How to Tell if a Contact Lens is Still in Your Eye + Removal Tips

  • Signs of a stuck contact lens include redness, irritation, and a burning sensation. Close your eye and press on the lids gently to feel for the lens.
  • Add 3-4 drops of to your eye, close it, and gently massage the area to get the contact moving again.
  • Put a clean cotton swab against your lash line and tilt your head back (for the bottom eyelid) or forward (for the top). When the lid flips, grab the contact.
  1. A contact lens can move around the front of your eye but not behind it. It’s super common for a contact lens to drift off-center and get stuck in the corner or under an eyelid. The lens can’t actually move behind your eye or get permanently stuck in there, though! If that lens is still in your eye, you can get it out—we promise.
    • A transparent membrane called the conjunctiva covers and protects the whites of your eyeballs. Your contact lens can’t bypass this membrane.
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  1. Burning, redness, and eye irritation can indicate a stuck contact lens. If you’ve just rubbed your eyes or tried to remove a contact lens and it’s nowhere to be found, it can be a little unnerving! Don’t panic, though—we’re here to help you. Other common symptoms of a stuck contact lens can include:
    • A sharp or scratching pain
    • Difficulty opening the eye
    • Extreme watering
    • A persistent feeling that something is lodged in your eye
  1. 1 Wash your hands with soap and water. Before you start touching your eye area, it’s really important to remove any germs or debris from your hands. If you accidentally transfer bacteria or grit from your hands to your contacts, you may end up infecting or scratching your eyeball—ouch!
  2. 2 Relax your eye and touch the eyelid to feel for the contact. Close your eye and gently press your clean fingertips to your top and bottom eyelids. Typically, you’ll be able to feel the shape of the contact underneath your fingers, even through the skin of your eyelid.
    • If you don’t feel the lens with your fingers, don’t worry! That can happen sometimes.
  3. 3 Add 3-4 drops of to your eye. After you apply the drops, close your eye and gently massage the area to get the contact moving around again. Open your eye to see if the lens has moved into a place where you can easily get it. Blinking a few times in quick succession can also help.
    • If you don’t have contact lens rewetting drops, use, Avoid using water, though! Non-sterile water from the tap (and other water sources) may have infection-causing microorganisms in it.
  4. 4 Look in the opposite direction of where the lens is stuck. For example, if your contact lens appears to be (or feels like it is) stuck on the right side of your eyeball, move your eye to the left side and blink a few times to loosen it. This movement is typically enough to shift the lens back to the center of your eye.
    • If the contact is still being stubborn, apply a few more rewetting drops and repeat the movement.
  5. 5 Flip your eyelid inside out and nudge the contact back into place. If the contact is stuck under your top or bottom eyelid and refuses to budge, look downward into a mirror and place a clean cotton swab against your lash line. Slowly tip your head backward (for the bottom eyelid) or forward (for the top eyelid) to turn the eyelid inside out. Use your free hand to grab the edge of the contact.
    • If this feels uncomfortable or awkward, get someone to hold the swab and help you out.
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  1. If you still can’t find it, your contact lens probably isn’t in your eye. If you still can’t locate the contact after going through the removal steps several times, it’s highly likely that the lens fell out of your eye. In fact, it’s probably on a nearby countertop or possibly even the ground, so gently feel around on nearby surfaces until you,
    • Mild irritation can sometimes make it feel like there’s something stuck in your eye, even when there’s not.
    • If you’re still worried or need additional peace of mind, make an appointment with your eye doctor.
  1. A contact lens usually gets stuck in your eye because of dryness. Dry eyes can be caused by a number of issues, of course, but if you’re a contact lens wearer, the dryness is probably directly related to the way you clean or, To prevent stuck contacts in the future, try these tips:
    • Follow your eye doctor’s recommendations for how long to wear your lenses. For example, if you have daily wear lenses, take them out every day.
    • Be gentle when you rub your eyes and remove eye makeup carefully.
    • Avoid sleeping in your contacts. Your eyes need time to rest and breathe between wearings.
    • and store contacts in fresh, It can be tempting to pop lenses back in their case with last night’s solution, but try to avoid doing this.
    • Get a professional vision checkup and contact lens fitting every year.
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Question Why do some people experience red eyes and how can they clear them? Board Certified Ophthalmologist Dr. Kerry Assil is a board certified Ophthalmologist and the Medical Director and CEO of Assil Eye Institute (AEI), an ophthalmology practice in Los Angeles, California. With over 25 years of experience and as one of the world’s foremost experts in eye surgery, Dr. Assil has trained 14,000+ physicians in refractive and cataract surgery, performed 70,000+ eye surgeries, and authored over 100 textbooks, chapters, and articles on refractive and cataract surgery. He’s served as the Distinguished Professor lecturer at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Baylor, Tokyo, and UCLA among others. He has served on the advisory boards of 20+ ophthalmic device, pharmaceutical, and scientific companies and has appeared in the media as an authority on advances in vision-restoring surgeries and refractive surgery. Dr. Assil continues to make significant advances in his field with numerous inventions and introductions of state-of-the-art technologies. Red eyes just mean that the outer layer of the eye is inflamed. It could be inflamed because there’s serious inflammation deeper inside the eye, such as certain types of immune diseases that can affect the eyes. They could be red because of hormonal diseases, such as thyroid disease that causes inflammation of the muscles around the eye. They could be red simply because you stayed up too late the night before and didn’t get enough sleep, or your eyelids don’t close all the way when you sleep at night, or you don’t drink enough water, or you had too much caffeine. The specific root cause will determine what the treatment should be. For people who are feeling a bit of garden-variety red eye, the best thing to do is to get artificial teardrops over the counter that are preservative free. You can use those one or two times a day. If you’re using it more than a couple of times a day, then there’s something more significant going on that warrants being examined.

