Contact Stuck In My Eye: What Do I Do?
Having a contact stuck in the 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 Soft Contact Lens Stuck In The Eye
Usually, the contact 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 the contact stuck in your eye is properly centered on your cornea, the lens has probably dried out. This sometimes occurs if you fall asleep while wearing your contact lenses.
In this case, 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. Then close your eye and gently massage your upper lid until you feel the lens move.
If the lens remains stuck, repeat this rinsing step several times, blinking frequently after each rinse to help the lens move. It may take several rinses and up to 15 minutes for the lens to become rehydrated so it's 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 or you develop red eyes, see your eye doctor immediately. This may be a sign that you have a corneal abrasion that may need medical attention.
If the contact stuck in your eye 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.
Removing A GP Contact Lens Stuck In The Eye
If the contact stuck in your eye is a gas permeable contact lens, the removal technique is different. You want to avoid massaging your eyelid, as this may cause the rigid gas permeable (GP) lens to abrade 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 The Contact Stuck In Your Eye Won't Come Out
If none of these techniques work, call your eye doctor immediately to arrange to have the doctor or a member of his or her staff remove the lens for you.
About the Author: Gary Heiting, OD, is senior editor of AllAboutVision.com. Dr. Heiting has more than 30 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator and consultant to the eyewear industry. His special interests include nearsightedness, myopia control, and the effects of blue light on the eye.
Page updated August 2017