Healthy eyes

What To Do When You Lose a Contact Lens In Your Eye

You may have read the news story of a woman who lost a contact lens in her eye for 28 years. While this is an extreme case, it often happens that contact lenses slip, and you think you have lost them in your eye. But that's no reason to worry. Through this guide, we’ll show you what to do when this happens.

Last Update: 22 December 2023Created by: betterviewReading time: 5 minutes
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Can a Contact Lens Disappear Behind Your Eye?

If you ever find yourself in a situation asking yourself ‘Is my contact lens lost in my eye?’ the short answer is no, a contact lens can’t get lost in your eye. Due to the structure of the eye, it is not possible for a contact lens to disappear behind it. The conjunctiva is fused to the eyelid, and the muscle tissue and tendons ensure that the eye is closed at the back. This makes it impossible for your contact lens to slip behind the conjunctiva.

Would you like to do without contact lenses and glasses permanently? A laser eye treatment only takes 15 minutes and in many cases enables almost 100% vision on the same day. Make an appointment now for a free, non-binding preliminary examination!

Contact Lens Lost in Eye? Here's What To Do

Hard contact lenses are dimensionally stable and easier to feel if they slip behind the eyelid. Unfortunately, it is often painful because hard contact lenses get stuck on the surface of the eye and are then difficult to remove. It's best to use a lens vacuum to remove the lens. If you don't have one on hand, you can moisten your eye with sterile saline solution or a tear substitute. The lens should then be easier to detach and remove from the eye.

Soft contact lenses are much harder to find because they are made of very elastic material. This ensures that they are less noticeable and more comfortable. First, close your eye and run your finger over your eyelid. The lens appears as a slight bump under your finger. You can carefully stroke your closed eye and try to bring the lens back into view and remove it. Sometimes it slips back into position all by itself.

The exact procedure differs depending on whether the lens has slipped under the upper or lower eyelid. We'll show you step-by-step what you can do in each situation.

Contact Lens Under the Lower Eyelid

If your contact lens has slipped under your lower eyelid, it's actually a little easier to get it out. Here’s what you can do:

Step 1: Preparation

Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them with a lint-free towel. Stand in front of a mirror and make sure to close the drain (if you’re near a sink) so that you don't lose the lens if you drop it.

Step 2: Locate the lens

Use your index and middle fingers to gently pull down your lower eyelid. To locate the lens, it helps to move your eye in different directions.

Step 3: Remove the lens

Once you have found the lens, you can remove it as usual with the index finger and thumb of your other hand.

Step 4: Check the lens

Once you have successfully retrieved your lens, you should check whether it has been damaged at all. If the lens contains a tear or any holes, you will need to replace it as this can cause discomfort or impaired vision.

Contact Lens Under the Upper Eyelid

Sometimes, the contact lens can slip under the upper eyelid. Follow these steps to help get it out.

Closeup of closed eye of woman

Step 1: Preparation

First, wash your hands and thoroughly dry them with a lint-free towel. Stand in front of a mirror and if you’re doing this over the sink, make sure you put the plug in in case you drop the lens.

Step 2: Locate the lens

Pull your upper eyelid forward along the eyelash edge or the eyelid skin. You should now be able to see where exactly your lens is located.

Step 3: Remove the lens

Now that you know where your lens is, you can close your eye and massage it gently. This will slide the lens back into the centre of the eye so you can remove it as usual.

Step 4: Check the lens

After successfully saving your lens, check carefully that it has not suffered any damage, such as a tear or hole as these can significantly reduce the comfort of wearing your contact lenses.

Tip: Don't despair if you can't remove a slipped lens right away. Sometimes it takes a few tries until you find it. It may help to put sterile saline solution or some artificial tears into the eye as the lens will come off more easily.

Consult an Ophthalmologist or Optician for Help In an Emergency

If the above steps do not help and you are unable to locate and remove your slipped lens - even after several attempts - you must go to an ophthalmologist or an optician for help. If you still have a feeling of a foreign body in your eye despite successful removal, you should seek advice from a specialist. Sometimes a piece of the lens tears off and remains in the eye which can cause irritation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Prevent My Contact Lenses From Slipping?

Avoid jerking your head around - especially when wearing hard contact lenses as this could cause them to slip under the eyelid. When inserting and removing the lenses, make sure that you do this calmly in front of a mirror. You should also try not to rub your eyes, even if they feel tired or itchy. Use appropriate eye drops instead.

Is It Dangerous If You Have a Lost Contact Lens in Eye?

There is no great danger if your contact lens slips. However, hard lenses can injure sensitive eyes due to their sharp edges. A lost lens that you can't find can cause eye irritation over a long period of time. So, if one of your lenses can't be found, you should consult a specialist.

What Alternatives to Contact Lenses Are There?

If you cannot cope with contact lenses for various reasons or suffer from contact lens intolerance, you can wear glasses. However, this may not be a satisfactory alternative for many. Laser eye correction, on the other hand, is a long-term and successful alternative to contact lenses.

How Do I Know If a Contact Lens Is Still in My Eye?

To check whether your contact lens is still in your eye or not, close your eye and move it in different directions. At the same time, gently stroke your finger over the closed eyelid, to avoid applying too much pressure, until you feel a slight bump under your finger. This is your lost lens. If you don't feel anything, you can pull down your lower or upper eyelids to see if the lens is stuck there.

Has My Contact Lens Slipped Behind The Eye Or Is It Lost?

Sometimes you can lose your contact lens without noticing! First, you should check whether it has slipped under the eyelid. An eye wash with saline solution can also help to rinse the eyes well. If you can't find it, take a look at your surroundings and even search your clothes as a lost lens often remains stuck to them.

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