Ask a Question Advertisement This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer,, Amber Crain has been a member of wikiHow’s writing staff for the last six years. She graduated from the University of Houston where she majored in Classical Studies and minored in Painting. Before coming to wikiHow, she worked in a variety of industries including marketing, education, and music journalism.

  • Co-authors: 3
  • Updated: July 6, 2023
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Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 92,941 times. : How to Tell if a Contact Lens is Still in Your Eye + Removal Tips

How do I know if contact is still in my eye?

Contact lenses should float on your eyeball and slide–a little bit–with every blink, but generally, they should stay in sync with your eyeball. You should be able to see them and take them out easily. Sometimes, though, contacts can slide a bit too much.

While getting a contact stuck in your eye can be stressful, there are ways to help prevent it from happening. Eye experts provide tips for what to do if you do find yourself with a stuck contact. If you can see your contact, but it won’t budge, it may have dried out and lost its elasticity, often because you slept or napped with your lenses in or haven’t been taking the best care of them.

“You have a little gap where the eyes don’t close all the way, and a little bit of air comes in,” said Kim Le, MD, a pediatric ophthalmologist with the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. That air dries out contact lenses and saps them of their elasticity, which can leave a contact stuck directly to your eyeball, said Dr.

  • Le. But even if your contact is moistened, if it doesn’t fit right–like if it’s too tight–it might be difficult to pull off, said Dr. Le.
  • So, how should you remove a contact lens stuck in your eye? Don’t try to pry the lens off, which could scratch your cornea.
  • Instead, wet your eye until the contact is easier to remove.

“Use some rewetting drops or artificial tears that are made for contact lens wearers to try to float the lens and lubricate the eye so you can remove it safely and comfortably,” said Thomas Steinemann, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

If this doesn’t work, see an eye care professional, You’ll need to see one anyway about getting new lenses that fit better. But what if your contact lens simply vanishes? You should be able to tell if a contact is still in there by looking at the area of your eye where the dark and the white parts come together, advised Dr.

Le. If you still don’t see it, flip your upper eyelid to see if it’s hiding up there, then try saline drops to flush it out. Your contact can’t actually get “lost” behind your eye because of the structure of your eye and eyelid, so keep looking and rinsing.

