Are Your Contacts Inside Out?

Wearing contact lenses can significantly enhance your vision and quality of life, but ensuring they are correctly inserted is crucial for comfort and clarity. One common issue that many contact lens wearers encounter is accidentally inserting them inside out. Here’s how you can easily check and correct this problem.


Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

The Symptoms

Contact lenses have a specific curvature that allows them to fit comfortably on the surface of your eye. When a lens is inside out, this curvature is reversed, causing discomfort and potentially affecting your vision. When contact lenses are inserted inside out, several symptoms can indicate the mistake.

  • Blurred Vision: Vision can become blurred or distorted, as the lens does not conform properly to the eye’s curvature.
  • Discomfort: There might be a feeling of increased awareness of the lens itself, often described as a sensation of the lens edge or discomfort upon blinking.
  • Irritation: Additionally, the lens may not settle correctly on the eye, leading to potential irritation or redness.

If you notice any of these symptoms after inserting your contacts, it’s essential to check their orientation to ensure they are correctly positioned for comfort and clear vision.

Simple Tests to Check

  • Taco Test: Gently squeeze the contact lens with your fingertips and observe its shape. A correctly oriented lens will have edges that curve outwards like the shape of a taco shell. If the edges flare inwards, it’s likely inside out.
  • Upright Test: Place the lens on the tip of your finger and examine it from the side. A properly oriented lens will form a “U” shape and hold its shape nicely like a bowl, while an inside-out lens will resemble more of a “∩” shape, with floppy edges and pointing slightly outward.
  • Edge Test: Gently squeeze the lens between your fingers. If the edges are sharp and pointy, it’s likely inside out. A correctly oriented lens will have smoother edges that curve gently.


Photo by Steve Johnson

Additional Tips

  • Use Lens Markings: Many contact lenses have laser markings or numbers on them. If these are visible when the lens is on your finger, they should be on the outside. If they appear backward or are hard to read, the lens may be inside out.
  • Check Both Sides: Sometimes, the lens can flip inside out during handling or application. Always double-check both sides before inserting it into your eye.
  • Consult Your Eye Care Professional: If you’re unsure about the orientation of your lenses or have difficulty identifying if they are inside out, consult your eye care provider. They can provide guidance and ensure your lenses are correctly inserted.

Importance of Correct Orientation

Wearing contact lenses inside out can lead to discomfort, blurry vision, and potential damage to your eyes. By learning these simple tests and techniques, you can ensure that your lenses are always comfortably and correctly placed, enhancing your overall experience as a contact lens wearer.


Remember, practicing good hygiene and proper lens care are equally essential for maintaining healthy eyes while wearing contacts. If you continue to experience discomfort or vision problems despite correct lens orientation, seek advice from your eye care professional promptly.

Avatar of Ivan Yong

Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.