How To Apply Contact Lenses

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How to Put in Contact Lenses

Two Methods:

Putting in contact lenses for the first time can be a little scary if you don't know what you're doing. Don't worry though — once you get the hang of it, putting in your contacts will be simple and painless.


Putting in Contact Lenses

  1. Care for your contact lenses properly, whenever they’re not in use.This basically means two things:
    • Always store your contacts in contact lens solution, unless you're wearing daily disposable lenses. Contact lens solution helps to clean, rinse, and disinfect your lenses.
    • Dispose of your contact lenses by the recommended date. Most lenses fall into one of three categories: dispose daily, dispose semi-weekly, or dispose monthly. Check your contact lenses for the recommended disposal date and don't wear them longer than that.
  2. Wash your hands with soap.Rinse thoroughly to get rid of soap residue. Dry your hands with a towel (since paper towels or toilet paper may leave pieces behind) or, if possible, an air dryer.
  3. Remove one contact from its case.Unless the prescription is the same for both, remember to check whether it’s for your right or left eye. Always start with the same eye to avoid mixing up your two contacts. Remember to always handle your contacts gently so you don't rip or damage them.
  4. Place the contact on the index finger you’re most comfortable with using.Make sure that the contact is sitting hollow-side up on your fingertip with none of the side walls sticking to your finger. Hold your finger at eye-level. If the contact looks like a bowl or a sphere cut in half, it is correct. If the edges are flaring out, then it is inside out.
    • Make sure to handle the lens on the skin of your finger, not the nail of your fingertip. It might be easier if you put a little bit of solution on your finger where you intend to hold the contact lens.
    • If it’s a soft contact lens, make sure that it isn’t inside-out. It sounds obvious, but sometimes it's difficult to tell.
    • While it’s still on your finger, inspect the lens for rips, tears, or debris. If dust or debris is visible, rinse with lens solution.
  5. Pull your skin gently away from your eye.Use the index finger of your opposite hand to pull your upper eyelid upward; use the middle finger of your dominant hand (i.e. the one with the contact on it) to pull your lower eyelid downward. As you become more experienced, you’ll be able to do this just by pulling down your lower eyelid.
  6. Move the contact towards your eye calmly and steadily.Try not to blink or move jerkily. It may help to look upwards. It's also advised to not focus the eye that you're putting the contact into; this will make it easier to place the lens.
  7. Place the contact on your eye gently.Make sure it is centered over your iris (i.e. the circular, colored part of the eye), gently sliding it over your eyeball if necessary.
    • If this method is difficult you can also close your eye and look around (up, down, left, and right) to center the lens.
  8. Let go of the skin around your eye and blink slowly so as to not dislodge the contact.Take note of any pain or discomfort you may have. If you think that something may be wrong with your contact, remove and fully cleanse it, then try again.
  9. Repeat the process with the other contact.When finished, pour contact solution from the case into the sink and close the contact case.

Removing Contact Lenses

  1. Lubricate your eyes beforehand with eye drops.This isn't absolutely necessary each time, but it sure will help you remove your lenses if they're not lubricated and won't budge. Squeeze a couple drops of lubricating and rewetting solution into your eyes beforehand.
  2. Pull your eyelid down with your finger.Look up and place your middle finger from your dominant hand underneath your eye. Then, use this finger to pull the eyelid down.
  3. Make contact with the lens using your index finger of the same hand.Slide the lens down to the bottom (white part) of your eye.
  4. Use your index finger and thumb to squeeze gently and remove.Place the contact lens in contact lens solution or discard if already past the durability date.
  5. Repeat with the other eye, using the same hand for contact lens removal.
  6. Consider the removal complete.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How can you tell if the contact is inside out?

    Doctor of Optometry
    Dr. Wallace is an Optometrist in Utah. He received his O.D. from the Southern California College of Optometry in 2012.
    Doctor of Optometry
    Expert Answer
    Hold the contact on the tip of your finger. Next, examine the side of the lens and notice how the side of the lens curves. If the lens curves up like a bowl then it is correct. If the lens flares out at the top then it is inside out.
  • Question
    How would I squeeze the lense while taking it out without pinching my eye?

