Nearly every contact lens wearer experiences a “lost” contact lens at some point.
For oxygen permeable lens wearers, displaced lenses tend to happen more often than for soft lens wearers. Oxygen permeable or RGPs usually displace when rubbing the eye. Once the lens leaves the cornea it can relocate under the upper eyelid or the inside corner of the eye. Before repositioning the lens, wash your hands. Manipulating the eyelids to recenter the lens works for some wearers, Using the eyelid to flip the lens out of the eye can work but increases the chance of losing the lens.
Soft Lenses don’t usually decenter. In most cases the “lost lens” has torn or folded. The lens will not tear in the eye, but it can have a crack or tear which gets worse when handling (when applying the lens to the eye for example). The best way to prevent this is to examine the quality of the lens carefully before putting it into your eye. Never put a damaged lens into the eye.
If the eye is rubbed vigorously the lens can fold or decenter. Make sure to wash your hands before looking for your lost lens. If the lens is off-center, move your eye in the opposite direction of where you think the lens is, and massage your eyelid to help move the contact to the center of your eye. Sometimes putting a new lens in will draw the stuck or lost lens out. In most cases of a lost soft contact lens, the lens is not in the eye. The lens will often fall out when not positioned properly. Due to excess touching and searching the eye is irritated and this irritation feels like a lens. If you can’t see or find the lens, stop looking. Call the office and one of our doctors will look with the biomicroscope and remove the lens if it is still in the eye.