Getting your contact lens stuck in their eye is a surprisingly common occurrence.
It typically occurs when you forget to take your contacts out before going to bed. It can also happen when some irritant or object gets stuck in your eye, and the contact lens gets dislodged when you rub your eye just a little too hard.
It can be hard to tell whether your contact lens is stuck in your eye, or whether it’s fallen out. That's why it’s important to know the most common signs of having a contact lens stuck in your eye, and how to get it out.
How to Tell Whether a Contact Lens Is Stuck In Your Eye
There are several symptoms you may notice if a contact lens gets stuck in your eye. These include:
- red, irritated eyes
- a sharp, scratching pain in your eye
- difficulty opening your eyes without experiencing pain or irritation
- a burning sensation in one or both of your eyes
There are a number of easy-to-take precautions to prevent contact lenses from getting stuck in your eye, including:
- Ensure you never go to sleep in your contacts, even for naps during the day
- Take your contact lenses out before a shower (or wait until afterward to put them in)
- Never go swimming while wearing contact lenses
Will A Stuck Contact Lens Ever Get Out?
If you do wind up with a contact lens stuck in your eye, don’t panic! In many cases, it’s fairly easy to get them out again. How you do this depends on the type of lens you’re wearing, and where it’s stuck.
Removing a Stuck Soft Contact Lens
The most common type of contact lenses that get stuck in the eye are soft contacts. To get your contact out, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Then, try to find out where the contact lens is located in your eye.
Is it centered on your eye? The lens probably just dried out, which most often happens if you’ve fallen asleep in your contacts.
If this happens, simply rinse your eye under a steady stream of saline solution, contact lens rewetting drops or multipurpose solution for a few seconds. This rehydrates the lenses and softens them up again. Do not use water from the tap for this, as it may cause infection.
After you’ve wet the contact lens, close your eye and gently massage your upper eyelid until you feel the lens move.
You may need to repeat this process a few times before the contact lens comes unstuck. Once you feel the lens moving in your eye again, you can remove it as you normally would.
If your eye is still irritated and red after removing the contact lens, see your eye doctor immediately. You may have scratched your cornea (corneal abrasion), which is dangerous if left untreated.
Is the contact lens stuck on one side of your eye? Move your eye in the opposite direction of where you think the lens may be. If the lens feels like it’s off to the right, look left; if it’s stuck in your upper eyelid, look down—and so on.
Following this, gently massaging the eyelids, blink frequently and use of saline multipurpose solution or rewetting drops. This will cause it to soften, dislodge and move to the center of the eye.
If the lens remains stuck far behind your eyelid, sometimes putting in a new contact lens and blinking normally can help dislodge the stuck lens and pull it to the center of the eye. It can then be removed as normal.
Removing a GP Contact Lens Stuck in Your Eye
Removing a hard gas-permeable (GP) contact lens that’s stuck in your eye is slightly different. Unlike with soft lenses, you DO NOT want to massage the eyelid, as this can cause the hard lens to scratch your eye.
Is the GP lens stuck on the white of your eye? Gently press your eye with the pad of your finger just outside the edge of the lens. This should break the suction that’s keeping the contact stuck in the eye.
You can purchase a small “suction cup” at the drugstore, which is generally located next to other contact lens products. Pressing the concave end of this device onto the center of the GP lens will cause it to “grab” the lens, allowing you to gently pull the lens off the surface of your eye.
Can’t Get The Stuck Contact Lens Out?
If your contact lens is still stuck, contact our Houston eye doctors at Pupila Family Eye Care. We have years of experience with eye emergencies and contact lenses. We’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action.
Want to learn more? Come visit us or give us a call at 346-258-5701 today!
Q: Will contact lenses melt with heat?
- A:In short, no. Contact lenses will not melt in common heat. Contact lenses are sterilized at temperatures of up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and dirty contact lenses that need to be cleaned or re-sterilized are often placed in boiling water.
If contact lenses can withstand boiling water without being destroyed, a heat source would have to be hot enough to boil away the tears in your eyes before your lenses would even begin to sustain damage. Needless to say, this level of heat is not reached by any common source you would encounter day to day.
Q: Why might contact lenses be a good alternative to glasses?
- A:For some people, contact lenses are a much better choice than glasses. This is because contact lenses are a closer fit to the eye, causing less visual distortion and obstruction than glasses. Along with a wider field of vision and increased comfort, contact lenses are also a great alternative to glasses for playing sports. They also don’t get wet in the rain or fog up in cold weather.
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