Eye Health Central

What happens if you cry with contact lenses in?

What happens if you cry with contact lenses in?

Crying woman and contact lenses

Crying with contact lenses is completely safe, whether you are crying tears of laughter, sadness or watching a weepy movie, those tears will not damage your contact lenses, although they may dislodge them.
Try dapping your eyes with a tissue rather than rubbing them, as rubbing your eyes whilst wearing contact lenses is a good way to dislodge them.


What Are Tears?

Tears help keep our vision clear, every time we blink a thin layer of tears cleans our eyes and keeps them moist. Tears also help our eyes get rid of foreign bodies such as dust and eyelashes.

Tears are made up of three layers
  1. An oily outer layer - helps lubricate they surface of the eye keeping it smooth
  2. A watery middle layer - helps keep the eye moist
  3. An inner mucus layer  - helps tear stick to the eye


Why Do People Cry?

As far as we know humans are the only animals who cry due to emotions, whether due to sadness, happiness or frustration, tears of emotion are unique to humans and brings us various benefits. Tears can

  • Calm and relax us
  • Help us get support from others
  • Help relieve Pain
  • Improve our mood
  • Relieve stress
  • Help us sleep


Crying with contact lenses whilst safe, can cause a few issues that non contact lens wearers don't experience, but nothing you can't easily handle.

Cloudy Vision

All soft contacts now on the market have been designed to handle a steady stream of tears without falling out of place. So, your contact lenses should have no issue clearing away the excess tears when you are crying. 

Remember, as you cry, the only thing that changes about your tears is that there’s more of them. As your contact lenses deal with this deluge of tears, you might experience temporarily blurred vision, but it should pass in a few minutes. 

The best course of action is to gently dab away the excess tears with a tissue, do not rub your tears away, there's no quicker way to dislodge your contact s than rubbing your eye lid.

A few slow blinks is often all that's needed to clear your vision but if this doesn't work, then you could wash and dry your hands, remove your lenses, and clean them with contact lens solution or a drop or two of rewetting drops.. Once you’ve finished crying, you could re-apply the contact lenses in your (hopefully) dryer eyes.    

Lenses Falling Out 

Unless you’re wearing rigid gas permeable lenses, it’s highly unlikely your soft contacts will fall out while you’re crying. It is common, however, for contact lens wearers to reflexively rub their eyes while crying and move their contact lenses out of place. 

For this reason, optometrists strongly encourage contact lens wearers to avoid touching or rubbing their eyes when crying.

If they have moved out of place, the first thing you'll notice is that you do not see so well! If you can, locate the contact lens in your eye and gently slide it back to the centre.

Instead of rubbing your eyes, consider using a tissue or a handkerchief to gently pat your eyes dry from the inner corner. Do not, however, wash your face with cold water while you still have your contact lenses in. Exposing your contact lenses to tap water significantly increases your risk of getting an infection.

If your contact lenses happen to fall out while you’re crying, you should immediately pick them up and place them in a container full of solution. 

Do not automatically reinsert your lenses, depending where your lenses landed when they fell out will determine if they are safe to reinsert, check the lens for rips or chips, if the lens is damaged you will need to dispose of it. Even if the lens looks clean you will need to rinse and clean the lenses with contact lens solution before reinserting, and debris on the lens not only could be harmful to your eyes but will start them tearing up all over again.

Lenses Clinging To Eyelids

Another common phenomenon for contact lens wearers is lenses getting stuck on their eyelashes or eyelids. This is especially common when you’re crying because the increased tear production makes it easier for lenses to fall out of place and cling to the upper eyelid.

This is actually fairly common - the biggest clue is you cannot see clearly out of that eye!  It can be a great help for a friend to have a look at your eyes to see if they can see the lens on your eyelid - or use a mirror. Simply take the lens off your eyelid or lashes, clean it and reinsert it again providing there is no damage.


Lenses have moved and stuck under the Eyelid

Obviously, crying produces a higher amount of tears in the eye. This increased dose of tears isn't enough, however, to make the contact lens fall out of place. The extra tears will just wash over the surface of the lens. You should experience no abnormal problems if you cry with contact lenses on your eyes.

However, if you have found that the contact lens has vanished - that it is not stuck on your eyelashes or simply been rubbed out of your eye, don't panic, a contact lens cannot be lost behind your eye. There is a chance that it has moved under your upper lid. This is rare - especially for soft lenses. Sometimes, if you have rubbed your eyes vigorously enough the lens can fold over and lodge under the upper lid. 

A contact lens under your eyelid will do no harm! You don't need to go to casualty! If you have sterile contact lens saline solution, stand in front of a mirror and pour some into your eye. Do not squirt saline solution into your eye from a pressurized can - but squirt some into an eye bath, your contact lens case or other sterile container and gently pour it into your eyes. This can be enough to flush it out and you will often find it moves to the inner corner of your eye, where it can be removed. 

Do not poke your fingers into your eyes in the hope of hooking it out. If you cannot get it out, you can go to your Optometrists and have it removed. If it is late at night, it is safe to sleep with the lens under your eyelid - it will not harm your eyes and you will probably not even it. Often, in the morning, the lens will be found in the corner of your eye or on your pillow (dried out). 

If you cannot find it, make an appointment with your Optometrist to see if the lens is still in your eye. If it is, they can safely remove it.

We have a great selection of contacts for everyone’s eye type and preference. Whether you’re looking for daily lenses, continuous wear contacts, silicone hydrogel lenses for astigmatism, or monthly wear contacts, we’ve got what you’re looking for on our site. Plus, we has a fantastic assortment of all-in-one solutions, re-wetting drops, and even sunglasses to help keep your eyes safe. Please take a few moments to look through our website to find the perfect lenses for your lifestyle.


Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 29 Jul 2017, Last modified: 11 Sep 2020