Oh the pain! If you have ever accidentally placed your soft contact lenses into your eye when the lens was inside out, you most likely realized immediately the error of your ways. If the uncomfortable feeling weren’t enough, lens wearers are also clued in when they try to blink. Often times the contact lens falls out instead of positioning itself to the center of the eye like it is designed to do. If this happens to you, do not worry. Contact lenses that are inside out will not cause injury to your eye. They also won’t cause damage to lens material.
So, how can you tell if your contacts are in backwards? If you are often a careful person, and wish you knew which side is right side up before you insert your contacts, there are several reliable ways to check. Of course, it goes without saying that these methods will only work if you are able to see. Place your eye glasses on, and make sure to wash your hands before attempting the following tactics.
The 1-2-3 Approach
Many soft contact lenses have been marked by their manufacturers with a brand of the numbers “1,” “2,” and “3.” To help you determine if your pair is inside out, place the lens on your fingertip and hold it up to a bright light. The laser markings could be anywhere on the surface, so be sure to really examine it carefully. If you find the “1-2-3” mark and it reads as normal, the contact is oriented correctly. If the “1-2-3” is backward, it is safe to assume the lens is backwards.
Laser Etch Marks
Laser etch marks make finding the numbers “1-2-3” much easier for contact lens patients. Some manufacturers laser etch “1-2-3” on the side of their products. If these numbers are right side up, you may assume the contact lens is not inside out.
Check Your Tinted Edges
Some soft contact lenses, like FreshLook Lite Tints, have tinted edges to help patients apply the devices more easily and ensure they aren’t inserted backwards. If your contacts have blue or green edges, place them on your finger and view them from directly above. While looking at the lens from this vantage point, you should be able to see the lightly colored edge. If the hue is unnoticeable, the contact lens is more than likely inside out.
Employ The Taco Test
The Taco Test might be an old-school way of discerning if your contact lenses are right side up or inside out, but it is one of the most popular approaches patients use. To begin the Taco Test, place the contact between the tips of your forefinger and thumb. Pinch the lens at the center to form the shape of a taco folded in half.
If the edge that is pointed up forms the shape of a taco shell, the contact lens is right side up. If the edge instead bends outward and looks more like a soup spoon, the contact lens is inside out.
Side View Review
Many experienced corrective vision patients prefer to use the side view method. This process is actually quite simple. Hold the contact lens on your fingertip facing up. The lens should look like half a sphere and not a cereal bowl with a rim. If the sides appear to look folded or rolled when you examine it closely, the contact lens is most likely inside out.
How to Correct Your Inside Out Contact Lens
1. Before fixing an inside out contact lens, be sure to wash your hands. If your hands contain any dust or lint, these items can become trapped under the lens and cause even more discomfort. If particulates aren’t removed, be sure to properly flush the debris from your eyes.
3. Reorient the contact lens so that it is not backwards. Because soft contacts can be fragile, take caution not to use your fingernails. Try instead to use the soft pads of your fingertips.