Are My Contacts Inside Out?
It can be difficult to tell if your soft contact lenses are inside out, because they are extremely thin and very pliable. Even experienced contact lens wearers have trouble with it.
Here are ways to tell if your contact is inside out:
Method 1: The Side View
Place the contact lens on the tip of your index finger so the edge of the lens is pointing up. Then hold your finger up directly in front of your eyes so you can look at the lens from the side.
If your contact forms a perfect cup-shape with the edge perfectly upright, the lens is correctly oriented and is ready to be placed on your eye. If the edge has a noticeable outward bend (like a rimmed soup bowl), the contact is inside out.
Method 2: The "Taco Test"
Place the contact lens between the tips of your thumb and forefinger, grasping it near the center so the entire edge is free. Gently squeeze the lens, as if you are about to fold it in half.
If the edge of the lens points upward (resembling a hard-shell taco), the lens is correctly oriented. If the edge bends outward (toward your thumb and finger), the lens is inside out.
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Method 3: Check the Edge Tint
If you wear contacts that have a handling tint that extends to the edge of the lens, place the lens on your fingertip (as in Method 1 above), and look down at its edge from above.
If the color of the handling tint on the lens edge looks very blue (or green, depending on the tint), the lens is correctly oriented. If the color looks pale or washed out, the lens probably is inside out.
Method 4: Look for Laser Markings
Some contact lenses have a laser marking to help you determine if your contact is inside out. For example, one brand has a "123" laser marking near the edge of the lens.
To view the laser markings, perch the lens on your fingertip (as in Method 1 above), and then hold the lens up to a bright light.
The Side View Method: Before placing a contact lens on your eye, make sure it looks like half a ball, not a soup bowl with a rim. (With some lenses the difference may be subtle.)
Look at the outside surface of the lens from the side:
- If the "123" appears normally, the lens is correctly oriented and ready to be placed on your eye.
- If the "123" is backward, the contact is inside out.
If at first you don't see the laser marking, turn the lens on your fingertip to make sure you check its entire surface.
The more you wear contact lenses, the easer it will become to tell if your contacts are inside out.
And don't worry you won't harm your eye or your contact lens if you put it on inside out.
In most cases, you'll be able to tell almost immediately if a contact lens is inside out. Typically, the lens will feel uncomfortable and will move too much when you blink. It also may move off the center of your eye or pop out.
If this happens, simply remove the lens, rinse it with a multipurpose contact lens solution and then choose one of the methods above to make sure the lens is correctly oriented before putting it back on your eye.
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 February 2014]
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