Contact lenses are one of the most popular ways to correct vision issues because so many options are available and they’re so easy to use.
But even if you wear your contact lenses correctly, you may experience challenges at some point when trying to remove them.
The most popular type of contact lens is called a soft contact lens. Soft contact lenses tend to be more comfortable and easier to wear than other kinds of lenses.
This lens consists of a soft, flexible plastic that lets air flow into the eye. Most are made from a material called silicone hydrogel, which lets as much air flow to the eye as possible.
While they’re usually easy to remove, soft contact lenses can sometimes get stuck in the eye.
This can happen when a person sleeps with their contact lenses in, wears their contact lenses too long so they dry out, or wears contact lenses that don’t fit properly (are too small, too loose, or too tight).
If you can see a contact lens in your eye but can’t remove it, don’t try to pull the lens off.
Instead, first put a few drops of saline solution or lubricating eye drops into your eye. Wash your hands before trying to slide or gently pinch the contact out of your eye.
If it’s really stuck, you might try closing your eye and massaging the contact down to the bottom of your eye before you attempt to remove it.
Gas permeable contact lenses are less commonly worn because they’re not as comfortable as soft contact lenses.
But they have their benefits: They’re more durable and they often give clearer, crisper vision. They also tend to be less expensive than soft contact lenses over time because they are long-lasting and more resistant to breakage.
Gas permeable contact lenses may also get stuck in the eyes.
If this happens to you, first wash your hands. Next, figure out where in your eye the lens is stuck. Close your eyes and gently feel your eyelid to locate where the lens is.
If you can’t feel it, open your eye and look in a mirror to try to locate it. If you can’t see your lens, try to look in the opposite direction of where you think your lens has gone. This might help you see it.
If you can’t find your lens, it’s possible it fell out of your eye.
If your contact is stuck to the white part of your eye, you might be able to remove it by gently pressing on the outer edges of the lens with your fingers.
Don’t try to massage your eyelid like you might with soft lenses. Gas permeable lenses are more rigid and can scratch your eyeball when it moves.
In some cases, you may need a little extra help. Purchase a suction cup in the eye-care aisle of a drugstore. Your optometrist may have taught you how to use this device when they prescribed your lenses.
Wash the suction cup with contact lens cleaner, and moisten it with saline solution. Then use your thumb and forefinger to move your eyelids apart. Press the suction cup to the middle of the lens and pull it out.
Avoid touching your eye with the suction cup —this can cause damage to your eye, so be very careful when using this device.
You can take the lens off the suction cup by sliding it sideways.
Sometimes a soft contact lens will rip or tear when you put it into your eye. If this happens, take the lens out of your eye immediately and replace it with a new one. Torn contact lenses have rough edges that can scratch your eye.
Additionally, a torn lens can’t properly fit on your eye. If the lens doesn’t remain centered on your eye, you may experience blurry vision, or your lens might become trapped under your eyelid.
When you try to remove a torn lens, there is a chance that some pieces of it might stay stuck on your eye. Often these pieces migrate beneath the eyelid. It can sometimes be challenging to remove very small pieces of lens from the eye.
Wash your hands, and make sure your eyes are properly moistened with drops or solution. Then use a finger to find the torn lens piece, and slide it to the outside corner of your eye with your finger.
Sometimes pieces of a contact lens will work their way to the corner of your eye if you moisten your eye and gently blink. This can sometimes make it easier to remove all the torn pieces of the contact.
You can also use artificial tear eyedrops to try to rinse the contact out of your eye.
Another contact lens removal issue you might encounter is a contact lens that gets stuck under your top eyelid. While it might be scary to think your contact lens has “disappeared,” in reality you can still remove it.
Don’t worry about your contact lens getting lost forever behind your eye. That can’t happen. The structure of your eye will stop that from happening. So if you can’t find it, chances are it fell out of your eye.
If this happens to you, look straight into the mirror and tilt your head back slightly. Lift your top lid as far up as possible to make sure the lens is there and didn’t fall out of your eye.
If your eye is moist enough, try sliding the lens down and pinching it out. If your eyes are a bit dry, you may need to lubricate them with saline solution, eye drops, or contact solution before trying to remove the lens.
If you’re not able to remove your contact or pieces of your contact lens, it’s important to see your optometrist.
You should also seek medical help if your eye has become very irritated or red, or if you think you scratched or damaged your eye, regardless of whether you were able to remove your lens.