If you really can’t find a contact lens or can’t get it out, call an eye care professional. Usually, you and your eyes will be fine—but not always. “Contact lens-related problems are rare, but they devastating,” said Rajiv Shah, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

As detailed in a 2017 British Medical Journal article, a woman in Britain had to have cataract surgery delayed when doctors found 27 contact lenses in her eye, a buildup that’s not just shocking but also increased her odds of a bacterial infection. Every year, up to one out of every 500 people who wear contact lenses gets an eye infection that puts them at risk of becoming blind, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Missing or stuck contacts—and eye infections—can be prevented with a bit more care. “A lot of people who wear soft lenses wear them with kind of a callous disregard for hygiene or care of the lens,” said Dr. Steinemann. Even if your contact is super-comfortable, it can’t take care of itself. Soft lenses—worn by more than 90% of people who use contacts—require a daily routine, according to UpToDate.

“If you over-wear the lens and don’t remove it, there’s a higher chance of buildup on the lens,” said Dr. Steinemann. Proteins from tears can stick to the lens, irritating the eye or causing the lens to slip and slide, added Dr. Steinemann. “The cornea is the windshield of the eye,” said Dr.

Shah. “If you don’t pop out the lens, doesn’t have an opportunity to breathe.” Never keep your contact lenses in your eyes overnight. Take out your contacts at bedtime, and unless you wear daily disposables, make sure to clean them properly. You can do this by putting them in the palm of your hand with a little multipurpose contact lens solution and rub, per the CDC,

“Rubbing the lens is a good thing,” said Dr. Steinemann. “You’re taking the grime off the surface.” Then fill your lens case up with fresh solution, and let your contacts rest while you do. In the morning, take them out of the case, rinse them with disinfecting contact lens solution, and pop them in your eyes.

Don’t forget to take care of the contact lens case too. “The case is a reservoir for germs and infection,” said Dr. Steinemann. Every morning, according to the CDC, dump out the old contact lens solution, rinse out the case, and leave it open to air dry for the rest of the day. Replace the case regularly, around every time you buy new contact lens cleaner—the new bottle usually comes with a case anyway.

While getting contacts stuck in your eyes is no one’s idea of fun, there are ways to both prevent it from happening and remove it if it doesn’t happen. “It really comes down to safe habits,” said Dr. Shah. If you find that your contacts are constantly getting stuck or you experience any other contact-related problems, reach out to your eyecare provider.

Will a lost contact eventually come out?

Can Contacts Get Lost in Your Eye? – The quick answer is no; contact lenses cannot get entirely lost in your eyes forever. This is a fear many new contact lens wearers have, and even some experienced wearers as well. It is virtually impossible for a lens to become completely stuck behind the eye or lost in the eye permanently.

  1. However, it is possible for the lens to become displaced or dislodged underneath your eyelid, which can make the recovery mission a bit more tricky.
  2. Many contact lens wearers may have experienced the phenomenon of getting a lens misplaced in the eye.
  3. This commonly occurs after rubbing the eyes, getting something else stuck in your eyes,, or with very,

It is also possible for a piece or a fragment of a contact lens to become stuck under the eyelid when the lens is ripped during insertion or removal. The good news is that contact lenses cannot slide behind your eye and will not become stuck back there forever. Figure 1: eye anatomy. Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Will a stuck contact lens work its way out?

Getting a Stuck Contact Lens Out Getting a Stuck Contact Lens Out Stuck contact lenses happen with regularity, but before retrieving them, it is important to start by properly washing your hands. The proper procedure to remove a trapped lens depends on where exactly on the surface of the eye it is stuck.

  • Safely removing a stuck contact lens can be a time-consuming and frustrating task, so it is important to blink regularly (to lubricate both the lens and the eye) and to be patient.
  • In most cases, properly removing a stuck contact lens can take about 15 minutes with minimal discomfort.
  • If there is persistent discomfort, call a doctor for help.

Almost everyone who uses contact lenses will inevitably get a lens stuck in their eye. It is simply a natural risk of using them. As annoying as the experience is, it is not dangerous to the eye, and the lens itself can be easily retrieved. Once your hands are sufficiently clean, turn your attention to getting your stuck contact lens.

Where Is the Stuck Lens? To begin, find the exact location of the contact lens in your eye. If, for example, the lens is fully centered on the cornea (the clear, protective outer layer of the eye), the lens has probably already dried out. People who fall asleep while wearing their contacts will be familiar with this.

If this happens, 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.

  • The movement will be very noticeable, so you will know if you are on the right track.
  • In the event that the lens remains stuck, rinse several more times.
  • Try to frequently blink after each rinse, to make the lens move.
  • The goal is to rehydrate the lens, so it becomes moveable.
  • This could take as long as 10 minutes of rinsing, blinking, and massaging.

