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Safely Removing a Contact Stuck in Your Eye

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Last Updated

Contacts should sit in the center of your eye, right on your cornea. Sometimes, they move and get stuck on other parts of your eye. 

While a stuck contact is uncomfortable, it’s rarely dangerous. It can’t move to the back of your eye and get lost. With clean hands, good technique, and patience, you can remove that contact safely.

How to Safely Remove a Stuck Contact From Your Eye

The type of contact lens you wear dictates the methods you’ll use to remove it. Soft contact lenses get their name from their flexibility. They can be easy to remove with fingers. Hard (or gas-permeable contact lenses) are rigid, and you may need tools to get them unstuck. We’re focusing on soft lenses, as they often slip from their ideal conditions and get stuck.

Washing your hands is an important first step. Germs on your fingers can move to your eyes and cause infections. Clean hands are a must.

Quick tips on how to remove a contact that is stuck in your eye:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Blink repeatedly.
  • Rinse the eye with saline solution.
  • Gently massage the eye.
  • Use the flat part of your finger to gently press on the stuck lens.
  • Continue blinking.
  • Call your eye doctor if you are unable to remove the stuck lens.

If your lens is still stuck, the position might be to blame. The following tips may help:

  • Your lens is fully centered on your cornea. The lens has probably already dried out. Use a steady stream of sterile saline, multipurpose contact lens solution, or contact lens rewetting drops to irrigate the stuck contact and your eye for a few seconds. Once done, close your eye and carefully massage your upper eyelid until you can feel the lens start to move.
  • Your lens is off center. Lightly massage your eyelid and blink frequently. You might have to rinse your eye with rewetting drops, multipurpose solution, or sterile saline to lubricate the lens to get it to move.

    If this doesn’t work, put a new contact lens on the eye and blink. This can pull the stuck contact lens back to the center of the eye, where you can easily take it out.
How to Remove a Contact Stuck in Your Eye

Removing Gas-Permeable Contact Lenses

Gas-permeable (or hard) contact lenses can also get stuck. Removing these lenses requires different techniques, as the stiff material can scratch your eye if you push or pull too hard. 

If the lens is stuck on the sclera (the white of the eye), use the flat part of your fingertip to softly press the eye, just past the edge of the lens. This will break the suction keeping the lens stuck in the eye.

Similarly, you can use a small suction cup (sold in the eyecare section of drugstores). Press the concave end onto the center of the stuck lens. When the lens adheres to the cup, pull the lens free.

How to Care for Your Eye After Removing a Stuck Contact

Most people don’t need to do anything to care for their eyes after removing a stuck contact. But if you feel uncomfortable or injured, you may need help. 

Follow these tips to care for your eyes at home:

  • Let tissues heal. Don’t press or rub your eyes. 
  • Lubricate naturally. If your eyes feel dry or gritty, blink frequently. Your tears will help tissues feel less sticky and sore. You can also use rewetting drops to lubricate the eyes.
  • Wear your glasses. If your contacts feel uncomfortable, stick with glasses until they feel better. 
  • Rest as needed. Avoid computer screens and close work if your eyes feel strained. 

When to See a Doctor 

Most people can remove a stuck contact with patience and persistence. But sometimes, you need a doctor’s help.

Call your doctor in the following situations:

  • You can’t remove the contact. Don’t get aggressive with your eye. If you strongly pull a stuck contact from your eye, you could potentially damage your cornea. If you use the tip of your finger, rather than the flat portion, you could scratch your cornea. If the stuck contact isn’t budging, it’s time to see your doctor.
  • Your eye is injured. If you’re in pain or experience vision changes after removing a stuck contact, call your doctor. Continued discomfort might be a sign of a problem that occurred, such as corneal abrasion, which would require medical assistance.

If you have a contact stuck in your eye, don’t panic. This situation is rarely dangerous, and you can likely get it out on your own. If you aren’t able to, reach out to NVISION doctors. We can help.

How to Prevent Contact Lenses From Getting Stuck

Healthy habits can keep contacts where they belong. By following a few basic steps, you can ensure that your contacts don’t migrate and get stuck where they don’t belong.

Follow these tips:

  • Take your contacts out when you sleep. While sleeping in contacts may seem convenient, the practice dries your lenses and allows them to get stuck. 
  • Follow your doctor’s wearing schedule. Keeping contacts in longer than recommended can make them sticky and stuck. 
  • Handle your lenses with care. Pay attention when you’re putting your lenses in and taking them out. 
  • Replace your lenses when recommended. How long your contacts last depends on the product and brand. Never wear them longer than the manufacturer dictates.

These basic contact lens safety tips can keep your eyes healthy:

  • Keep your appointments. Visit your eye doctor regularly and explain any issues you’re having with your contacts. 
  • Avoid water exposure. Never use unapproved fluids as replacements for saline and contact solution.
  • Keep it clean. Wash your hands whenever you’re working with your contacts. Clean your lenses properly. 

Follow your doctor’s instructions. If you’ve had vision correction surgery, follow your doctor’s recommendations on contacts after LASIK.

Stuck Contact Frequently Asked Questions

Can a contact lens get stuck behind your eye?

No, it is not possible for a contact to get stuck behind your eye. Due to the structure of your eyelid, objects cannot travel behind the eye.

Is it possible for a contact lens to get lost in your eye?

No. The back of your eye (which you can’t see) is connected to deeper structures via thick tissues. Contacts can’t slip past these tissues and get lost.

Can a contact lens break or tear in your eye?

Yes, it’s possible. Follow the same steps we’ve outlined above to remove the pieces. If you can’t find all of the parts, contact your doctor and ask what to do next.

References

  1. Contact Lens Care Tips for Patients: An Optometrist’s Perspective. (August 2017). Clinical Optometry.
  2. How Do I Get a Contact Lens Out From the Top of My Eye? (September 2012). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  3. Why Can’t I Remove My RGP Contact Lens? (January 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  4. Contact Lens-Related Complications: A Review. (April–June 2017). Journal of Ophthalmic & Vision Research.

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