How to Insert Contact Lenses Easily
If you struggle to insert your lenses, you're not clumsy—it's just that many optometrists teach unnecessarily difficult methods of insertion and removal.
It's easy for them—they can see what they're doing the whole time while they're putting the lens in your eye. But when you go home and try to do it their way, you have to do it by feel, which is difficult. The alternative, which I'm about to describe, is to find a way to see what you're doing and insert the lens at the same time. And the secret is very simple . . .
Do you struggle to insert and remove your contact lenses? Do you find it impossible to put your lenses in, and see in the mirror at the same time? You're not alone. There's an effective method opticians don't teach you, and it's easy!
Soft lenses slide, so there's absolutely no need to put them directly on the colored part of your eye.
The easy way to insert contact lenses
Let's put the right lens in first. These instructions assume you're right-handed. If you're left-handed, read left hand for right hand and vice versa.
- Stand in front of the mirror with your lens ready to insert on your right index finger.
- Turn your head slightly to the right, while still looking in the mirror.
- Look at the eye farthest from the mirror - the colored part of the eye is right in the inner corner, and you can see a big expanse of white. That's your target!
With your left hand. make your eye wider. You can do this a number of ways, I'd suggest either
- put your left arm over your head and pull on your top lid, or
- bring it up under your chin and lower your bottom lid
Whatever works for you, but these two methods keep your left arm and hand out of the way, so you can still see the mirror.
- Still looking in the mirror sideways, put the lens on the white part of your eye with your right hand. If it doesn't "stick" straightaway, you can rub it in tiny circles a couple of times.
- Gently, push it in the direction of the coloured part of the eye as you straighten your head to look directly at the mirror. Don't worry about getting it exactly in place, it will naturally settle all by itself.
- Blink a few times.
Your lens should now be sitting nicely in the right place!
The video below illustrates a similar method, also based on putting the lens on the side of the eye.
Tip: If you turn your head and look into the corner of your eye as I suggest above, you won't have to stretch your eye open like this guy does—far too uncomfortable!
So Why Don't Optometrists Do It Like That?
There are two methods commonly used by opticians.
One, where they separate your lids with one hand and plop the lens straight on to the centre of your eye, is a hangover from the days when lenses were made of hard plastic. Hard lenses had to be placed exactly in the center, because they stayed exactly where you put them.
It's almost impossible to do on your own. For one thing, when you see your finger headed for the most sensitive part of your eye, all your instincts tell you to flinch away. If you can overcome that, then you lose sight of the mirror as your finger gets close to your eye - so you have to get into contortions to see past it, while at the same time holding your eye open with your other hand.
It is getting more common for optometrists do use the "slide" method nowadays - but it's their starting point that's the problem.
A common method is to ask you to look up, then they place the lens on the white beneath your pupil and ask you to blink - and hey presto, your lens slides neatly into place! Try that yourself, and you'll have no idea where your finger is. You're just as likely to put the lens on your lower lid instead of in your eye, or knock it off your finger with your eyelashes.
Another method is to ask you to look down, then they lift your top lid and put the lens on the expanse of white thus revealed. Then they let go your lid and ask you to look up and blink - once again, the lens should slip into place.
You may be able to master this version if you put a mirror sitting flat on the bench - so you can look down into the mirror while you lift your top lid and place the lens on the white. Unfortunately, I find that lifting my top lid distorts my vision so much I can't see in the mirror!
If you have long fingernails or arthritic hands, using your fingers to insert and remove your contacts may not be practical anyway. There are tools to help you, but choose carefully as some cheap versions simply don't work, or are so fiddly you might as well use your fingers!
When you're shopping for a lens inserter, make sure it's suitable for soft lenses. Many inserter tools are for hard or RGP lenses, and simply won't work with soft contacts. Also avoid the tweezer-type tools, even if they're labelled for soft contacts - they're more likely to tear the lens and can also give you a nasty poke in the eye, even with padded ends!
I've found the Softsert Lensvue works for most people, because it's transparent so it doesn't obscure your view. The magnifier is a boon if your near sight is poor.
Removing contact lenses
You can remove lenses the same way you inserted them: put one finger on the lens, slide it on to the white of your eye, then pinch it out with thumb and forefinger.
However, once you've become used to putting things in your eye, you can probably just pinch the lens directly off the coloured part of your eye with your thumb and forefinger, without any trouble.