When the lens starts to easily move, it can be removed like normal. If the Lens Is Stuck Off Center If the contact lens is stuck off the center of the eye, you should move your eye in the opposite direction of where it feels like the lens is stuck. If it feels like the lens is stuck under your upper eyelid, for example, then look down.

  1. If the lens is stuck in the left corner of your eye, look all the way to the right.
  2. Then, lightly massage your eyelid and blink frequently.
  3. This will move the lens to the center of the eye, where it can be removed.
  4. 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, you can try to put a new contact lens on the eye and blink as you normally would. This can pull the stuck contact lens back to the center of the eye, where you can easily take it out. Gas Permeable Contact Lenses and Suction Cups Gas permeable contact lenses can also get stuck in the eye.

If this happens to you, the way to remove it is different. Do not massage the eye because doing so might cause the harder gas permeable lens to scratch the surface of the eye. If the lens is stuck on the sclera (the white of the eye), you can use the flat part of your fingertip to softly press the eye, just past the edge of the lens.

This will break the suction that is keeping the lens stuck in the eye. Similarly, you can use a small suction cup, which is sold in the eye care section of drugstores. The cup has a concave end, which you press onto the center of the stuck lens. The lens adheres to the cup, and you can delicately pull the lens free.

  • It might be the case that no matter what you try, the contact lens remains stuck.
  • If this happens, call a doctor immediately.
  • Blinking and Patience Something to keep in mind when trying to safely remove a lost contact lens is to keep blinking.
  • Every blink moisturizes the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid, increasing the chance of the lens becoming dislodged for retrieval.

Even if the lens needs a little help being removed, the lubrication will assist with the process and ensure that your eye and the contact lens itself are not damaged. It might also take a while for the lens to be removed, so take care not to be frustrated or worried.

What do I do if I think I have a contact lens stuck in my 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 the contact stuck in your eye is properly centered on your cornea, the lens has probably dried out.

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?

Is your contact stuck?
It can be alarming if you just can’t get your contact lens out of your eye. It feels like you might injure your eyeball or damage the contact if you keep trying. But remain calm. Take a deep breath. And try the steps we’ve suggested here. If you still can’t get it out, it’s probably best to stop trying and call an eye doctor, They can help you safely remove the lens and perhaps even help you prevent this from happening in the future.

How long can a contact be in your eye?

How many hours per day can you safely wear contacts? Most people can safely and comfortably wear contact lenses for 14 to 16 hours per day. It’s always best to try to remove them as soon as possible before you go to bed at night to give your eyes a chance to breathe without lenses in.

Can feel contacts when I blink?

Contact lens awareness – Does your contact lens feel like it’s moving around in your eye? It may mean your lens does not fit your eye properly. If your lens is too loose on your eye, or if the diameter or base curve is not accurate, it can cause an increased awareness of your lenses, especially when you blink.

On the other hand, your lens is too tight, you may not notice any discomfort for a few hours, as the lens will feel comfortable at first— but do not ignore this problem as there can be long term consequences of wearing tight lenses. If your lenses are a proper fit, but they continue to cause discomfort, or an awareness that you can’t figure out, it may be time to replace your lenses.

This sensation can occur when dirt and residue build up over time on the lens surface, causing an increased awareness of the lens on your eye.

Can a contact lens go behind your eye?

Answer: It’s actually impossible for a contact lens to move behind your eye. A contact lens might get dislodged from its position and slide under your eyelid, but it’s easy to stroke it back into position using your finger.

What happens if you leave a contact in for a week?

Risks of wearing contacts too long – Contact lenses that are left in too long can lead to the following conditions:

Corneal ulcers (infectious keratitis): An open sore in the outer layer of the cornea. Hypoxia: A lack of oxygen that can lead to abnormal blood vessel growth into the cornea. Damage to corneal stem cells needed to keep the cornea clear for good vision. Chronic inflammation that can lead to contact lens intolerance.

Why is one contact blurry?

Why Is My Contact Lens Blurry in One Eye Only? If you have blurry vision in one eye but not another, it may mean the blurry lens needs to be cleaned or isn’t inserted properly. It’s also possible that your vision has changed in one eye more than the other and you need an updated prescription.

