Eye Health Central

How Do I Remove My Contact Lenses


How To Remove Your Soft Contact Lenses

Assuming that you have managed to insert your contact lenses! Now, how do you get them out? Many contact lens wearers find removing their lenses is easier than inserting them.

Below are some rtips and tricks on removing your contacts in this handy guide.

Removing your contact lenses is as easy as 1-2-3-4

1. Clean your hands.

2. Pull down your lower eyelid.

3. Pinch the contact lens gently.

4. Look up and slide the lens downwards

Let me explain in more detail

How To Remove Contact Lenses   

After thoroughly washing and drying your hands with a clean lint free towel, follow these simple steps: 

  •  Using your non-dominant hand, pull up on your upper eyelid with your forefinger and middle finger.
    Removing Soft lenses step 1
  •  Simultaneously pull down on your lower eyelid with the middle finger of your dominant hand.
  •  Using your dominant hand’s index finger, slide the contact lens slightly down towards the right. Some contact lens wearers find it’s easier to stare upwards and slide their contact straight down. As you get more comfortable taking out your contacts, you will develop your own preferred technique.
    Remove soft lenses step 2 slide lens
  •  Grab the lens by pinching it with your thumb and index fingers.
    Remove soft lenses pinch stage 3
  •  If you’re using a two-weekly or monthly lens, wash it with a disinfectant solution and place it inside your lens case that has been freshly refilled with solution.  
    Remove soft lenses stage 4 cleaning

Never rinse your eyes or contact lenses with tap water. It’s extremely easy for harmful waterborne microorganisms to attach themselves to contact lenses. 

How To Take Out Contacts With Long Nails? 

As a general rule it is recommended contact lens wearers cut their nails about once per week, however, if you have just paid out for a French Manicure or new acrylic nails that's not likely to happen! While it’s possible to insert and remove contacts with long nails, it’s far more difficult and not so hygienic and takes a little practice.

Check out this YouTube clip for some advice on how to insert and remove contact lenses with acrylic nails/long nails - if you just want to watch insertion and removal techniques start at the 2.00 mark, if you just need the info on how to remove your lenses skip to the 3.00 mark.

Remember to start with clean dry hands.

As your nails are sharper than your fingertips, it makes it far more likely you will scratch your lenses or your eyes if you handle your lenses with your nails. Plus, nails provide a great trap for dirt, grime, and bacteria, all of which could easily end up on your lenses. 

Even with normal-length fingernails, you need to be careful and only handle your contact lenses with your fingertips. If you get in the habit of holding your contacts with your nails, you could easily scratch or tear your lenses or expose them to debris.   

Other techniques to remove a contact lens are to slide the lens down to a corner of your eye, where you can easily remove it.

  • Wash and dry your hands on a lint free cloth.
  • Using your index finger pull the top eyelid and lashes up to create maximum space.
  • Using your middle finger, pull your lower eyelid down.
  • Look up and use your index finger to slide the contact lens to the bottom inside corner of your eye - you may have to do this a few times to dislodge the lens
  • You will feel the lens fold or scrunch up on itself making it easy to pick out of your eye


Look up to the ceiling, position your index finger at the bottom of the lens and gently apply pressure to sweep the lens down, where you can pinch the lens between your thumb and finger to easily remove it.

Can I Remove Soft Contact Lenses With  Tool?

can i remove soft contact lenses

There are a variety of suckers on the market, like Optiwand, that are used to hold your contact lenses for insertion, they cannot be used for removal. 

Soft contact lenses are porous, so the sucker can't get a sufficient seal on the contact lens. 


However, customers have found it useful by placing the device over the contact lens and pinching the end of it - especially if they have large fingers. Customers on Amazon are divided in their reviews - a lot find it indispensable for insertion, while others find it useless. Remember if you use this device to clean it regularly. 

Can I remove Contact Lenses with Cotton Buds?

The simple answer is NO.

The chance of introducing bacteria and foreign bodies into the eye increases by using implements such as cotton buds, the fibres can easily come loose and remain in the eye, causing irritation, plus you lose sensation when using a cotton bud so it very easy to apply too much pressure and cause your eye to become red and inflamed. 

It has been known for contact lens wearers to use Q-tip or something similar to remove contact lenses but this is not a practice I can condone, your fingertips really are your best way of removing contact lenses

How often should I change my Contact Lens Case?

According to the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) you should replace your contact lens case at least every month. Using a case for longer than three months will put you at greater risk for infectious diseases.

While on the subject of contact lens cases, remember to only wash these cases with an approved contact lens solution. It’s also important to air dry out your lens case when not in use and place them upside-down without the caps on. If you notice any mould, or accidentally expose your lens case to tap water, then you should throw it away immediately.  

Most all-in-one solutions come with a free contact lens case which allows you to change your contact lens case every time you run out of solution, which is approximately monthly.

You don't have to stick with the boring white cases that come with the solution, so why not show your individuality with a more personalised contact lens case?

How To Desensitise Your Eyes

For some people, touching their eyes is no big deal; for others, it’s a Herculean task. If you’re someone who struggles to touch your eyes, there are a few simple ways to prep yourself for contact lenses before you even ask your optometrist about them.

First, buy some artificial tears and practice putting a few drops in each eye every day. Once you can put in these drops without flinching, try practicing touching your eyes, wash and dry your hands and hold your eye open as if you were about to put in a contact lens, now, slowly bring your dominant hand’s index finger forward until you can touch the eye. If it helps, look upward and only touch the whites of your eyes.  

I know removing and inserting your lenses can appear difficult and even traumatic in the early days, but every contact lens wearer out there (approximately 3.7million in the UK alone) has successfully mastered the techniques - it's just a matter of time and practice.

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 20 Feb 2024, Last modified: 20 May 2024