Written by Tamara Johnson, manager at IRIS Market Mall, in Calgary.


Putting your finger in your eye goes against everything we have been told. Evolution has provided us with eyelids and eyelashes to keep our eyes safe from foreign objects and now here you are pressing your finger armed with a piece of plastic into your eye with the hopes it will stick and you’ll be able to see without the use of glasses.

Open wide!  Pull your bottom lid down, tip your chin into your chest, grab your top lashes and pull up, look into the mirror, not at your finger, gently but firmly place your contact lens onto your eye…. seem a bit overwhelming?? 

I get it.  

You’ve done all the necessary steps: had your annual eye exam with your Optometrist, made it through basic training with your contact lens specialist, the fit, vision and comfort have all been verified… and now it’s just you and your contacts.  Not quite like taking home a new baby, but comparable.


-   However long you think it’s going to take you…. DOUBLE IT!  

-   If you are a better person after coffee, have coffee first. 

-   Be prepared:  towel, tissue, contact lens solution (good idea for daily contact lens wearers to have some on hand), good lighting and a mirror.  

-   Keep your fingernails short and clean. Remove large jewelry including bracelets, rings, earrings, and even necklaces.  Pull your hair or bangs back and clip away from your face and eyes.

-   A make-up free zone will help.  Your eyes are going to water and that will cause your mascara to run.  It’s going to run down your cheek and into your eye, nobody wants mascara under their contact lens OUCH!!!  (not very pretty either)

-   Check to make sure the contact lens isn’t inside out (inverted).  This can be done using the “Taco Test.”

Taco test.  Pinch contact lens between thumb and index finger.  If the edges touch…like a taco, it’s correct.  If the edges do not touch (flare out /away from each other), it’s inverted.  

You may also be able to tell by looking at the contact lens.  Place the contact lens on the tip of your finger if the edges are up like a cereal bowl its correct, if the edges flare out at the top it is inverted and wrong. 

You may still be successful at inserting your contact lens when inverted, but it will be frustrating and it will feel uncomfortable.  Avoid the frustration and discomfort. Check first.

The taco test helps you to notice if your contact lenses are reversed.

By this time, you have practised and perfected touching the white part (Sclera) of your eyes with a clean fingertip.  You should be able to touch and hold your finger to the sclera while looking at yourself in the mirror without blinking for 10 seconds.

Most of us have one eye that is easier than the other to get our contact lens in.  Start with that eye.  A sense of accomplishment is always motivating.

Your iris (coloured part) is the contact lens home.  It loves it there.  When placing your contact lens on the eye aim to place half on the iris and half on the sclera (white part) Push gently and or gently rub the contact lens onto the eye. 

If you are a blinker… you know who you are.  Try holding onto the lashes of your top lid.  It’s much harder to blink when holding the lashes.

Air bubbles or wrinkles will occur naturally under the contact lens at first.  Avoid quick hard blinks.  The lids could catch a bubble or wrinkle and you will blink the lens out. 

Instead, let your top lid go and slowly move your bottom lid side to side to help work out the bubbles. 

Gently shut your eye and slowly roll your eyeball around.  This will press out any extra air bubbles.  This should ensure the contact lens has positioned itself securely to your eye. 

If your contact lenses are weighted because you have an astigmatism or are wearing multifocal lenses, expect that they will need to rotate (move) around for a few minutes until they find the proper axis to sit on.  Your doctor took care of all these details and measurements during your exam and in the verification of fit and vision.

Main thing to remember, with anything new that we learn is, it takes time, patience, and practice.  Be patient with yourself.  When in doubt ask for help or extra training.  Our goal is for you to be successful and to find value in the product and services provided.

Trust the process.  You’re looking great!