If on insertion of your contact lenses they feel uncomfortable or move about too much then they may be inside out.
There are two easy ways to tell if your contact lens is inside out, look at the shape of the contact lens, it should have smooth edges like a well-turned bowl, or squeeze the lens between your thumb and finger, and the edges of the contact should roll inwards.
You might assume everyone would instantly be able to tell whether they put their lenses in correctly or not. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case (hence the importance of inspection techniques).
It’s true that some people instantly feel eye discomfort when they put their lenses in the wrong way. However, other patients don’t feel immediate symptoms and might not feel eye discomfort until later in the day.
Common complaints associated with inside-out contact lenses include:
- Blurry vision
- Eye pain
- Red eyes
- Itchy eyes
Soft lenses that are properly fitted to your eyes are designed to feel comfortable. So, if you feel your contacts are “off” even slightly, you should remove them and check to make sure they are facing the correct way.
How To Tell If Your Lenses Are Right-Side Up
1. Look To The Edges
The most common way optometrists teach patients to check which side their lenses are facing is to focus on the edges. If your lens is facing the right way, then the edges will look smooth like a bowl. Lenses that are on the incorrect side, however, will have edges that jut out almost like an upside-down UFO.
Try to hold the lens as close to your eyes as possible when using this method. If you’re not getting the hang of it, then be sure to ask your optometrist for help at your next appointment.
2. The Squeeze Test
Do you still have doubts about your lenses after the edge inspection? Perhaps it’s time you tried the squeeze test.
As the name suggests, to use this method you must gently squeeze one contact in half with your thumb and forefinger. Next, take a close look at how the edges of the contacts are curved.
What you want to see are smooth edges that roll inwards and somewhat resemble a taco (indeed, a common nickname for this method is the “taco test”). By contrast, contact lenses that are facing the wrong way will roll outwards.
3. Inspect For A Manufacturer’s Seal
Manufacturers understand how difficult it can be for new contact lens wearers to determine an inside-out contact lens. That’s why many companies nowadays print symbols on their contacts that can help you easily and accurately determine which way your contact is facing.
Be sure to ask your company whether or not they place these symbols on your contact lenses. If your lenses do have special symbols, then place one lens under the light and ensure you see the correct lettering before inserting it.
If you really struggle to differentiate between inside-out and right-side-up lenses, then you might want to ask your optometrist about contact lenses with these symbols. You could also look through our product line to find a contact lens brand that offers this convenient feature.
Finally, once you have inserted the lens, if the lens feels uncomfortable on the eye and will not settle, it could be inside out. It may pay to try it around the other way. Often it settles immediately. You can eventually develop a feel for what is right or wrong when the lens is in your eye.
Are Inside-Out Lenses Dangerous?
So, let’s say you put your contacts in the wrong way. Is there any real danger to wearing inside-out lenses?
In most cases, wearing inside-out lenses won’t pose a major risk to your eye health, especially if it’s not an everyday occurrence. However, there’s always a risk that these inside-out contact lenses could cause significant eye discomfort and exacerbate certain eye conditions.
For instance, patients who have dry eye syndrome often notice a dramatic increase in discomfort symptoms with 'inside-out' lenses. Improperly facing lenses, in the long run, might also lead to corneal issues like corneal scratching, which could lead to infection.
A common symptom of inside-out lenses is that your vision is not as clear as normal - it is a bit off in clarity. Not a dramatic drop-off in vision, but you don't feel it is quite right.
Another problem with wearing inside-out lenses is that they have a greater tendency to accidentally fall out of your eyes. This is especially true if you’re involved in high-impact sports or have a habit of rubbing your eyes.
Can you Recentre a Contact Lens?
Rarely a contact lens can slide off the cornea - maybe if you have had a poke in the eye! How do you fix this? Simply go to a mirror and look to see if you can see the contact lens. If it is off centre simply wash your hands and dry them and then put a finger on the contact lens and slide it back onto the centre of your eye.
Learn More About Contact Lens Safety On Our Education Portal
Anyone interested in learning more tips and tricks related to contact lens safety should take a peek at all of our Education Portal posts. From inserting your lenses properly to pulling out contacts behind your eyelids, our educational resources will teach you everything you need to know to be a contact lens pro. Click this link to check out more fascinating topics concerning contact lenses on our website.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 24 Apr 2015, Last modified: 6 Oct 2023