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How to Remove Contact Lenses

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A close-up image of a removed contact lens resting on an open case.

Contact lenses are an extremely convenient alternative to eyeglasses. But sometimes, removing a contact lens can be daunting—especially for beginner contact lens wearers. That’s why our team at Family Vision Care made this guide on how to properly remove your contact lenses.

At all times, make sure you’re practicing proper hygiene; you can’t be too careful when it comes to your eye health. Make sure to wash your eyes before and after handling your lenses, and keep an eye on the expiration dates of your contacts. This way, you can enjoy all of the benefits of your contact lenses without putting your eyes at risk.

Practicing Proper Hygiene

Before you handle your lenses or touch your eyes, make sure you begin by thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water. Your hands come into contact with bacteria, germs, dirt, and all kinds of harmful contaminating particles every day; by washing your hands, you’re removing these potential hazards before they can become a problem.

It’s also a good idea to find a clean, well-lit area to remove the lenses, like near a bathroom sink with a mirror. If you’re nervous about potentially dropping a lens, it helps to throw a towel down in the sink to catch the lens before you lose it.

Preparing the Contact Lens Case

Before you remove the lens, prepare the case. Storing contact lenses is a crucial part of keeping them safe!

Make sure to check the expiration date of your multi-purpose contact solution. If it is out-of-date, make sure you dispose of the solution appropriately. When solutions expire, they become a breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful contaminants, and it isn’t worth the risk of exposing your eyes to these particles. In addition, your contact lens case should be replaced at least every three months.

Prepare the case by rinsing it out with your contact solution, making sure it’s clean. Dry it out before filling it with fresh solution. Then, you’re ready to remove the lenses.

A Step-by-Step Guide for Removing Contact Lenses

Now, let’s get to the main event: removing your contact lenses. 

A woman looking at herself in the mirror carefully removing a contact lens from her right eye.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1. Look up and gently pull down your lower eyelid with your middle finger.
  2. Using your index finger, locate the contact lens on your eye. Slide the lens slightly down off of the cornea.
  3. Gently pinch the lens between your index finger and thumb.
  4. Carefully pull the lens away from your eye, making sure not to pinch too hard or scratch your eye.
  5. Place the lens in the palm of your hand and rinse it with contact lens solution.
  6. Store the lens appropriately, making sure the case is tightly sealed.
  7. Repeat the process for the other eye.

If the lens isn’t being cooperative, slow down and approach the situation with care.

How to Remove a Stuck Contact Lens

Sometimes, a stuck contact lens can cause you to panic. It’s crucial to stop, breathe, and take a moment—this is a fixable situation, and panicking won’t help!

Make sure you never try to remove a stuck lens with a sharp object or excessive force. This can cause serious damage to your eye, leading to all kinds of long-term problems. Instead, try to:

  • Take a rest: If your eyes are irritated and the lens feels stuck, pushing harder will only increase your discomfort. It can help to take a two minute breather to let your eyes remoisten and calm before trying again.
  • Blink: Sometimes, this is all it takes to gently move a stuck lens into a position where it’s easier to remove.
  • Look in different directions: The movement can help shift the lens into a more suitable position, especially if it has started to drift on its own.
  • Moisten your eye: Using multi-purpose contact lens solution or re-wetting eye drops to shift the lens.
  • Gently massage the eyelid using the palm of one finger. Don’t apply too much pressure; you should barely touch the eyelid.

If the lens still won’t budge, contact your optometrist for advice. Don’t try to pry out the lens or pull too hard; that’s a quick way to damage your eyes. A scratched cornea is much more uncomfortable than a stuck lens and will take much longer to heal.

Properly Storing Your Contact Lenses

After removing your lenses, it’s crucial to store them properly to maintain their cleanliness. Make sure each lens goes into the designated compartment and is fully submerged in the contact lens solution.

Some lenses may have specific storage requirements, so make sure you’re constantly keeping an eye on expiration dates, storage tips, and any other advice on the packaging. If you’re ever unsure of the correct way to maintain your contacts, talk to your optometrist.

Talk to Us About Contact Lenses

If you have any questions or concerns about your contact lenses, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Family Vision Care. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is always here to help. If you’re due for a contact lens check-up or want to explore new lens options, book an appointment with us today!

Dr. Jessica DeLuca

Written by Dr. Jessica DeLuca, OD

Dr. Jessica DeLuca received her doctorate at The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 2021 graduating Magna Cum Laude. She also received the 2021 Excellence in Binocular Vision and Pediatrics Award.

She has extensive training in fitting contact lenses, performing diabetic eye exams, as well as managing dry eye, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and attended the University of Pittsburgh for her undergraduate education.

Her favorite hobbies include exercising, spending time outdoors, and relaxing with her dog.

More Articles By Dr. Jessica DeLuca, OD

We’re Invested in Your Eyes

Feel confident in the care you receive from our team at Family Vision Care. We’re always looking for improved technology and techniques to take care of your eye health and vision.

A visit to our office is an experience that is thorough and efficient. We take care of the whole family from 5 years old and up with comprehensive services, including eye exams, contact lens fittings, dry eye therapy, eye disease management, and more. 

Find your next pair of unique frames to suit your style with the help of our friendly and professional team. Look, feel, and see your best!

Is it time for your next eye exam? Visit us today!

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