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How to get a broken contact lens out of your eye
Medically reviewed by Alastair Lockwood on 17 December 2020
Accidents happen, and with contact lenses, you might find that every now and again, your lenses tear while you’re putting them in. This can result in a contact stuck in the eye however, you can rest assured that there is no such thing as a lost contact in the eye and there are ways to get a broken contact lens out of your eye.
What does a torn contact feel like?
A torn piece of contact stuck in the eye will often be uncomfortable. Torn or damaged lenses can also interrupt your vision. If you get a piece of torn contact lens in the eye, this should be removed quickly to prevent any further discomfort.
Can a ripped contact hurt your eye?
A ripped contact can hurt your eye, especially if not taken care of. It is not safe to wear a torn lens as the jagged edges can scratch the surface of your cornea. If you've worn the torn lens, make sure you see an optometry specialist.
There’s no need to worry though, as torn contact lenses are rare and become even more unlikely as you get used to contact lenses. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps as an effective safety procedure to remove the broken lens from your eye. These steps will show you how you can get a broken contact lens out of your eye without panic.
- The first thing to do when going to remove a contact lens stuck in your eye is make sure you wash your hands. This should in fact be the first step in any eye care routine in order to prevent bacteria reaching the surface of your eye as this can lead to infections.
- Apply some rewetting drops to your eyes – these eye drops will moisten your eye and make it easier for you to remove the pieces of the lens. Try and blink to move the pieces of contact lens to the corner of your eye.
- Gently massage the lower and upper eyelids until you feel the pieces have come loose.
- After you massage your eyelid, carefully lift your eyelid and remove the lens fragments that are attached.
- Rinse your eyes with a saline solution to ensure hygiene. Our lens solution value pack is an effective and reliable choice for a soft contact lens or a rigid gas permeable lens and is therefore ideal for the task.
Rinse your eyes with a saline solution to ensure hygiene. Our lens solution value pack is an effective and reliable choice for a soft contact lens or a rigid gas permeable lens and is therefore ideal for the task.
You can repeat these steps until you’re confident all of the contact lens has been removed. If, after a few tries, you’ve been unsuccessful, it’s best to visit your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Rigid gas permeable lenses are unlikely to tear due to their durable nature, however if you get a gas permeable contact lens stuck in your eye, you should not follow the above procedure as this can damage the eye. Instead seek help from an eye doctor immediately.
Can a contact lens get stuck behind my eye?
No, this is a common myth among contact lens wearers. It aims to explain when someone may not be able to feel their contact lens on their eye. In fact, the more likely explanation is always that the lens has either slipped to the side of the eye or has fallen out.
It’s important to remember that while a contact lens can become dislodged and move around your eye uncomfortably, it is impossible for the lens to go behind your eye.
Can a contact melt in your eye?
Another urban legend circulating the web is that of contact lenses melting in your eyes when near heat (for example at a barbecue). If this were the case, then firefighters wouldn't be able to wear contact lenses. Of course, being near a fire means you need to take safety precautions of all sorts, but this will in no way affect your ability to wear contact lenses. You would have to have your eyes open for a prolonged period, near a very hot flame for your lenses to literally melt; painful and not to be recommended.
Quick links:How to apply and remove your contact lenses
How can I tell if my contact lens is inside out?
How to avoid ripping contacts