How to Remove Contact Lenses

Learn how to remove contact lenses quickly and easily.

Taking out a contact lens gives many people the creeps, yes honestly. And it's one of the reasons some people cannot wear lenses.

They overcome their fear of putting contact lenses in but when it comes to taking them out again, panic often takes over, especially if trying to remove them to get grit out of the eye.

I'll start with removing soft contact lenses as around 90% of contact lens wearers use them.

Take Contacts Out

howtoremovecontactlenses Taking out a Soft Contact Lens

contactlenscase Lens Case for Storage

Soft contact lenses need to be "pinched" out of the eye which sounds painful but it really is quite easy.

  • First wash your hands and make sure there is no soap residue left before drying them thorougly on a clean towel.

  • Next gently pull down the lower eye lid to make sure the soft contact lens is freely sitting on the lens, then gently pinch the plastic lens between the thumb and forefinger, pulling it away from the eyeball as you do so.

  • Tip: If you are doing this over the bathroom sink, PLEASE remember to put the plug in or get a drain guard like the one below!

    lens catcher drain guard Lens Catcher Drain Guard - Just $3.95

    This Lens Catcherâ„¢ Sink Strainer lies at the base of your sink and prevents contact lenses from falling into the drain.

    The added bonus is it also catches jewelry and other small items.

    It's made of soft acrylic material that won't tarnish or fray and it fits most pop-up stoppers.

  • If the soft lens doesn't lift away freely, you may not be making enough contact with your fingers and the lens so try again.

  • Once off the eyeball, clean the lens if required and pop it into its overnight storage case filled with clean contact lens solution. Then repeat with the other eye.

If you are totally squemish about touching the eyeball or you just can't get the pinching action quite right, ask your optician for a special suction device called a lens inserter/remover which lifts the lens off your fingers required!

Taking Out Gas Permeable Lenses

Gas permeable lenses are rigid and are much easier to put in as they don't bend and you always know that they are the right way up when inserting them. Taking out gas permeable lenses, however, is a little tricky and requires quite a bit of practice.

While I don't wear them anymore, I remember the first time I wore them and how my optician wouldn't let me leave until I had taken them out at least twice by myself. I think I spent half the day at the optician!

A rigid lens cannot be pinched off the eye easily as it slides around on the eyeball so you have to "flick" the lens out of the eye.

This sounds like a recipe for losing lots of lenses but it's a technique that once mastered is actually very easy.

Here's how to remove contact lenses when they are RGP contacts:

  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly.

  • Place a cloth on a table or, if in the bathroom, put the plug in the sink and place a towel inside, in case you drop the lens. OR use a handy lens catcher like the one mentioned above.

  • Pull the edge of the eyelid towards the ear, looking down as you do so and cupping the other hand under the eye ready to catch the contact lens.

  • This action pulls the top and bottom of the eyelid inwards and should make the lens "flick" out.

Chances are you won't get this right first time, especially if your eyes have dried out a little as the lens will stick stubbornly to the eyeball. So if at first you don't succeed...just keep on trying.

And remember you can always resort to that little suction device if you get really desperate!

Now you know how to remove contact lenses, see our related articles below for other frequently asked questions.

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