Are Contacts Hard to Put In?
If Kids Can Put In Contacts, So Can You!
The potential difficulty in putting contacts on is a concern many parents have when their children express an interest in wearing contact lenses. But recent research shows most kids do just fine when it comes to handling and caring for them, and they don't seem to find contacts hard to put in.
In one recent study, 169 children (84 kids ages 8 to 12 and 85 teenagers ages 13 to 17) were fitted with soft contact lenses for the first time. A significant majority of even the youngest children in the study mastered applying, removing and handling their contact lenses. And 83 percent of the pre-teens and 89 percent of the teenagers said the contacts were easy to take care of.
Their parents concurred. At the end of the study, 86 percent of parents of the pre-teens and 89 percent of parents of the teenagers agreed with the statement, "My child is demonstrating that he/she is responsible enough to wear contact lenses and properly care for them."
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A Good Fitting Ensures That Your Contacts Won't Be Hard to Put In
Whether you are the parent of a child who wants contacts or an adult desiring to try contacts yourself, during a comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting your eye doctor will take a number of measurements to select the contact lenses that are best for you or your child.
During the fitting, your doctor will note the amount of space between your upper and lower eyelids when your eyes are open normally.
If this space is limited (as it may be with people of Asian heritage or people with small or deep-set eyes), your doctor may choose a soft contact lens with a smaller-than-average diameter to make it easier for you to insert and remove your contacts.
If you have trouble handling soft contacts when trying to put them on your eye, often it is because you are blinking before the lens touches your eye. Your eye doctor or optician performing the contact lens fitting may suggest this exercise to help you become more comfortable touching your eyes, which will make applying your contacts easier:
After washing your hands thoroughly, look in the mirror, open your eye widely and try touching the white part of your eye with the soft pad of your fingertip without blinking.
Use the same motion you will use to apply your contacts, and keep your finger on your eye for a second or two before removing it.
It may take a little practice, but once you master this skill, putting on your contact lenses will go much easier.
If you still have trouble putting on soft contacts, your eye doctor may recommend gas permeable contacts instead. Though wearing these rigid lenses takes some getting used to at first, they are much smaller in diameter than soft contacts, and many people find they are easier to put in.
But whether you choose soft contact lenses or rigid gas permeable (RGP or GP) contacts, don't give up easily when first learning how to apply and remove your lenses. Even if you struggle initially, just set the lenses aside and try again a few minutes later.
With each successful attempt, putting in contacts becomes easier and easier.
About the Author: Gary Heiting, OD, is senior editor of AllAboutVision.com. Dr. Heiting has more than 25 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator and consultant to the eyewear industry. His special interests include contact lenses, nutrition and preventive vision care. Connect with Dr. Heiting via Google+.
[Page updated May 2015]