The Ultimate Guide to Safe Contact Lens Removal: Key Dos and Don’ts

A woman removing her contact lenses.

Contact lenses have become an integral part of many people’s lives, providing a convenient and comfortable alternative to traditional eyeglasses. Nowadays, we see a lot of individuals wearing them either solely for vision correction purposes or with a combined fashion-driven intent. Whatever that is, proper contact lens removal is highly important to prevent complications and ensure optimal eye health.

This guide outlines the answers to the many questions revolving around contact lens handling, as well as the essential dos and don’ts to make the contact lens removal process safe and effective.

Why Is It So Hard for Me to Take Contacts Out?

Difficulty in taking out contact lenses can be attributed to various factors. It could be related to insufficient moisture on the lenses or in the eyes, leading to increased friction. Dry or tired eyes, improper hydration of the lenses, or using an expired solution may contribute to the challenge. In addition, anxiety or nervousness during the removal process can cause involuntary blinking or tensing of the eye muscles, making it more challenging. In some cases, selecting an inappropriate removal technique or using excessive force can result in discomfort. 

If you consistently struggle with removing your contact lenses, it is advisable to consult with your eye care professional to identify the specific issue, receive personalized guidance, and ensure the correct method is employed for your comfort and eye wellness.

What’s the Easiest Way to Remove Contacts?

To easily and safely remove your contact lenses, there are important tips and pointers you need to keep in mind. Below are the dos and don’ts of contact lens removal, along with the tricks on how to take out specific lens types securely. 

Do’s:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly.

Before touching your contact lenses, always wash your hands with mild, fragrance-free soap and water. This helps eliminate dirt, bacteria, and other contaminants that could transfer to your lenses and, subsequently, your eyes.

  • Use a clean and dry surface. 

Choose a well-lit and clean area for handling your contact lenses. A bathroom countertop or a dedicated contact lens station can be ideal. Make sure the surface is dry to prevent your lenses from sticking or picking up debris.

  • Blink before removing your contacts.

Blinking before removal helps to moisten the lenses, making them easier to slide off the surface of your eyes. This can reduce friction and the risk of tearing the lenses during removal.

  • Utilize the gentle pinch technique.

Using your index fingers on each hand, employ a gentle pinching motion to remove the lens. Position one index finger on the upper eyelid and the other on the lower eyelid. Gradually pinch your lids together as if softly closing your eyes. This helps facilitate the easy lifting and popping out of the rigid lens from your eye.

  • Employ lid tension for smooth removal.

If the gentle pinch technique does not work well for you, opt for an alternative approach by pulling the outer corners of your eyelids to ease the lens removal process. Position two fingers on the outer upper and lower corners of your eyelids and pull them tight, drawing the skin toward your ear. Simultaneously, let your eyes naturally close and blink. This action promotes the effortless pop-out of the contact lens from your eye.

  • Follow the 20-second rule. 

Hold the solution-filled contact lens case in your hand for at least 20 seconds before placing the lenses in it. This allows the solution to reach room temperature and ensures optimal disinfection.

  • Dispose of daily lenses. 
Daily contact lens removed.

If you use daily disposable lenses, always discard them after a single use. These contacts are not designed for extended wear and reusing them can lead to eye irritation and infections.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t rush the process. 

Taking your time during the removal process is essential. Rushing can result in fumbling, increasing the likelihood of dropping the lenses or tearing them. Set aside sufficient time, especially if you’re new to wearing contact lenses.

  • Avoid using tweezers or sharp objects.

Never use tweezers, sharp objects, or your fingernails to remove your contact lenses. Doing so can damage the lenses and harm your eyes. Stick to using your fingertips, following the recommended techniques provided by your eye care professional.

  • Don’t use saliva or water as a substitute for contact lens solutions.

Saliva and tap water are not suitable substitutes for contact lens solutions. Saliva contains bacteria that can lead to eye infections, while tap water may contain harmful microorganisms. Always use a recommended multipurpose contact lens solution for cleaning and storing your lenses.

  • Don’t mix old and new solutions.

When storing your lenses in the case, ensure you empty and clean them thoroughly before adding a fresh contact lens solution. Mixing old and new solutions can compromise the disinfection process and increase the risk of contamination.

Tips for Specific Lens Types:

  1. Soft Contact Lenses:
  • Soft lenses are more delicate, so handle them with extra care.
  • Make sure your hands are completely dry before touching soft lenses.
  • Apply a few drops of rewetting drops before removal if the lenses feel dry.
  1. Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses:
  • RGP lenses are more durable but may require more precise handling.
  • Use a suction cup or the “pinch and release” technique for easier removal.
  1. Extended Wear Lenses:
  • Prior to removal, blink a few times to moisten your eyes. Extended-wear lenses can stick more comfortably to moistened surfaces. If your eyes feel dry, consider using a preservative-free artificial tears solution to add moisture. 
  • Follow your eye care professional’s recommendations for extended wear contact lenses.

How Can I Tell If a Contact Is Still in My Eye?

A woman getting worried if there's a contact lens stuck in her eye.

If you suspect a contact lens may still be in your eye, carefully examine your sensations and vision. You may experience persistent discomfort, irritation, or a feeling of something foreign in your eye. Look for redness, excessive tearing, or blurry vision. Gently pull down your lower eyelid and inspect the inner surface; you might see the edge of the lens.

Alternatively, observe your eyes in a well-lit mirror. If you are unable to locate the lens or continue to experience discomfort, it is important to seek immediate assistance from your eye care professional. Attempting to remove a stuck or lost contact lens without professional guidance can cause further irritation or potential injury to your eyes.

Key Takeaway

Safe contact lens removal is a fundamental aspect of maintaining good eye health. By adhering to these dos and don’ts, you can make the process more efficient, reduce the risk of complications, and enjoy the convenience and comfort that contact lenses offer. Always consult with your eye care professional for personalized advice and guidance based on your specific lens type and individual eye health needs.