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Contact Lens Education


How to put on contacts in five easy steps

How to put in contacts is a question every first-time wearer—or potential wearer—asks.

If you’ve never done this before, the application process might sound a little strange at first. After all, our reflexes try to help us keep objects away from our eyes, right?

Relax. Putting in contact lenses is an incredibly easy process and we’re here to help walk you through every step. It will take some practice, but you’ll soon be able to do it with ease.

First off, try not to think of it as putting contacts in your eyes—you’re not. You’re placing contacts on your eyes, where they rest comfortably and help you see clearly. Now let’s get to the actual process. This is probably the easiest way to put in contacts.

1. Wash your hands.

You want to ensure you don’t accidentally carry any dust, germs, or makeup to your contact lens as that could irritate your eyes. Also, use plain soap without any heavy moisturizers or perfumes. Rinse well and dry your hands. Again, this is to prevent transmitting anything unwanted to your eyes. Now let’s insert the contact lenses.

2. Start with the same eye every time.

Your contact lenses specifically fit each eye, left or right. Like your shoes, you can’t mix the two interchangeably. Since your contacts will look identical out of the box, starting with your right eye if you’re right handed, or your left eye if you’re left handed, and doing this every time you insert your contacts will help you keep which is which straight in your mind. This is the easy way to put contacts in for the first time, which is what we want.

3. Scoop out the lens carefully.

Place the lens on your index finger. Look at it. Is it curved upward, like a bowl? If so, great! You’re almost there. Just clean it with contact lens solution and you’re ready to put in the contacts and get on with your day.

4. Hold your eyelid and insert your contact lens.

Just use your free hand to hold up your eyelid and insert the lens. Many choose to look away as the contact lens goes onto the eye. You can do this, or you’re free to look straight at the lens, too. Either way is fine.

5. Blink and smile—that’s it!

That’s right. Blink naturally and maybe take a look in the mirror. If everything feels and looks fine, you’re done.

Before you remove contact lenses

Removing contact lenses can be a daunting prospect for first-time wearers.

Even long-time wearers can find adapting to something new a bit pesky. What can you do?

Relax! Everything gets easier once you’ve had some practice at it—and that includes removing contacts. Don’t fret if you’re having a little trouble at first. That’s entirely normal.

To help out, here are some tips for removing your contact lenses that will make the process (and your routines for sleep) go a little smoother.

One of the most important things you can remember about removing your contacts is to always wash your hands with soap and water first. Wipe your hands dry to minimize the amount of water that gets on your lenses.

Another important tip for removing (and inserting) contact lenses is to start with the same eye every time. This reduces the chances of an accidental switcheroo. (Remember, your contact lenses, like your shoes, have a right and a left side.)

How to remove contact lenses

Ready to remove your contacts? Let’s go!

1. Stand in front of a well-lit mirror, especially in the beginning.

2. Look upwards.

3. Take your non-dominant hand and use your index finger to raise your upper eyelid away from your eye.

4. With your dominant hand, use your middle finger pull down your lower eyelid.

5. With the pads of your index finger and thumb, gently squeeze the lens to pull it down and away from your eye. Don’t fold or pinch with more force than necessary.

6. Place the lens into the palm of your other hand.

You’re done! It really is easy to do.

Having trouble removing contact lenses?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Rewetting drops or lubricants can make it easier to lift the lens from your eye. Dry eyes let the lens stick a little more closely.
  • There can be an adjustment period when you’re starting or switching contact lenses. Give yourself enough time to remove your lenses calmly without rushing.
  • Slide the lens to the white of your eye, especially if you’re worried about discomfort. Pulling the lens toward your lower lid can also help lift it off the surface of your eye.
  • If edges of your lens stick together, add a drop of fresh cleaning solution and gently rub until they separate.

If you continue having trouble removing your contacts, talk to your eye doctor. He or she may recommend contact lens removal tools that can help make the process easier. These are usually small suction tools or soft-tipped tweezers that help lift the lens.

Remember, all contact lenses are ultimately delicate, and they’re also medical devices. Following the care instructions provided by your eye doctor and your contact lens and cleaning solution manufacturers is critical to protecting the health of your eyes and vision. Never start or switch contact lenses without consulting your eye doctor.

Cleaning contact lenses

Improper handling and cleaning of contacts is a major cause of eye infections and other problems. If you don’t wear daily disposable contact lenses, one of the best things you can do to protect your eyes and vision is to make cleaning a part of your daily removal routine.

Cleaning contact lenses quick and simple. All you need to do is:

  • Once your lens is in your palm, squeeze fresh cleaner onto its surface.
  • Rub the lens with the pads of your fingers for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat for the other side of the lens.
  • Put the lens into your case, cover it with fresh solution, and then cap.


Common myths about how to put in contacts

Let’s take a moment to shatter some common contact lens myths about putting on contacts and wearing them:

What if my contact lens slides to the back of my eye?

Simply put, it won’t. It’s impossible. The conjunctiva membrane, which covers the white part of your eyes, prevents this.

What if my contacts will stick to my eyes and won’t come out?

Don’t worry. Your contacts won’t stick like miniature suction cups. They’re designed to stay in and also slip out easily when you need to remove them. Likewise…

Won’t my contacts constantly be popping out of my eyes?

Uh-uh. This is a myth, perhaps propelled by older movies or TV shows where a character might lose a hard contact lens. In reality, it’s highly unlikely to ever happen with today’s soft contact lenses.

We hope these tips for putting in contacts help you with your lenses and dispel some myths about them. As with almost any new activity, the more you do it, the easier putting in contact lenses becomes. Soon, you’ll be able to do it without a second thought.

If you need hands-on help, feel free to ask your eye doctor. He or she will be happy to help walk you through the process in person.

Remove your contacts if you experience pain or discomfort

If your contact lenses start to hurt or feel dry and uncomfortable, or if people keep commenting on the redness of your eyes, remove your lenses! Pain and discomfort are often your eyes’ way of telling you something’s causing problems. If this happens repeatedly, talk to your eye doctor to see if your contact lenses are right for you.

Keep your glasses with you

Keeping your glasses around, especially during vacations, lets you rest your eyes when they need it. Any time wearing contacts hurts or feels uncomfortable, you should remove them, and having your glasses nearby will make this easier.

Always wear sunglasses, even with UV-protective contacts

Even UV-protective contact lenses don’t block all of the UV rays that harm your eyes. Wearing UV-protective sunglasses will help reduce the strain and harm to your eyes and vision. Talk to your eye doctor about the kinds of outdoor activities you do so he or she can help assess your exposure risk and recommend the right protection for you.

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.