    Doctor of Optometry
    Dr. Wallace is an Optometrist in Utah. He received his O.D. from the Southern California College of Optometry in 2012.
    Doctor of Optometry
    Expert Answer
    Use the pads of your fingers to pinch the lens. If necessary trim your fingernails if you are having trouble pinching the lens without your nails touching your eye.
  • Question
    How do I squeeze the lens?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Use your index finger of your dominant hand and slide it to the white of your eye and then with index finger still holding onto the lens, get your thumb and pinch it out of your eye. Don't worry -- it won't hurt!
  • Question
    Is it harmful to the eyes?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Contacts are not harmful to the eyes as long as you keep them clean and take care of them properly.
  • Question
    What should I do if my eyes tear up a lot when I am first putting contacts in?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Don't worry, this is completely normal. Gently dab your eye with a tissue. Don't rub your eye, or you will risk irritating it further.
  • Question
    My contact keeps sticking to my finger when I am trying to put it in. What am I doing wrong?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Before picking up the contact, put some contact lens solution on your finger.
  • Question
    What should I do if my eye turns red when putting in contacts?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If it is only a little red, there is no need to be worried, but be on the lookout for future signs of irritation. If the redness doesn't go away in 15 minutes, remove the lens. If it is very red and feels uncomfortable, remove the lens immediately and search for any dust or dirt in the lens.
  • Question
    Why do I feel uncomfortable about putting in contacts?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Maybe because you are scared it will hurt your eyes. It is not painful at all, and if it ever gets stuck, it will not hurt you.
  • Question
    What if I scratch my eyeball with my fingernail while taking the contact out?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Check for any marks on your eye, and see if it is red. If it is bleeding, go to the hospital.
  • Question
    What happens if you get the contact in the back of your eye and the hospital is very far from your house?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Don't worry, this happens, especially to beginners! It's not a medical emergency. Your contact is under your eyelid, just far back where you can't reach with your hand. It will naturally come out the same way anything else that gets stuck in your eye (eyelashes, etc.) comes out - it will gradually move down toward the inner corner of your eye until you're able to feel and see it and pull it out easily. You can blink a lot or put some contact-safe eye drops in your eye to help speed up the process, but it should resolve itself within an hour or two in any case.
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Short Video: How to Put in Contact Lenses

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To put in your contact lenses, hold one contact hollow-side up on the end of your index finger. Use your free hand to gently pull your upper and lower eyelids so they’re wide open, then carefully place the lens over your iris. If you drop the contact, rinse it with contact lens solution before attempting to put it into your eye. Then, once it's in, simply let go of your eyelids and blink a few times! If you put the contact in correctly, it should feel comfortable, but sometimes it takes a little practice to get the hang of it.

  • When you first put contacts in they will feel weird. That's perfectly normal.
  • If the contact falls out of your eye, rinse it off completely with contact solution. (No exceptions!) Bending over a sink while inserting contacts is a good idea because it makes them easier to find if they fall out; just make sure to plug the drain first. A good, clean mirror is also useful – especially if it has magnification.
  • You may get frustrated if you don't get the contact in right away. Just wait a couple minutes and give it another try! It is easier to get the second contact in.
  • Exposing your eyes to smoke or shower, lake, or pool water may irritate them. For short periods of time, you can simply close your eyes; for longer periods, wear your glasses or goggles.
  • Wait until your eyes get accustomed to the light in the morning before putting the contacts in. You also may want to wash off any dried mucus near your eyes.
  • It'll be easier to put in your contacts if you attempt to do it with your optometrist or ophthalmologist first. Usually this is a requirement, but if not, suggest it.
  • If you think that the contact does not fit your eye, talk to your doctor; he or she can probably order you another brand or type of contact. Remember that you will need to regularly get your eyes checked so your prescription can be updated.
  • You may find it easier to see where you're putting your finger if you look at the reflection of the contact on your finger on your eye.
  • If your finger is dry when you put the contact on it, the contact will stick better, making it easier to put it in.
  • Some contact lenses have the numbers 123 on them, if they are backwards or upside down, then invert them and try again. If they are easily clear and you can clearly tell it's 123, then they are inverted correctly.
  • If you find it difficult to insert a lens without blinking, you can practice by putting a drop of solution on your finger, aiming for the white of your eye, and gently touching it.
  • When you are putting in a contact look in a mirror so you can see yourself putting it in. Also make sure you look up, down, and side to side, before closing your eye.
  • Remember that your eye doctor is there to help you. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance.


  • Never rinse your contacts in regular tap water! This will just make them dirty (or drier than before). Tap water and even purified water can contain chemicals or bacteria.
  • Try to keep your hands away from your eyes while wearing them. If the lenses hurt or itch, remove and re-insert them.
  • If you begin to experience any pain or discomfort, even after you have removed the contact, talk to your eye doctor.
  • Never put hand sanitizer on before putting in or taking out your contacts. In this instance, hand sanitizer can't substitute actual hand washing.
  • Do not put your contacts in inside out or if they have small tears or rips.
  • Be sure to put in your contact lenses before applying makeup to avoid contaminating your contact lenses. At the end of the day, remove your contact lenses before removing any eye makeup. (The rubbing motion used to remove makeup may rip or tear the contact.)
  • If you insert the contact lenses and they don't feel right, remove them immediately and rinse with contact lens solution. If they still don't feel right, leave them out and consider seeing your eye doctor.
  • Contacts require more upkeep than glasses; you have to clean them and put them away every night; however, glasses can get in the way during physical activity or daily activities. Thoroughly review your options before switching to contacts.
  • If your eyes are gritty or sore or red, do not put your contacts in.
  • Always remove your contacts prior to sleeping unless you are prescribed extended wear contacts by your doctor. Sleeping with your contacts in may save time but it can cause a corneal ulcer on your eye (in which case you must stop wearing the contacts and see your doctor immediately). With sensitive eyes, the effects will be swift, causing pain and aversion to light the next day, but even less sensitive eyes will experience problems before long.
  • Make sure you replace your makeup frequently, before it gets bacteria in it, as it is extra dangerous for those with contact lenses.

Things You'll Need

  • Mirror
  • Contacts
  • Contact solution
  • Contact case
  • Eye drops for itchy eyes

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

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Date: 02.12.2018, 23:25 / Views: 83445