How to Insert and Remove Soft Contact Lenses

Dr. Russel Lazarus, September 3, 2020

If you are a new contact wearer, you may be a bit nervous about inserting and removing your new lenses.

While inserting and removing your soft contact lenses may feel strange at first,  it generally only takes a few days to get used to the process— in no time you will reap the benefits of your patience and persistence.

This article will guide you through the process of inserting and removing your contact lenses, including tried and true methods to reduce the stress you may experience for the first few days.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of your eye care professional. 

How to insert your soft contact lenses

Always insert the same contact lens first to avoid confusion.  

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, and dry with a lint-free cloth. It is best to avoid using soap that contains heavy fragrances or oils, as they can adhere to the surface of your lens.
  2. Remove your contact lens from its storage case or sealed package using your fingertips (NOT your fingernails) and place it in the center of your hand. Some eye doctors recommend pouring the contact lens directly from the storage case onto the palm of your hand.
  3. Place the lens onto your index finger of your dominant hand and check that the lens is not inside out. To do this, look at the shape of the lens. If it appears with the sides turned out, similar to a teacup, it is inside out. The correct position of a lens resembles the shape of a bowl. Some contact lenses have numbers on them, making it easy for you to check if they appear correctly.
  4. With your other index or middle finger, gently hold your upper eyelid toward your eyebrow to ensure that your eyelashes don’t get in the way.
  5. Using your middle finger on your dominant hand, pull your lower eyelid down.
  6. Staring straight ahead, or looking up toward the ceiling, slowly bring the contact lens toward your eye and gently place the lens in the center of your eye.
  7. Look down and blink a few times to help the lens move to its proper position.
  8. Release your eyelids and check for comfort and clear vision.

Some people prefer to use a one-hand placement technique. This technique involves inserting your lens by simply pulling your lower eyelid down with your middle finger, looking up, and gently placing the lens on the lower white part of your eye. For this method, you will need to look down and then close your eye for a few moments until the lens finds its proper position in the center of your eye.

If you wish to wear contact lenses, contact an eye doctor near you, who can discuss the options and benefits of contact lenses.

SEE RELATED: Purchasing Contact Lenses Online?

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What to do if you insert your lens inside-out

If you accidentally insert an inside-out lens, your eyes will tell you almost immediately. You will probably experience at least one of the following:

  • Eye discomfort
  • Lens movement
  • Lens folding
  • Blurred vision

When this occurs, promptly remove the lens and place it in the palm of your hand. Re-wet the lens with fresh solution and repeat steps three through seven.

How to remove your soft contact lenses

Similar to lens insertion, always remove the same contact lens first to avoid confusion.  

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry on a lint free towel.
  2. Look up toward the ceiling and use your middle finger on your dominant hand to gently pull down your lower eyelid.
  3. Use your index finger of your dominant hand to touch the lower edge of your lens and slowly slide it down toward the bottom of your eye.
  4. Gently squeeze the lens between your thumb and index finger to successfully remove the lens from your eye.

LEARN MORE:  Optical and Contact Lenses

If you have any questions or are experiencing any difficulty inserting or removing your contact lenses, contact an eye doctor near you for help.

As with any new skill, practice makes perfect, most patients eventually become very proficient at inserting and removing their contact lenses.

Be patient with yourself and you will enjoy years of successful contact lens wear.