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Contact Lens Insertion and Removal: Teen Version

Soft lenses are made of material that absorbs fluid, and are very flexible. Gas permeable lenses are stiffer than soft contacts, and you will need a slightly different technique to put them in and take them out.

Always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses. Wash your hands carefully with plain soap and water. Dry your hands well before trying to put in your lenses. Don’t use soaps that contain deodorants, moisturizers, fragrances, or oils. These substances can get on your lenses and irritate your eyes.

Always start with your right lens to help you get each lens in the correct eye.

How do I put soft contact lenses in?

Shake your lens case from side to side to make sure that the lens is not stuck to the case, then pour the lens into your palm. Hold the lens between your thumb and forefinger and rinse it well with sterile solution recommended for your lenses.

Put the lens on the tip of your index or middle finger, right side up. When it is right side up, the lens will look rounded like a bowl, with the edges facing up. A lens that is inside out will have straighter sides and edges that turn down instead of up. Another way to tell whether your lens is right side up is to hold the lens between your thumb and forefinger and try to roll the edges in, like a taco. If the edges come together easily, the lens is right side up. If they won't roll toward one another, the lens is inside-out.

Using your opposite hand, pull your upper eyelid open by grasping it near your lashes. Then pull your lower eyelid down. (Or you can hold your upper eyelid up with your index finger and your lower eyelid down with your middle finger.) Bend over and look straight ahead, as if you were looking beyond the finger holding the lens. Then touch the lens to your eye. Let go of your lower lid, then your upper lid. Repeat with the left lens.

How do I take soft contact lenses out?

There are two ways to take your lenses out:

  • Look up, pull your lower lid down, and slide the lens down onto the white of your eye. Pinch the lens to remove it.
  • Pull your lower lid down with your fourth finger and squeeze the lens gently between your second and third finger. Then pull the lens away. This method is good for people with long fingernails.

How do I put gas permeable lenses in?

Slide the lens out of the lens case and hold it between your fingers. Put a drop of fresh wetting solution on the lens. Place the lens on the tip of your index or middle finger facing up (like a bowl).

Using your opposite hand, pull your upper eyelid open by grasping it near your lashes. Then pull your lower eyelid down. (Or you can hold your upper eyelid up with your index finger and your lower eyelid down with your middle finger.) Bend over and look straight ahead, as if you were looking beyond the finger holding the lens. Then touch the lens to your eye. Let go of your lower lid then your upper lid. Repeat with the left lens.

How do I take gas permeable lenses out?

  • The most common way to remove gas permeable lenses is the stare-pull-blink method. To take your right lens out, hold your left hand under your eye and bend forward. Open your eye as wide as you can. Then use your right index finger to pull the skin at the outside corner of your eye firmly up and out, then blink. The lens should fall into your left hand. For your left lens, switch hands. The lens falls into your right hand.
  • Another way to remove your lenses is with a tiny contact lens plunger. You can get one from your eye care provider. First, wet the end of the plunger. Separate your eyelids, and bring the plunger toward the center of the lens. Gently touch the plunger to the lens and pull it away. Be careful not to let the plunger touch the eyeball itself. To get the lens off the plunger, twist the plunger one way and the lens the other way.
  • A third way to remove gas permeable lenses is to put one finger along your lower lash line and one finger from the other hand along the upper lash line. Don't press so hard that the edge of the eyelid turns out. Bend forward over a counter or table covered with a clean towel. With a scissor-like motion, slide your lids together, catching the edge of the lens. The lens should come out and land on the towel.

Sometimes your lens may move out of position. Often you can feel where the lens is on the white part of your eye. You can also use a mirror and look for the lens. When you find it, close your eye and press gently on the edge of the lens through your eyelid, sliding the lens back into position on your eye. Don't try to touch the lens directly because you might scratch your eye. Work through your closed eyelid only. If you can't find the lens, it may have fallen out without your knowing it. Your lens cannot slip behind your eye. The inside of your eyelids will prevent that from happening.

If you need help, see your eye care provider.

Reviewed for medical accuracy by faculty at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Web site: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/wilmer/
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-12-31
Last reviewed: 2012-12-31
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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