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How to Tell If a Contact Lens Is Still in Your Eye

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A young woman looking in the mirror and removing her contact lens.

We’ve all been there. You’re wrapping up your day, ready to slip into the comfort of your glasses, and suddenly—oh, no—you can’t seem to find your contact lens. But don’t worry, it’s not a serious problem and in fact, it’s pretty common to lose one. So, how can you tell if it’s on the ground or still in your eye?

If you start to develop feelings of irritation, dryness, or grittiness, that’s a good sign the lens is still there. And if your eye starts watering or appearing red, it means your eye is trying to get rid of that pesky lens. But don’t worry, there are steps you can take to help get it out.

When in doubt, you can always call your optometrist for advice.

Common Signs a Lens Is Stuck in Your Eye

There’s one place to start: determining whether or not the lens is actually still in your eyes or if it may have fallen out onto the floor or somewhere nearby.

So, how do you know if your contact lens is playing hide and seek? Look out for these signs:

  • An uncomfortable sensation (like there’s sand in your eye)
  • Visible redness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • A sudden sensitivity to light
  • Persistent irritation and discomfort

These are all indicators that your eye is trying to remove a foreign object—like your contact lens.

How to Check for a Stuck Contact Lens

If you think that it’s definitely a stuck lens, here’s what you should do:

  1. Wash your hands. Always ensure your hands are clean before touching your eyes to reduce the risk of contamination.
  2. Examine your eye. Look closely in the mirror. Check where the coloured and white parts meet to see if you can spot the lens. A stuck lens might also be hiding in the corner of your eye or under your eyelid.
  3. Insert eye drops.
  4. Blink rapidly or move your eye around. The movement might dislodge the lens.

Tips for Removing a Stuck Contact Lens

Gently massage your eyelid to encourage the lens to move. Wash your hands again (hygiene is key), and try to use a clean finger to slide the lens to the corner of your eye. 

If the lens is still stuck, try using a few drops of saline solution. This can moisturize your eye and make the lens easier to move.

Don’t throw away the lens once removed. Instead, keep it aside to examine when you’re done to help you ensure you removed all pieces of the contact lens.

The Importance of Proper Eye Hygiene

When dealing with something as sensitive as your eyes, cleanliness is one of the most important things. Before you handle your contact lenses—whether putting them in or searching for a stuck lens—washing your hands is an absolute must.

You’d be surprised at the number of germs your hands come into contact with daily. These germs can easily transfer to your lenses and then to your eyes, leading to infections. By washing your hands, you’re taking care of almost all of them and stopping them from reaching your eyes.

Keeping your contact lens case clean is equally important. Bacteria love to thrive in moist environments. So, a dirty case could become a bacterial breeding ground. Regularly wash your case and change the solution every day.

Lastly, always follow the recommended wear schedule for your lenses. Overwearing them can cause dryness, discomfort, and even eye infections. And don’t wear expired lenses. If you’re unsure of how to properly care for your contact lenses, you can always speak with your optometrist and get their professional advice.

How to Avoid Losing a Contact Lens In the Eye

To avoid losing a lens in your eye, it can help to always ensure you’re inserting them correctly. Take your time and make sure they’re sitting comfortably on your eye. And remember to never sleep with your lenses in unless they’re designed for overnight wear.

A male optometrist using a medical device to examine the eyes of a female patient and look for potential eye problems.

When to Talk to an Optometrist

A stuck contact lens can be irritating, but taking the right steps can help remove it safely. If your lens is stuck, don’t use tweezers or any kind of excessive force—you don’t want to damage your eye.

Reach out to your optometrist or licensed contact lens fitter immediately for assistance if you’re unsure if the lens is out. It’s better to be safe than sorry, to ensure there is no remaining lens, or any corneal abrasions. 

Our team at West Coast Optical is here to help. If you’re ever unsure about your eye health, don’t hesitate to reach out or book an appointment today to speak with our team.

Written by West Coast Optical

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