contact lens in the eye

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

Struggling with how to tell if a contact lens is stuck in your eye? Look for irritation or a gritty feeling, but don’t rely on guesswork.

All contact lens wearers will face this at some point. Is my lens stuck?

Our guide offers step-by-step advice to identify and resolve this uneasy dilemma promptly. Keep reading to navigate this common contact lens conundrum with ease.

If you wear contacts, our straightforward guide will teach you how to tell if a contact is still there and what to do about it.

Key Takeaways

  • If you suspect a contact lens is still in your eye, look for visual clues like a slight tint and pay attention to physical sensations such as discomfort or excessive tearing.

  • To locate a dislodged lens, lubricate your eye with eye-friendly drops and carefully flip the eyelid; for removal, press gently and pinch soft lenses or use a suction cup for rigid lenses.

  • Prevent contacts from getting stuck with proper care, correct insertion and removal techniques, regular eye exams, and seek professional help if you can’t remove the lens or experience persistent irritation.

Detecting a Dislodged Contact Lens

detecting a stuck contact lens

To determine if a contact lens is still in your eye, ensure you have not found it on your clothes, nearby surfaces, or the floor.

If you cannot locate the lens outside of your eye, you should look for evidence of irritation, redness, or the sensation of something still in your eye, which are common indicators that the lens may be there.

7-Step Guide to Locate and Remove a Contact Lens

Here are 7 steps to locate and remove a contact lens:

  1. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly to prevent transferring bacteria to your eyes. Wash with an unscented, simple soap.

  2. Look in a mirror under bright lighting to see if you can spot the lens. A mirror is your best friend here. Contact lenses often have a slight tint, making them visible near the iris if moved off-centre.

  3. If you notice the lens has folded or moved, try blinking repeatedly or gently massaging your upper lid to reposition it.

  4. If you still cannot it, gently pull down your lower lid and then your upper lid to check these areas.

  5. If the lens is stuck because it has dried out, moisten your eye with artificial tears or a saline solution to help loosen it. Do not use tap water as it is not sterile.

  6. For soft contact lenses, once you locate it, you can gently nudge it out of your eye. If it is stuck under your eyelid, you may need to massage your lid gently to work it free.

  7. Avoid sliding it across your eye for rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contacts. Instead, press your clean fingertip gently against the contact lens’ edge to break the suction or use an applicator if available.

If you have tried these steps and still cannot find or remove the contact lens or experience significant discomfort, it is important to seek help from an eye doctor.

Eye care professionals have the equipment and expertise to identify and safely remove it if it’s still in your eye. They can provide further guidance on best practices to prevent this from happening again.

Identifying a stuck contact lens in your eye is vital. Not only can it cause discomfort, but it can also lead to serious eye complications. The good news is that a dislodged contact often leaves telltale signs that can help you detect its presence.

Take a good look in the mirror under bright light. You might be able to spot a slight tint near the iris, which is a common characteristic of most contact lenses. However, there’s more to identifying a dislodged contact than just visual signs – let’s delve into that.

What Are The Signs That a Contact Lens is Stuck in Your Eye

The evidence of a contact lens stuck in your eye can vary, but common indicators include:

  1. Irritation and Redness: Your eye may feel irritated, and you might notice visible redness. This is a common reaction to a foreign object being stuck in your eye, like a contact lens.

  2. A feeling of Something Being Stuck: You might feel something in your eye, like sand or grit under your lid.

  3. Excessive Tearing: Your eye may start to produce more tears than usual in an attempt to flush out the contact lens.

  4. Burning Sensation: A burning feeling in one or both eyes can indicate that a contact is stuck.

  5. Sharp, Scratching Pain: You might experience a sharp pain in your eye, which could be a sign that the contact lens is causing a scratch or irritation on the surface of your eye.

  6. Difficulty Opening Your Eyes: If it’s painful or difficult to open your eyes, this could be due to a lens being stuck.

  7. Blurred Vision: Your vision may become blurred or distorted if the contact lens is not sitting correctly on your eye.

  8. Sensitivity to Light: A sudden sensitivity to light can also indicate that a contact lens is stuck in your eye.

If you suspect that a contact lens is stuck in your eye, it’s important to take steps to locate and safely remove the lens.

Washing your hands thoroughly before attempting to remove it, using saline solution or contact lens rewetting drops to help lubricate the eye, and gently massaging the eyelid can aid in dislodging the lens.

Steps to Locate a Stuck Contact Lens

signs of a stuck contact lens

Locating it is the next step after determining you have a rogue lens. But before you start, make sure your hands are squeaky clean to avoid transferring oils, germs, and dirt to your eye.

A stuck lens can be elusive, hiding under your eyelids or even folded onto itself. It may have seemingly disappeared!

You can coax it out of hiding with patience and the right techniques. Keep calm and take some deep breaths. Let’s examine the process of eye lubrication and how to flip the upper eyelid.

Lubricating the Eye

Lubrication is your best friend when it comes to dislodging a stuck lens. It’s like giving your eye a gentle, soothing bath. But remember, not all liquids are eye-friendly. Stick to rewetting drops or artificial tears that are designed for your eyes. Saline drops can also be used.

wetting a stuck contact lens

Moistening your eye makes the contact lens more pliable and visible for removal and reduces discomfort. Just make sure to avoid tap water as it can introduce bacteria and pose a risk of infection.

