Contact lens stuck “behind” your eye?

It’s happened to everyone using contacts at least once; if it hasn’t happened to you yet, there is a 99.9% chance that it will, eventually. Have no fear, though! We’re constantly being told that once a contact goes “behind” your eye, you can’t get it back, it will harden back there, your vision will be affected… blah blah blah blah…

It’s actually not as bad as you think!

Here are some things that will educate you about this common problem contact-users face. All of this is based on my personal experiences; I’ve had (and helped myself with) this issue quite a few times now. Hope this helps!

Important Facts to Know

  • It is NOT possible for your contact to literally go behind your eyeball

The anatomy of the human eye physically does not allow for most anything — even a contact lens — to venture behind the eyeball. The layers of muscle and tissue around the lens (see image) will always prevent that from happening.

  • What you feel is actually your lens getting STUCK to eye walls/eyelid

Common Causes

  • Rubbing your eye when you have contacts in
    NOTE: If you have put your contacts in backwards, this action is significantly more likely to send your lens “behind” your eye!
  • Washing your face (or submerging your face in water in any way) while having contacts on
  • Sleeping with contacts in
    NOTE: This is a super dangerous thing to do. By all means, do NOT ever sleep with your lens in! Once your lens loses it’s moisture and hardens up, that’s when things get complicated.

Common Symptoms 

  • lens has gone “behind” your eye
  • “poking” feeling on your eye (like something sharp is in there)
  • blurring (or completely blurred) vision
  • seems as if your lens had fallen out
  • feels like an eyelash is “poking” your eye
  • redness of the eye (normal)

How to Help Yourself

The most important part about all this is acting quickly. I can’t stress enough that, as soon as you feel your lens go “behind” your eye (or whatever other symptom you feel), you need to rush over to the washroom and get it out. Why? Because if you leave it, there is a chance that you will forget about it for a long time. Also, the longer you leave your lens like that, the more it loses its moisture. All lenses naturally retain fluid. It is strongly not advised for people to sleep with contacts because of this common concern: drying out the lenses. It’s always easier to deal with a soft lens than a hard one, simply because a hard one is much more likely to shatter when you go to deal with it. Now, what do you do?

  • Get in front of a mirror. The ones that work best are ones where you can stand directly in front of (like a full-length mirror).
  • Determine where your lens is stuck: upper eyelid, or lower eyelid? Both use the same method for getting it out, just so you know.
  • Let’s say your lens is stuck on the upper eyelid. Grab your fingers and place them on both the outer eyelid and on the skin right below your eye.
  • Pull apart the skin gently, opening your eye wide. While doing this, look directly down (for a lens stuck on the upper eyelid) or up (for a lens stuck on the lower eyelid) until you are able to see the lens, even if it’s just a little bit of it. You will have to do this step several times, until you locate the lens. Try moving your eye around in different directions, tilting your head back/forward for a minute or two… anything to dislodge the lens from the eyelid, even just for a bit. NEVER PUT ANY WATER IN YOUR EYE!
  • Once you’ve found where your lens is, continue holding the position that helps you see it for as long as possible. While your eye is stretched like this, your lens will naturally start to slip back down onto your eyeball. Once it’s there, getting it out is a piece of cake. It’s going to take a lot of effort to help your stuck lens slide itself back onto your eyeball, so have patience and always work carefully. You can’t rush this.
  • Once you lens is more or less on your eyeball (even if it’s not on the part of the eye the lens is usually on), use your finger and take it out, as you normally would.

See the video below for help with putting in and taking out contact lenses.

How to Apply Contact Lenses 

Below is a really helpful video on how to put on contact lenses in general. She is using long-term contacts (hence the lens case) but if you use the “daily disposable” version like me, skip to 2:45 in the video.

Also, notice that her hands are very clean and her nails are short! Your hands are what you are going to be using to put these delicate things on your delicate eyes; make sure that there is virtually no way of hurting yourself with them!

Helpful Tips

  • Don’t be lazy with putting in / taking out your contact lenses. You do only have one pair of eyes after all; think about that for a while. Contacts are a luxury, not a necessity. Luxuries always come at a price, so make sure you don’t pay more than you need to. 
  • Keep your nails short to minimize the chance of you poking your eye or damaging your lens.
  • Always wash your hands before doing anything with your eyes!
  • Avoid letting your contacts lose their moisture or dry out. Often, they come submerged in water. Make sure that they go from their water directly to your eye and not just lie around somewhere to harden.
  • Try not to wear contact lenses for longer than recommended (often this is about 12 hours).
  • Try to give your eyes a break and switch to glasses every now and then. You glasses let your eyes breathe in ways that your contacts don’t!
  • If you do happen to get an eye infection, DO NOT WEAR CONTACT LENSES UNTIL YOUR EYES HAVE COMPLETELY HEALED. Also, avoid wearing makeup at all. For more on how to deal with eye infections, make sure to always Google your symptoms and follow the instructions of credible sites. Never leave things alone to get worse. If you have a problem, the best approach is to deal with it immediately so that you can go back to doing what you need to do as soon as possible.
  • Never submerge your eyes in water, whether it’s by means of washing your face, taking a bath, or swimming. Getting water in your eyes while you have contacts in causes for the lenses to stick onto most any part of your eye, and harden really quickly after doing so. If this happens to you, you will notice that it is much more difficult to take out your lenses.
  • Make sure that you are putting your lenses in the correct way! It is possible to put them in backwards, and it’s a lot of pain and discomfort (and trouble) when you do. Always make sure to do a Taco Test before putting in your lenses!

Good luck!

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