Can you nap with contacts?

Eye doctors advise against napping with your contacts in. Yes, even if the nap is shorter than an hour, it can still increase the chances of irritation and infection in your eyes. You’ll also probably wake up with ‘sticky’ or dry eyes, and no one wants that!

What happens if you accidentally put two contacts in one eye?

JUN 05, 2015 Question: Is it possible that wearing two contact lenses in one eye could have caused a corneal ulcer ? The lenses were on day two of a two-week lens, and there was more than one in the packet I subsequently discovered. Later that evening I developed pain, and was told I had an ulcer.

Could this be due to wearing more than one contact lens in one eye? Answer: Wearing two contact lenses adds to lack of oxygen for the corneal surface, and the cornea develops hypoxia (oxygen deficiency). Hypoxia is a perfect environment for bacteria to grow so it does increase the risk of infection when two contact lenses are worn over the eye.

The major risk factor for hypoxia is sleeping in contact lenses, so make sure to always take out contacts at nighttime before sleep.

Can I wear contacts for 12 hours?

For lifelong glasses-wearers or those new to contacts, it can be difficult to determine how long to wear contacts each day. With a wide variety of lenses available, the specific directions and differences between the types of contacts can be intimidating and slightly overwhelming.

Contact lenses range from daily and one-time wear styles, to FDA- approved overnight lenses, thus creating a variation in how long contact lenses can be worn. However, Contacts Direct is here to dispel rumors and to let you know once and for all how long you can wear contact lenses. “As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to wear your contacts for a full day without a problem,” explains Dr.

Wende, Medical Director for ContactsDirect. “This length of time can be as long as 16 hours a day for some people, but may only be eight hours a day for others.” The difference between the length of time differs from person to person, and can be due to individual factors like dry eyes, work environment or increased sensitivity.

  • Typically, those with dry, sensitive eyes can’t wear contacts for as long as someone who does not suffer from these symptoms.
  • If this is the case, switching to contacts specifically designed for dry, sensitive eyes could be beneficial.
  • If you are new to contact lenses and have been wondering how long you should wear contact lenses for the first time, the same rules typically apply.

Wearing contacts for the first time may initially cause some awareness, and it will take your body a couple minutes, hours, or even days to get accustomed to the sensation. On your first day of contact lens use, try to wear them for about eight hours or as much as recommended by your doctor to give your eyes a chance to adapt.

Use this time to make sure that your eyes are adjusting nicely to the contact lenses, and that no discomfort or irritation has occurred. Whether new to contacts or a seasoned veteran, always report any discomfort or irritation to your eye doctor. Another important factor to consider in determining how long to wear contacts each day is the type of contact lens you’ve been prescribed.

Most contact lenses should not be worn overnight, as it could increase the risk of eye infection. Contacts meant for daily or one-time use can generally be worn up to 14 to 16 hours with no problem, but your doctor may recommend a contact-free hour or two before bedtime in order to rest your eyes.

  • Contacts designed for continual use can be worn overnight, but, again, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
  • If you have more questions about contact lenses and how long they can be worn, explore all our options for daily disposable, weekly disposable, and day & night contact lenses.
  • Then call us to order! 1-844-5-LENSES.

October 16, 2020

How long is too long to leave contacts in?

Recommended Wear Times for Different Contact Lenses – The FDA-approved length for wear time of common contact lenses include:

Extended wear contacts can be worn continuously. This means they can be worn overnight for anywhere from one to four weeks, depending on what is recommended by the manufacturer. Daily wear contact can be worn daily but should be removed prior to sleeping. While they are not in use, they need to be stored in a case with saline solution. Depending on the manufacturer, these lenses should be replaced anywhere from every two weeks to every other month. Daily disposable lenses should be worn daily and discarded at night. You will then apply a new pair the next day.

The manufacturer’s recommendations and what your eye doctor recommends will help you determine what “too long” will mean for your contact lenses.

Can you leave contacts in too long?

Symptoms of Contact Lens Overuse – The eyes are significantly compromised without proper oxygen flow. Leaving contacts in your eyes for too long can have side effects, such as eye pain, blurred vision, red eyes, watery eyes, ulcers, sensitivity to light, and irritation.