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How To Tell if a Contact Lens is Still in Your Eye?

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Close-up of a woman’s left hand holding a contact lens.

While contact lenses are a great alternative to glasses, they can cause complications if left in your eye. Losing sight of a contact lens in your eye can be scary, but don’t panic; before you rush for emergency care, look in the mirror to try and find your contact lens. 

You can find a lost contact lens by looking in the mirror in a well-lit bathroom. Contact lenses have a slight tint on their edges, or you may find the lens under your eyelid. After locating the lens, you can remove it safely alone or with help from your eye doctor

Finding a lost contact lens can help avoid a trip to the eye doctor. 

How Do Contact Lenses Get Stuck?

Contact lenses can get stuck in your eye when they shift during daily use. You might rub your eyes or get hit in the head, shifting the lens away from the eye’s centre. Contact lenses don’t always get stuck because they move out of place, they can also be dry. 

Contacts can get dry during use, potentially causing them to become stuck. A common tip to help keep them moist is using specialized eye drops, but not everyone can benefit from them alone. 

Many patients live with dry eyes, making it difficult to wear contact lenses. If you suffer from consistent dry eyes, speak with your optometrist. They can help determine the root cause of your symptoms and recommend ways you can still enjoy your contact lenses. 

How to Find a Missing Lens

Regardless of how your contact gets lost, you can find it by first looking in the mirror. Contrary to a popular myth, your contact lens can’t get stuck behind your eye because your conjunctiva prevents this. Your lens will likely be somewhere on the front of your eye or trapped underneath eone of your eyelids. 

You can find a stuck or lost contact lens with the following steps: 

  • Wash your hands and look in the mirror in a well-lit bathroom
  • Look at the front of your eye for the slight tint of the edge of your contact lens
  • Pull your lower eyelid down, followed by your upper eyelid, to look for the lens

While your contact lens can fall out, it’s likely hidden in your eye. 

What Happens If You Wear Your Contacts for Too Long?

Contact lenses provide clear vision without the hassle of wearing frames. However, proper usage is essential for preventing issues. If worn for too long, contact lenses can disrupt oxygen flow to the eye, potentially causing redness, dryness, and irritation. 

Additionally, prolonged usage may cause the cornea to become more susceptible to infections.

What to Do If Your Contact Lens Is Stuck

Sometimes, there’s a quick fix for a stuck contact lens. You can move it into place by blinking, gently massaging your eyelid, or using eye drops to help hydrate the lens. If your lens is truly stuck, you’ll need to remove it with your hands. 

Removing a stuck contact lens depends on the lens material—you must handle soft and hard contact lenses differently. 

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses can easily dry out and get stuck in your eye. Wash your hands and gently grab the lens to remove it from your eye. If the lens is stuck under your eyelid, gently massage your lid until you can grab the lens. 

Hard Contact Lenses

Rigid contact lenses aren’t as flexible as soft lenses, making it easier for debris to get stuck underneath. Be careful removing these lenses if they’re stuck to avoid complications like a scratched cornea

If you have a hard contact lens stuck in your eye, gently press the edge of the lens with a clean finger. The lens edge will slightly raise, and you can safely remove it from your eye. 

When Do You Visit Your Eye Doctor?

While you can safely remove your contact lens alone, don’t let pride affect your safety. Visit your optometrist if you can’t remove your lens or it’s been stuck for several hours. They can remove the lens and examine your eye for additional problems. 

Contact Lens Maintenance is Essential

Contact lenses are a convenient and popular alternative to glasses, but proper maintenance is crucial for maintaining eye health. Contact lenses require regular cleaning and disinfecting to prevent bacteria or foreign particles from causing infections. 

Not following proper hygiene can lead to eye irritation, inflammation, and even serious eye infections that can cause long-term damage. 

The following tips can help you take care of your contacts at home

  • Follow your optometrist’s instructions for inserting, removing, and cleaning your contact lenses
  • Only wear your lenses for their recommended length
  • Regularly replace your lenses and lens case as recommended by your eye doctor
  • Never sleep in your contact lenses
A woman in an optical clinic shaking hands with her optometrist.

Protect Your Eye Health

A stuck contact lens can irritate your eyes and even lead to an infection. If you cannot remove the lens alone, visit your eye doctor—they can help protect your eye health. 

Contact LMC Optometry and Eye Care for all your contact lens needs. 

Written by LMC Optometry & Eye Care

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