Contact lenses are a popular and convenient vision correction option for millions of people around the world. While they offer numerous advantages, such as improved vision and freedom from glasses, it’s not uncommon for wearers to occasionally wonder whether a contact lens is still in their eye. The fear of a lost or dislodged lens can be unsettling. In this article, we will discuss the common signs that can help you determine if a contact lens is still in your eye and provide guidance on what to do if you suspect it has moved or fallen out.
Check for Discomfort or Sensation:
One of the most common indicators that a contact lens may no longer be in your eye is discomfort or an unusual sensation. If you suddenly feel irritation, itching, or a foreign body sensation in your eye, it’s a good idea to investigate. Discomfort can be caused by a lens that has moved, become decentered, or fallen out.
Blinking your eye several times can help redistribute a displaced contact lens. If your lens has simply shifted or folded over, this may reposition it onto your cornea, relieving any discomfort or irritation.
Assess Your Vision:
Pay attention to your vision. If your lens is still in place, you should continue to see clearly with the corrected vision that your contacts provide. A dislodged or missing lens can cause visual disturbances, such as blurriness, double vision, or ghosting of images.
Head to the nearest mirror and examine your eyes closely. Gently pull down your lower eyelid and use your other hand’s fingers to lift the upper eyelid. This allows you to visualize the entire surface of your eye. If your lens is still there, it should be visible on your eye’s surface, appearing as a curved, transparent disc.
Use Artificial Tears:
Sometimes a contact lens can become temporarily stuck to the surface of your eye due to dryness. Instilling a few lubricating eye drops (artificial tears) can help rehydrate the lens and make it easier to move if it’s stuck.
Check the Other Eye:
Compare the sensations and vision in your affected eye to your other eye. If there’s a significant difference in comfort and clarity between the two eyes, it may indicate that your contact lens is no longer in the affected eye.
Examine Your Contact Lens Case:
If you’re unable to locate your contact lens in your eye and suspect it may have fallen out, check your contact lens case. Sometimes, lenses can fall out and adhere to your cheek or clothing. If your lens isn’t in your eye, it may have been dislodged while you were handling it or while blinking.
If in Doubt, Remove and Inspect:
If you’re still uncertain whether your contact lens is in your eye or if you’re experiencing persistent discomfort, it’s advisable to remove the lens and inspect it. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, and then use your fingertip to gently remove the lens. After removal, examine the lens for any damage, such as tears or deposits, which could have contributed to the discomfort.
What to Do If You Can’t Find Your Contact Lens:
If, after thorough inspection and attempts to locate your contact lens, you are still unable to find it, there are some steps you should take:
Don’t Panic: It’s not uncommon for contact lenses to shift or fall out without the wearer noticing. Staying calm will help you address the situation more effectively.
Check Your Clothes and Surroundings: A dislodged lens can sometimes adhere to your clothing, fall on the floor, or be found in the bathroom sink or on a countertop. Carefully search your immediate surroundings.
Keep Your Eye Lubricated: If you suspect your contact lens may have moved out of place due to dryness, use lubricating eye drops to maintain moisture in your eye.
Use a Flashlight: A flashlight can help you examine your eye more closely in case the lens is still in your eye but not immediately visible.
Seek Professional Help: If you’re still unable to locate your contact lens or if your eye remains uncomfortable, it’s crucial to seek professional guidance. Contact your eye care provider for assistance. They can help assess your eye’s condition and address any discomfort or potential issues.
Have a Spare Pair Ready: It’s always a good idea to have a spare pair of contact lenses or glasses available for situations like this. If your contact lens is lost, a spare pair can be a convenient and comfortable backup.
Preventing Lost Contact Lenses:
While it’s not always possible to prevent a contact lens from shifting or falling out, there are some practical tips to minimize the risk:
Proper Fit: Ensure that your contact lenses fit well and are the correct prescription. Ill-fitting lenses are more likely to move or become dislodged.
Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes: Rubbing your eyes can cause lenses to shift. Be gentle when touching or itching your eyes.
Follow Handling Instructions: Always follow the correct handling and care instructions for your specific type of contact lenses. This includes proper cleaning and storage.
Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular eye exams with your eye care provider to ensure your prescription is up to date and your lenses are in good condition.
The sensation of a lost contact lens can be disconcerting, but with a calm and systematic approach, you can determine whether your lens is still in your eye or needs to be located elsewhere. If you’re unable to find your lens, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from your eye care provider to ensure the health and comfort of your eyes. Remember that it’s essential to prioritize your eye health and vision by following proper care and maintenance procedures for your contact lenses.