How to Remove Stuck Contact Lenses

Getting a contact stuck up under an eyelid or flat against the eye is a common occurrence among contact lens wearers. Lenses become stuck when eyes dry out or when you rub them and dislodge the lens from its seated position. The thin plastic can roll up and become stuck or just refuse to budge. There are steps you can take to remove stuck contact lenses without creating additional problems.

Wash your hands well, rinsing all the soap off so that you don't exacerbate the situation by getting soap in your eyes that will burn. Doctors at the American Optometric Association advise patients to avoid cream soaps that are difficult to rinse off, leaving residue that can transfer to the eyes and contacts.

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Lubricate your eye with rewetting drops. Hold open your eye with two fingers from one hand and drop the solution into your eye with the other hand. The solution will add moisture to your dry eyes and loosen the contact. It may fold up, making it easier to remove.

Locate the contact lens by stretching your eyelid up and to the side. Continue to stretch each corner of the eye until you locate the errant lens. Even clear contacts have a light tint to make them easier to find in the soaking solution and in your eyes. Once you've located the stuck or rolled-up contact, you can begin to work it out with your fingertip.

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Relax if you can't loosen it right away. Doctors at All About Vision report that the eyeball is located in a closed pocket 1. A contact that has moved off its center has nowhere to go other than somewhere else on the eye. Walk away and try to unstick it after taking a break. As long as you're not in pain, you can wait for 30 minutes or an hour and allow the lens to work itself out to a point where it is easier to grab.

Use a lens plunger or DMV remover, if you have hard or gas-permeable contacts, or a soft contact lens handler. The tools are sold at pharmacies or through your optometrist, if you have trouble getting a contact unstuck from your cornea. These small suction devices suck the contact out of the eye, allowing you to keep your fingers out of your eye.

Make yourself cry by watching a sad movie or by squeezing your eyes shut. Allow time for your tears to wash the lens out of the corner the same way doctors at Oaklawn Optometrists in Florida advise workers to wash out particles that might fly into the eyes.


Talk to your eye doctor about treating dry eyes, if that's the reason you keep getting contacts stuck in your eyes. Doctors at All About Vision report that a procedure such as lacrimal or punctual occlusion can correct the problem by plugging up the tear system in the eyes, helping your eye to retain more moisture.


Follow the directions given to you when you get your contacts to avoid sticking. Leaving contacts in for longer than recommended can lead to sticking and other eye problems. Doctors at All About Vision report that improper contact use can lead to infections, corneal warping and blindness.