How to insert and remove contact lenses
Putting in contact lenses for the first time can be intimidating. With practice and a little bit of patience, it's easy to do!
Before getting started, remember that it's natural to blink when something gets close to the eye. So don’t worry if your first few attempts don’t end in success - that’s normal. Take a break and try again later. If the thought of touching your eyes makes you squirm, it's also helpful to note that your fingers won't be coming in direct contact with your eyes. Only the contact lens will touch the surface.
If you’re new to contacts and wondering what the best way to put in and remove contact lenses is, check out the videos, step-by-step guides and helpful tricks below!
How to put in contact lenses
Follow these basic steps and you'll be pleased to discover that contact lenses are easy to use and comfortable to wear.
- Step 1 - Wash your hands: it’s important to wash your hands to make sure irritating dirt, dust and bacteria aren’t transferred from your hands to your eyes. Dry your hands well! Contact lenses tend to stick to wet surfaces better than dry - contacts will stick to wet fingers making it more difficult to insert them.
- Step 2 - Start with the same eye: contact lenses have different fits and often different correction powers for the right and left eyes. Contacts look identical out of the packaging, so it’s best to get in the habit of starting with the same eye each time.
- Step 3 - Carefully handle the lens: place the contact lens on the tip of your index finger. If the lens is in the correct position, it should be curved upward and resemble a bowl. Don’t worry - no harm will come to your eye if the lens is inserted inside out. The contact won’t sit properly and your vision might be blurry. Simply remove and try again!
- Step 4 - Gently place the lens onto your eye: whilst holding the lens, slowly pull the upper eyelid upward and the lower eyelid down. When looking straight ahead, toward the ceiling or to the side, slowly place the contact lens onto your eye.
- Step 5 - Blink: as you blink, the contact will move into its correct position over the eye. Your vision might be a little blurry as the contact moves into place. After a few minutes, everything should be clear. Remember that it’s important to contact your eyecare professional if blurred vision persists.
Have a look at the video below that demonstrates how to put in contact lenses using the method outlined above.
If you've never worn contacts before, keep in mind that you might be able to feel the edges of the lenses when wearing them for the first few days. This shouldn’t be painful – your eyes will get used to the feeling quickly and you won’t notice them. Contact lenses are very comfortable when they are fitted properly.
How to remove contact lenses
You might find that removing your contacts can be just as tricky as putting them in. It's all about taking it slowly and being confident. Here's how to remove your contacts in four easy steps.
Step 1 - Wash your hands: thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lens case or removing your lenses. Although contacts are usually drawn to wet surfaces, thoroughly drying your hands when removing them allows for a better grip.
Step 2 - Gather your supplies: open your contact lens case and fill both sides with fresh contact lens solution. Never use water as this can carry bacteria. Make sure the case is clean and dry before filling it up. It's always good to refer to your contact lens manufacturer for the best way to clean and disinfect your specific lenses.
Step 3 - Hold eyelid open and squeeze contact lens: look straight ahead and slowly pull the upper eyelid up and the lower eyelid down. Gently squeeze the outer edges of the contact toward the centre. An air bubble will form, making it easy to grab the contact and remove it.
Step 4 - place in solution and repeat: place your contact lens in the lens case with the fresh solution. If you’re wearing daily disposable lenses, simply throw them away! Repeat with your other eye.
See the video below that shows the basic method of how to remove your contact lenses.
Beginner tips for wearing contacts for the first time
So now you know the basics of putting in and taking out your contact lenses. If you want to know a little more, read on. Here are a few tips and tricks for beginners wearing contact lenses for the first time. The best way to insert and remove contacts will ultimately be based on your preference. As long as you’re practising the best eyecare hygiene, find what works for you!
Do contacts hurt the first time you put them in?
Nope! It shouldn’t hurt to put in or wear contacts. There might be discomfort or pain if dirt or eyelashes are present on the lens. If this happens, remove the contact, rinse with solution and try again.
Will the contact lens slide to the back of my eye?
In one word: no! In more words: the conjunctival membrane makes it impossible for the lens to get lost in the back of your eye. If you can’t see the contact on your eye, check your surroundings. Rarely will the lens get stuck to the inside of your upper eyelid. If this happens, stay calm and blink to dislodge it - it doesn’t pose any harm to your eye. Contact your eyecare professional if your problem persists.
How to remove contact lenses without pinching
After washing and drying your hands, hold your eye open and look toward the ceiling. Whilst applying gentle pressure to the lens, use the tip of your index finger to swipe the contact into the inner corner of your eye (instead of squeezing and pulling it). The contact will eventually slide off the eye so you can remove it.
This is a great trick for removing contact lenses with long nails! If you’re a beginner, this method might be difficult as the contact tends to slip back toward the centre of the eye before you can remove it, and it requires more time touching the lens whilst it’s on the eye. Try out different methods and find your favourite.
How do I know if my contact is inside out?
With soft contact lenses, it's often hard to tell if a lens is inside out - this is an annoyance both beginners and long-time contact wearers may run into from time to time.
Generally, a good way to tell if a contact lens is sitting properly is to make sure it resembles a bowl when it sits on your fingertip. The edges should mimic the spherical shape of the eye. If the edges are pointing outward, the contact is inside out. Some manufacturers also laser-print numbers onto the lens. They'll appear in numerical order when the lens is the right way out.
If your lens is the correct orientation and there are no signs of damage, you're ready to put them in. See the image below to determine if your contact is inside out:
Image source: Johnson & Johnson
And that's all about how to wear contact lenses! Remember that it takes time to get it right, but it's quick and easy to do once you master the steps.