With your eye now lubricated, it’s time to flip the upper eyelid.

Flipping the Upper Eyelid

Flipping the upper eyelid may sound daunting, but it’s simple. Remember, gentleness is key. Don’t use excessive force; a soft action can safely invert the lid.

Start using a cotton swab across the eyelash tips, look downwards, grab the eyelashes, and gently flip the eyelid inside out.

If you’re having trouble, asking another person to assist can make it easier and more effective. Having located the lens, we should proceed to the removal process.

Removing a Misplaced Contact Lens

Once you’ve located the stuck lens, it’s time to extract it gently. The key here is to keep it safe and non-damaging to your eye. But before you start, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid introducing bacteria or debris into the eye.

Depending on the lens type, the removal process can vary. Let’s break it down into soft contact lenses and rigid gas-permeable lenses.

Soft Contact Lens Removal

Soft contact lenses are quite common, and removing them requires a gentle touch. If it isn’t centred on your cornea, gently press with the flat part of your finger to encourage it to move.

If you still find your contact lens stuck, you can place a new one on the eye and blink, which may help pull the stuck lens to the centre.

removing a stuck contact lens

Once it’s centred, slide the lens down to the white part of the eye and gently pinch it with clean fingers for removal. Remember, patience is key during this process.

Rigid Gas-Permeable Lens Removal

Rigid gas-permeable lenses, however, require a slightly different removal process. To remove these lenses, softly press on the eye just past its edge with the flat part of your fingertip to break the suction, moving in the opposite direction of the lens’ curvature.

If that doesn’t work, you can use a small suction cup device by following these steps:

  1. Place the concave end of the suction cup onto the centre of the lens.

  2. Gently press the suction cup to create a seal.

  3. Pull the suction cup away from your eye to remove the lens.

Remember, always handle your lenses carefully to avoid damage to your eye health, especially when you wear contact lenses, and your contact lens is still on your fingertip.

Prevention Strategies

Contact lens cleaning fluid poured into an open container

The adage goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ Proper care, correct insertion and removal, and regular eye exams can help prevent lenses from getting stuck. Let’s delve further into this.

Proper care for a contact lens wearer includes wearing contact lenses responsibly, using a clean contact lens case, using fresh contact lens solution to clean and store contact lenses, never reusing old solutions, and replacing lenses as the manufacturer recommends.

Proper Insertion and Removal Techniques

The correct techniques for insertion and removal are vital in preventing lenses from getting stuck. Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses to prevent the transfer of germs and bacteria to the eye.

Follow the proper procedure for inserting and removing contact lenses using clean and dry hands. This reduces the risk of one getting stuck.

Regular Eye Exams and Lens Maintenance

Maintaining a regular schedule for eye exams and lens maintenance is equally important. Scheduling and attending regular eye exams are essential for verifying that contact lenses fit correctly and for monitoring the eyes’ overall health, especially the cornea.

Proper care requires using an appropriate care system and observing the expiration and discard dates of contact lens solutions. This ensures the safety of your lenses and eyes.

When to Seek Professional Help

Eye exam at eye clinic

Although this guide prepares you to deal with stuck lenses, there are situations where professional help is the best course of action. If you cannot remove a lens or if irritation persists after removal, it’s time to see an eye doctor.

In cases of sudden vision loss or significant pain after removal, immediate professional help is necessary. Let’s examine the evidence of infection or damage that requires immediate medical attention.

Signs of Infection or Damage

Eye infections and damage can occur from improper lens handling and should be closely monitored. Eye discharge, increased tear production, and unusual eye redness can indicate an eye infection related to contact lens use.

If you experience severe pain, a highly irritated or red eye, or suspect corneal abrasion due to a torn contact lens, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately, even after the contact lens has been removed.

Corneal abrasions are a common risk when using contact lenses but can easily be detected by an eye care professional.

New corneal abrasions cause severe eye pain but usually heal quickly, often resolving in a few hours if they are small. If the corneal abrasion is in the middle of the eye, you will usually lose clear vision until healed.

However, professional advice is needed as they can get infected. An eye exam will determine if it is healing cleanly. Remember, your health should always come first. Go and see your eye care professional.


In conclusion, managing stuck contact lenses doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right knowledge and techniques, you can handle it with ease. Remember, always prioritize your eye health and don’t hesitate to seek professional help when needed. As we navigate our lens-wearing journey, let’s keep our eyes on the prize – clear, healthy vision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a contact lens go behind the eye?

No, a contact lens cannot go behind the eye. It’s a very common misconception! It can only go as far as the crease in the conjunctiva under the upper eyelids, so it will always be somewhere towards the front of your eye.

Is it possible for a contact lens to fall out without you knowing?

It’s highly unlikely for a contact lens to fall out without you noticing during normal use, as they are designed to fit securely in your eyes. Contact lenses usually stay firmly in position and don’t randomly fall out.

Will a lost contact lens eventually come out?

Don’t worry; a lost contact lens will eventually come out because the eye’s anatomy prevents the lens from going too far. If this happens to you, stay calm and follow some simple steps to retrieve it easily.

How can I visually detect a dislodged contact lens?

You can visually detect a dislodged contact lens by checking for a slight tint under bright light, which may reveal its location. Keep in mind that this method might help you find it.

How can I safely remove a soft contact lens?

To safely remove a soft contact lens, centre it on your eye, slide it down to the white part of your eye, and gently pinch it with clean fingers.

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