How to Put Contacts in Like an Expert
More than 30 million Americans wear contact lenses, but according to the CDC, between 40 and 90 percent do not follow care instructions. Learning how to put contacts in and how to remove them is often a process of trial and error. Newbies risk damaging their eyesight, but even experienced wearers have bad habits that can lead to infections. There is a better way! Follow these six best tips on how to put your contacts in like an expert.
1. Choose the Right Contact Lenses
Before you even think about putting new contact lenses into your eye, you need to be sure that they’re the right lenses for you. In 2003, Congress passed the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act. This act made it law for contact sellers to verify prescriptions before selling lenses. Now, contact lens wearers can be sure they’re receiving the right lenses, even if they shop around for the best deal. All reputable contact lens retailers need a valid prescription from an ophthalmologist before they can sell contact lenses. The prescription includes PWR (power) and BC (base curve) figures, as well as the CY (cylinder) and AX (axle) figures if you have astigmatism.
2. Develop a Contact Lens Ritual
Having to put your contact lenses in each morning is just one task on a very long list. We understand! But consider how difficult those other tasks will be if you develop an eye infection that affects your sight. Far better to spend a few moments each morning taking simple, but necessary steps.
The first step is to make sure the surfaces around you are clean and clear. That way, if you drop a lens, it’ll be much easier to pick it up again. Next, make sure you can see into a mirror. Then put your contact lens storage case somewhere you can reach it. Wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial, non-perfumed soap and dry them on a lint-free towel. And if you wear monthly lenses, remember to give them a rinse with contact lens solution. Easy!
3. Are Your Contact Lenses Inside Out?
There’s one more crucial step to learning how to put contacts in. Most contact lenses are soft and flexible. Sometimes it can be tricky to tell if a lens is inside out or not. The best way to tell is to place the lens on your finger tip and take a good look at eye level. The lens should resemble a rounded bowl with straight edges. If it’s the wrong way, the edges will flare out and look more oval shaped. If your lens is inside out, don’t worry! Your hands are clean, so simply flip it the right way.
4. How to Put Contacts in Like an Expert
Okay, now we’re ready. Use your dominant hand and place your lens on your first or second finger, whichever feels best for you. Using a finger from the same hand, pull down your lower eyelid. At the same time, use your other hand to lift your upper eyelid. Most people find it comfortable to rest the base of their hand on their forehead as they do this. Now that you’re holding both of your eyelids open, slowly bring the lens toward your eye. Place the contact lens on the centre of your eye. Some people find it easier to look up as they do this. Blink or close your eye for a second or two once the lens is in your eye to allow it to settle in place. Well done!
5. What if the Contact Lenses Don’t Feel Right?
There are many reasons your new contact lenses might not feel quite right. Putting on a properly-fitted lens should feel a little like placing a drop of water on your eye that disperses after you blink. There should be no discomfort. If there is, it’s possible one of these issues is the cause.
- First-time irritation. It can take new contact lens wearers many attempts to put contacts on comfortably over the first few weeks of use. All this fumbling and prodding can cause mild eye irritation that could remains once the lens is in place. You’ll master it eventually!
- Your lenses don’t fit. If you’re trying new lenses without getting an up-to-date prescription, your lenses might not fit your eyes. Using badly-fitting lenses can damage your vision. If in doubt, toss them out and visit your eye doctor for a new lens fitting.
- Dry Eyes. People with dry eyes often find contact lenses uncomfortable. As long as there is no undiagnosed cause for the dryness, doctors recommend using lubricating eye drops. You can also try switching to daily contact lenses or lenses with a lower water-content. If you want to continue using reusable lenses then experiment with different cleaning solutions.
6. How to Remove Contacts
You’ve gotten through a whole day with your brand new contact lenses – well done! Now it’s time to remove them. Follow the same ritual you put in place in the morning. Use an area with clean surfaces. Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them with a lint-free towel. While looking in a mirror, use your middle finger of your dominant hand to pull down your lower eyelid. Using your other hand, pull the upper lid up. Carefully slide the contact lens down using your index finger.
With a sweeping motion, pinch the lens between the pad of your index finger and your thumb. Pluck the lens out of your eye and you’re all done. Success!
Now that you’ve mastered the art of how to put contacts in, and how to remove contacts, you might want to learn more about what your contact lens data means. I hope that this article helps making removing or inserting your contacts a breeze!