How to Remove a Contact Lens That's Stuck in Your Eye
Having a contact stuck in your eye happens to nearly all contact lens wearers sooner or later. Removing a stuck contact lens is easy once you learn a few tips.
And don't worry — a contact lens cannot get lost behind your eye.
Removing a stuck soft contact lens
Usually, a contact lens that gets stuck in the eye is a soft lens. The first step is to wash your hands thoroughly. Then, determine the location of the contact lens in your eye.
If your contact is in the center of your eye:
Rinse the stuck contact and your eye for a few seconds with a steady stream of sterile saline, multipurpose contact lens solution or contact lens rewetting drops.
Close your eye and gently massage your upper eyelid until you feel the lens move.
If the lens is still stuck, repeat the rinsing step several times, blinking frequently after each rinse to help the lens move. It may take several rinses and up to 10 minutes for the lens to become rehydrated and movable.
Once the lens moves freely, remove it as you normally would.
If your eye feels dry or irritated after removing the contact lens, lubricate your eye with sterile saline or artificial tears.
If your eye remains irritated, see an eye doctor immediately. This may be a sign that you have a corneal abrasion that may need medical attention.
If the stuck contact is off the center of your eye:
Move your eye in the opposite direction of where you think the lens may be. For example, if you think the lens is stuck under your upper eyelid, look down.
Gently massage your eyelid and blink frequently to move the lens to the center of your eye so you can remove it.
If necessary, rinse your eye with sterile saline, multipurpose solution or rewetting drops to loosen the lens.
If an off-center soft contact lens remains stuck far behind your eyelid, try putting a new contact lens on the eye and blink normally. This can help "draw out" the stuck lens to the center of the eye where it can be easily removed.
SEE RELATED: How bad is it to sleep in your contact lenses?
Removing a GP contact lens stuck in your eye
If the contact stuck in your eye is a hard gas permeable (GP) contact lens, the removal technique is different. You'll want to avoid massaging the eyelid, since this can cause the hard lens to scratch the eye.
If the lens is stuck on the white of the eye, use the pad of your fingertip to gently press your eye just outside the edge of the lens to break the suction that is keeping the contact stuck in the eye.
Another option is to use a small "suction cup" device sold in the contact lens care section of drug stores. Gently press the concave end of this device onto the center of the GP lens, and it will adhere to the lens. Then, gently pull the lens off the surface of your eye.
When you can't remove a stuck contact lens
If none of these techniques work, call an eye doctor to have the doctor or a member of their staff remove the lens as soon as possible.
Page published in January 2019
Page updated in May 2021