Can I lose a Contact Lens in my Eye?
It’s physically impossible for contact lenses to get stuck behind your eyes. Don’t believe us? Well, pull up an image of the conjunctiva and you’ll instantly see why contact lenses cannot slip into your brain.
Not only does the clear conjunctiva cover the outer surface of the eye, but it also wraps around the back of the eyelids. This fold in the conjunctivas (called the fornix) creates an impenetrable barrier for contact lenses and any other debris that might get caught in your eyes.
It is possible, however, to get a contact lens stuck under the eyelids. Most of the time this happens when a contact lens wearer gets hit in the eye or rubs his/her eye aggressively. Whatever trauma happens to the eye, when a contact feels "lost" it always ends up folding in half and getting stuck behind the upper eyelid. The faint sensation most people feel as their contact gets stuck in the upper eyelid actually has a medical name: "foreign body sensation." Even if you don't feel the contact behind your upper eyelid, you'll definitely notice the lack of clarity in your vision once the lens moves off centre.
The most common solution to this dilemma is to put a few rewetting eye drops into the affected eye and then close the eye for a few seconds. You can also massage the upper eyelid with your eye closed to help the contact lens move to the center of the eye. The folded lens tends to gravitate towards the cornea using this method. Once you see it near the center of your eye, you should be able to easily take it out. Be sure to wash the lens thoroughly in solution before putting it back into your eye. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to dislodge one of these contacts by closing your eye and gently guiding the contact back into place with your fingers. You might have to use quite a few re-wetting drops to properly move the contact lens into place.
If you can’t get the contact lens out of your inner eyelid on your own, then you should call an optometrist for professional help. Leaving contacts behind your eyelids could put you at greater risk for infections and eye damage - although it is safe to do so overnight.
If you can't remove your lens - don't worry. You can ask someone you trust to help you out. If your Optometrist is available, you could also call him/her for assistance.
Just remember, a contact lens can never be "lost" inside your eye. This biological truth will hopefully relax you and make it easier to get the folded contact lens out of your eye.
Can I go to Bed with a Contact Lens Under my Eyelid?
Yes, it will not hurt you at all. If you have got home late at night and 'lost' your contact lens and tried your best to get it out, then just poking your eyes for a long time will not help the situation and just make your eyes redder and make you more convinced that you can feel the lens under your eyelid.
There is a very real chance that it may not be under your eyelid at all, but has fallen out and all you are feeling is the irritation of having poked your eyes for half an hour trying to get the 'stuck' lens out.
At this stage take the following steps:
- Cover your other eye and check if you can see through the eye that you think you have a stuck lens. If you can see clearly, then the lens is probably in place, but maybe 'stuck' on the cornea, usually because it has dried out a little. Use rewetting drops to loosen it up and remove.
- Get someone else to have a look under your eyelid by holding the lid up and shining a good light into your eye.
- If it can't be seen - forget it and go to bed. IT WILL NOT HURT YOU LEAVING IT IN YOUR EYE OVERNIGHT.
- In the morning, if the lens was under your eyelid, you will often find it dried out on the pillow, or in the inner corner of you eye.
- If it is not obvious where it is, and you are still worried, make an appointment with your Optometrist, who can have a look under your lid.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 29 Jul 2017, Last modified: 10 Feb 2020