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Trouble Putting in Contacts: Common Causes and Solutions

Woman having trouble putting in contacts

Millions of people in the U.S. wear contact lenses. And a surprising number of them have trouble putting them in. Whatever the reason for their issues though, there’s usually a solution. There’s no reason you should have trouble putting in contacts.

It’s time to learn how to put them in correctly and overcome some of the difficulties that may arise.

Overcoming Your Fear

Man in glasses showing fear covering mouth with hands

Some people, especially new contact wearers, can be nervous about touching their own eyes. It’s quite common to be anxious, so you’re not alone if you feel this way. This fear can be overcome if you follow some basic steps on how to wear contacts.

First, take your time. Never try to insert your contact lenses if you’re in a hurry. It can lead to you getting more flustered. Make sure you have plenty of time, are comfortable and aren’t preoccupied with other thoughts.

Second, use a mirror. Until putting in your contacts becomes second nature, you’ll probably need the help of the mirror. Some of the nervousness comes from the fear of doing it wrong. If you use a mirror, you can see exactly what you’re doing. You’ll be much less likely to drop the lens or incorrectly position it, resulting in injury.

Practice will get you through that fear and anxiety.


Some of the trouble people have with putting in contacts comes from lack of proper technique. But don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds! Your eye care professional is a great resource to make sure you’re doing everything right.

By working on your technique constantly, it’ll quickly become second nature. In no time, you won't even think about it.

So what is the best technique for putting in contacts? Obviously, everyone is different, and you’ll find a way that’s most comfortable for you. But these tips can help get you started:

If your contact falls out when you blink or gets stuck to your finger, don't panic! It’s not the end of the world. These things happen occasionally to many contact lens wearers. Just repeat the technique until it feels comfortable.

Being Aware of Your Contact Lenses

New contact wearers may be a bit conscious of their lenses, but that’s only natural. After a while, you really shouldn’t feel your contacts. If you do, it can be a sign that something’s wrong.

One of the main causes of contact awareness is that it’s just poorly fitted. Eyes come in different shapes and sizes, and so do contact lenses. When you have your eye exam, you’ll be given advice about the right sort of lenses for your eye type and how to wear them.

If you can feel your lenses when you’re wearing them, it’s also possible there’s a buildup of residue on them. This could happen if your contacts aren’t properly cleaned or need replacing.

Burning or Stinging When Putting in Contacts

Woman rubbing sore eyes

You should not experience any burning, stinging or soreness when you put your contacts in. If you do, then there’s clearly something wrong. The most likely cause of this sort of discomfort is a contaminated contact lens.

Contact lenses absorb fluid, which is how they stay flexible and soft. However, it also means they can absorb things like hand cream, cosmetics and dirt, then transfer them onto your eye.

Your eyes are very sensitive and this can cause quite unpleasant burning sensations. It can make it very difficult to put your contact lenses in. Besides, you wouldn’t want to put your eyes through that anyway.

This is why it is very important your hands and face are clean and dry when you put your contact lenses in. Using perfume-free soaps and cosmetics can also help you avoid this problem.

Small pieces of dust or dirt can easily stick to your contact lens and cause similar irritation. Making sure your contact lenses are always clean, or using daily disposable contacts, will solve this issue.

Dry Eyes

Male office worker using eye drops for dry eyes

Having dry eyes can cause trouble when putting in contacts. It can result in the lenses not sticking to the eye, as well as soreness and irritation. Some people have drier eyes than others naturally, but there are other causes of dry eyes.

Temperature and lack of humidity can dry up eyes, as can air conditioning. Certain medications, as well as caffeine, alcohol and cigarette smoke, can also have the side effect of dry eyes. Then, of course, there are allergies, too.

However, there are remedies that can provide relief and assist with putting in contacts. A cold compress over your eyes can sometimes be enough to alleviate dry eyes. If warmth is more comfortable, you can try that as well. It will stimulate your tear duct oils to start flowing. If that doesn't do the trick, then there are special drops for dry eyes.

Overcome the Trouble of Putting in Contacts

We’ve reviewed some of the common problems people have with putting in lenses and showed you how to do so without discomfort.

Wearing them shouldn't be an effort, so if you ever have trouble putting in contacts, remember what we’ve outlined here. If you’re not getting past your troubles, speak to your eye doctor. Even talking to a contact wearing friend might help!

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