If you’re new to wearing contact lenses, the process of putting them in can be a daunting one. Your optician is likely to show you the process of putting in your lenses safely and how to remove them, but when you’re on your own, it can be easy to forget the steps.

We’ve put together a guide on the steps you need to follow when putting in your contact lenses so you can refer back to it while you’re getting used to wearing lenses. It can also be useful for experienced contact lens wearers who might be looking to improve their technique. 

1. Prepare your hands

Before you start taking putting your lenses in, it’s vital that you wash your hands thoroughly with clean water and antibacterial soap. Preventing eye infections is essential and you might not be aware how much bacteria and germs are on your hands at any given time, so get into the habit of washing your hands thoroughly before you touch your eyes or your lenses. You should also ensure that your hands are fully dry before touching your lenses as water can transfer bacteria easily. 

2. Get the lens ready

The next step is to remove the lens from the packet and place it on the opposite fingertip to the eye you want to put it in. Make sure the lens is in the right position – it should be a bowl shape and you want it to sit on the flat pad of your finger to make it easier to insert. 

3. Open up your eyelids

Hold your eye open with your middle finger by gently pulling your lower lid down and use your index finger to hold your upper lid up towards your brow. For the right eye, you will want to use your right hand to hold your right eye open and using your left hand to inset the lens. For your left eye, do the opposite. 

4. Insert the lens

Look straight ahead into the mirror and try not to move your eyelid or blink, as this can make it harder to put the lens in properly. Once the lens has been placed over the iris, wait a few seconds for the lens to settle and then look around to help the lens fit into place comfortably on your eye. Gently close your eye and blink a few times to help your eyes naturally lubricate. 

5. Adjust if uncomfortable

It can take a few times to get used to putting your lenses in, so you might find that you need to adjust the lens to get it to sit comfortably. It’s natural for an air bubble to form under the lens which can make them uncomfortable against the eyelid. Keep your finger on the centre of the lens and move it around slightly on your eye to dislodge any air and help the lens to settle down in the right position. You can gently massage your eyeball by putting your finger on your upper eyelid and rubbing gently to help the lens move into place. If the lens still doesn’t feel right, you can remove it, rinse it with saline solution and return to step one to try again. 

What if I find it too difficult?

Often, when someone says that they’re having trouble getting their lenses to sit in place comfortably, it’s because they’re blinking before the lens touches the eye. It’s a natural response and one that can be hard to get out of, but overcoming the fear of putting your lenses in can help.

Once you get used to the process of putting your lenses in and taking them out, you’ll find it easier to do as you won’t be blinking as a response. You can practice not blinking by placing your finger on your eyelid and your thumb on your lower lid and gently hold your eye open slightly. After a few practices, you’ll feel more confident putting your lenses in. 

My lenses feel uncomfortable, what should I do?

First, double check that the lens you’ve put in is for the correct eye, especially if your eyes have different prescriptions as you might find that your vision is blurred otherwise. Before putting the lens in, check that there aren’t any tears or rips in the lens, and that you have it the correct way round – if it’s damaged in any way, throw it away and use a new lens. It can also help to rub some fresh solution on the surface of the lens to wash away any debris or deposits. 

Some people may find that the solution they use can irritate their eyes, so if you think this might be the case for you, speak to your optician who can recommend a different solution to try.