How can I tell if my contact lens is inside out?

Medically reviewed by Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts.

You’ll almost always find that your contact lens is correctly positioned when you take it out of its blister pack. On a very rare occasion, however, it may be flipped the wrong way around, or it may pop outwards if you’re struggling with it while placing it into your eye.

The important thing to remember is that there’s no need to worry. Putting your lens in the wrong way will not hurt or damage your eye. Simply take it out, rinse it with solution and re-insert the lens.

Here are some things to look out for if you’re struggling to tell if your lens is sitting the right way:

how to check contact lenses before apply

Ways to check if your contact lens is inside out

A soft contact lens is very thin and flexible so it can often be hard to tell whether they are the right way around. Here are some things to look out for if you’re struggling to tell if your lens is sitting the right way:

The shape of the lens/side view

The first thing you should check is the shape of the lens. Place the lens on the tip of your finger and pay attention to how curved it is. The lens should sit in a smooth, round curvature that looks like a bowl. If it’s the wrong way around, it will be in a shape that almost resembles a saucepan.

Holding your finger up right in front of your eyes will help you to see this as you'll be able to look at the lens from the side more accurately.

If the numbers are reversed

Some contact lens manufacturers put laser markings on their lenses. This may be a small number marking of ‘123’, or perhaps letters. If the numbers on the lens are reversed, then the contact lens is inside out. It may help to view these laser markings by placing the lens on your fingertip and holding the lens up to a bright light.

How it feels in your eye

A contact lens that is put in the wrong way round will generally be more uncomfortable and may feel slightly scratchy, like an eyelash in your eye. It won’t sit comfortably on the curvature of your eye and will easily move from the centre. It may even pop out.

How your vision looks

The most obvious sign that your contact lens in the wrong way around will be your vision. If you put your lens in and your vision is still blurry, remove your contact lens, pop the lens the other way around and then rinse it in solution before reinserting it.

The taco test

The taco test is another way to tell whether your contact lens is inside out. Simply place the lens between your thumb and forefinger. Holding it near the centre, gently squeeze the lens as though you are about to fold it in half like a taco. Make sure that the edge of the lens is free when doing this.

If the edge of the lens points upwards like a taco, this indicates that the lens is the right way around.

The longer you wear contact lenses, the more familiar you will become with telling whether or not they are correctly oriented. However, if you accidentally put your contact lens on inside out, simply remove it and give it a rinse with contact lens solution before putting it back in.

Quick links:

How to put in contact lenses
How to take out contact lenses
How to get a broken lens out of the eye

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