How to Remove a Contact Lens Lost in the Eye

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Contact lenses can become lost or move around inside the eye, becoming stuck under the lid or out of place. Soft lenses fold up on themselves and slide around and hard or gas permeable lenses can feel like they are lost inside the eye. Both types of lenses require care when removing them.

Things You'll Need

  • Small flashlight
  • Mirror
  • Contact lens re-wetting drops
  • Saline solution
  • Lens plunger
  • Wash hands before handling contact lenses or touching eyes to prevent infection.

  • Inspect your eye to make sure the contact lens is still in. It is common to have the sensation that a lens is still in your eye after a contact has fallen or been rubbed out of the eye. Shine a small light into your eye while holding the lid gently up and look into a mirror. The contact lens should reflect light back when the flashlight beam crosses it. Have someone help you look if you cannot maneuver easily.

  • Use contact lens re-wetting drops or saline solution to moisten the lens before removing it.

  • Slide the lens slightly to make sure it is not stuck on the cornea. The lens should move a little. If it does not, re-wet the lens again.

  • Grasp the lens with your thumb and finger if it is a soft contact lens, and gently squeeze the lens slightly together and lift it out, being careful not to squeeze the eye.

  • Plunge a dislodged gas permeable rigid or hard contact lens out of the eye with a plunger, a tool available through your eye care provider. Stick the plunger on the lens and gently lift up, being careful not to tug. Make sure you are using the plunger on the lens and not the surface of your eye.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is impossible to lose a lens behind your eye because the membrane that holds your eye in place prevents anything from going behind the eye. Lenses can become lost under lids or fall out and feel as though they are still in the eye.

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