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How To Tell If Contact Lenses Are Inside Out

By March 31, 2015Contacts Advice

Many new contact lens wearers, and even some experienced ones, have difficulty knowing how to tell if contact lenses are inside out. It is important to know how to do this because an inverted contact lens that goes onto the eye will not be comfortable, will not provide clear vision, and will risk falling out of the eye and getting lost.

Contacts Advice Medical Disclaimer

There are several methods to determine whether a lens is inside out or not, and in this post I will explain my 5 favorite techniques.

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Technique #1: Edge Shape

The first technique is the place the lens on the tip of your finger, hold it up at eye level, and observe the edges of the contact lenses. There will be a subtle difference in the way the edges look for a contact lens that correct, and one that is inverted. It will be easier to demonstrate this with pictures, rather than trying to explain it in words, but when the lens is in the correct orientation, the edges of the contacts curve straight upwards, like a bowl would. When the contact lens is inverted, the edges will tend to flare outwards, like a saucer shape. Still doesn’t make sense? Don’t worry, just keep reading.

Contact Lens in Correct Position.

Contact Lens in Correct Position.

Inverted Contact Lens

Inverted Contact Lens

Observe the edges of these contact lenses and see if you can tell the difference. If you still can’t, look at these close-up pictures:

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The edge of contact lens in the correct position rounds out like a bowl.

The edge of contact lens in the correct position rounds out like a bowl.

The edge of an inverted contact lens flares out like a saucer.

The edge of an inverted contact lens flares out like a saucer.


Pretty neat, isn’t it? If you find this difference too subtle, then read on, there are plenty other tricks!

Technique #2: The Taco Test

The second technique can be done immediately following the first technique in order to reaffirm your suspicions. Again, with the contact lens placed on the tip of your finger, use the index finger and thumb of your free hand to push two opposing edges of the contact lens together, as though you were trying to close it.

As you push the two halves towards each other, if the edges come together and the contact lens starts to take a hard-shelled taco shape, this means the lens is in the correct orientation.

Alternatively, if the edges of the lens move away from each other, and seem to want to stick to your finger and thumb, this means the lens is inside out.

A lens in the correct position will look like a taco when squeezed.

A lens in the correct position will look like a taco when squeezed.

An inverted lens will stick to the fingers when squeezed.

An inverted lens will stick to the fingers when squeezed.

Technique #3: The Easy Flip Test

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The extent to which this technique will be effective may depend on the specific brand of contact lenses you’re using. But in general, a contact lens will be more difficult to flip when it is in the correct orientation, and vice versa, it will flip more easily when it is in the inverted position.

If you are unsure about how to use use the first two techniques, flip your contact lens in and out a few times. If it is difficult to flip, you’ve most likely just made it inside out. If it flips almost without any effort, you’ve most likely just flipped it into the correct position.

If you’ve just used this technique to figure out which way is correct, I would recommend rinsing the contact lens off with cleaning solution before you insert it into your eye because will have certainly been touching the inside of the contact lens with your fingers while doing this.

Technique #4: Keep the Original Orientation

Contacts Advice Featured Image9This technique applies mostly to daily lenses, but can also be used for bi-weekly and monthly lenses. This technique replaces the need to check for ‘inverted-ness’ using the above techniques by simply paying attention to the way the contacts are inside the packaging.

When the contact lenses are made, they are placed into their packaging in the correct way. It is very rare for the contact lenses to flip on their own within the sealed blister packs. Therefore, when you open the little pack that contains your lens, you can safely assume that it’s already in the correct position.

So by simply making sure you don’t flip the lens as you remove it from the blister pack, you know it will not be inverted.

Technique #5: The Last Resort

The final technique is to just put the contact lens in your eye. If it is correct, it will feel comfortable within seconds, your vision should be clear, and blinking should not cause the lens to move about wildly on your eye. If this is the case, great! You’re free to go about your day.

If it was inside out, however, you will feel it! It will not become comfortable, your vision will be off, and every time you blink you will feel the contact lens moving around all over the place. That’s when you know to take it out, flip it, and re-insert it. Obviously, this is the last technique you want to have to resort to, but having an inverted contact lens on for a few seconds, though it may be uncomfortable, will not harm your eye.

Over time as you become more familiar with how contact lenses feel, you will begin to develop an instinct for it and not have to go through these steps every time. You will eventually be able to insert and remove your contact lenses with your eyes closed (figuratively speaking, of course)!

Be patient with yourself at first and give yourself enough time to insert your contact lenses before you go off to school, work. etc. This will take the stress and frustration off of racing against the clock to get them in!

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have any questions, or if you have any of your own helpful tips or tricks regarding this subject, I would love to hear them! Please share them in the comments section below.

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Author Julie

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Angela says:

    Great tips for how to tell if contact lenses are inside out. Thanks for sharing pictures that way seeing it visual really helps to know what to look for. Great article and thanks for sharing!!

  • Emily says:

    hi Julie
    as a long time contact lenses wearer, where was this post the million times I put my contacts inside out??? lol I literally did that so many times with the blinking that ensued and the flipping the contact back and forth until your eye is so irritated you don’t know which side is which! Very good advice here Julie, thanks a lot for this!

    • Julie says:

      Hi Emily!
      Oh I know, I went through the same thing too when I started wearing contacts at age 15. And I was never taught these trick back then! I also never imagined that I’d be teaching this stuff now lol. Thanks for reading!

  • Dee says:

    Julie, this is such a great post! This was my initial struggle when I first got my contacts and years later, there are days when I’m still unsure whether my contacts are inside-out or not. I only knew about the first technique but when your glasses are off, determining the edge shape gets a little more difficult. 😛 I’m so glad I’ll have these techniques and visuals to help me out in the future. You’re the best!

  • ann says:

    so looking down topside at the contact, when I see the outer rim with a lip flared out, it is inverted ?

    but correct it is up like a bowl no outer lip ?

    • Julie says:

      Yes! I personally find the the effect is easier to see when you look at them from the side. But as long as you can see it, that’s all that matters!

  • Asif Nawaz says:

    Thanks for give me information of contact lens flip…

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