectly natural thing to worry about. If you have never had to deal with contacts or eye drops before the thought of putting something on top of your eyeball can be pretty intimidating.
But putting in your contacts is just like anything else that is new. It can be a little bit frightening at first, but once you get the hang of it, putting your contacts in will quickly become second nature to you. Here are a few step-by-step instructions to help you get started in taking advantage of all the conveniences of wearing contact lenses.
Take a deep breath. This is not going to be that tough. If you fail the first time, don’t let it get you down. Just start over and try again. You can do this.
Wash your hands with soap and water. This is important to make sure that you don’t get any grime or bacteria on your contact lenses. You go around touching stuff and picking up germs all day and the last thing you want is to transfer them to your eyes. This can lead to eye infections if you aren’t careful.
You also want to make sure that you thoroughly rinse all of the soap off of your hands. Soap residue on your contacts won’t cause an infection but it sure will sting.
Once you have washed and rinsed your hands, you might want to consider letting them air dry. This will take a little longer, but if you use a towel to dry them off, you run the risk of getting tiny little fibers on your hand that can also end up in your eye.
Taking Out the Lens
Open the lens case and scoop out the contact of the eye you are going to start with. Make sure you have the right contact for the right eye if your eyes are different prescriptions. Now just use your index finger to scoop the contact lens out.
Cleaning the Lens
Put the contact lens in the palm of your hand and rinse it off with solution. Since you washed, rinsed, and dried your hands so well, you shouldn’t be running any risk of contaminating the contact. Still, it may have picked something up and you want to make sure that it is nice, clean, and comfortable.
The contact lens might fold over while you are rinsing it off. Just push it back up to its normal shape. Make sure your contact isn’t inside out. The edges of it should curve inward and not outward.
If you accidentally put it in the wrong way you’ll know. You won’t be able to see anything. Don’t beat yourself up. Accidents happen. Everybody who wears contacts does it at some point. Just take it out and try again.
Preparing for Insertion
Almost go time. Put the lens on the index finger of one hand and use the middle finger of that same hand to pull down your bottom eyelid. Now use the middle finger of your opposite hand to pull up your top eyelid. Stare that contact lens down. You’re the boss here and that baby is going straight into your eye whether it likes it or not.
Applying the Lens
Remember, you’ve got this. Be brave. Don’t blink. Now calmly and carefully pop that contact right on your eye. Once it is on there, blink a few times to set the contact into place.
If you crack under the pressure and blink too soon and can’t get the contact in, don’t get down on yourself. Time to regroup. If you drop the contact, clean it again. Keep trying until you get it.
Once you have gotten the first contact lens in the next one should be a little bit easier. Just repeat the same steps on your other eye. If you had trouble with the first lens, you don’t necessarily want to put those memories completely out of your mind. Remember your mistakes and learn from them. Everybody learns at a different rate. You’ll get the swing of it.
Clean the Case
Give your contact lens case a good cleaning and refill it with fresh solution. When it is time to take out your contacts, be sure to follow the specific instructions for your lenses on cleaning and care. If you have daily disposables, you can just toss them out at the end of the day. Otherwise, it is very important that you follow the instructions your eye doctor gives for your contacts. This will help to keep your contacts clean and comfortable and your eyeballs happy.
Learning something new can be as frustrating as it is rewarding. Change doesn’t always come easy, but anything worth doing is going to take some work. With practice and patience, you’ll be putting in your contacts like a pro in no time.
Paula Masi is a freelance writer who writes about health, eye care and specific products such as Acuvue Oasys.