If you’ve been wearing contact lenses for a significant amount of time, then you probably have had this happen before.
It’s Friday night and you go to a friend’s place, originally planning on just staying for dinner. Your casual evening with close friends somehow turns into a late night of debauchery, and so you end up passing out on the couch at said friend’s place. You wake up to birds chirping and reach over for your phone to check what time it is. Through blurred vision, you see that it’s 6:00 AM and think, “Did someone put sandpaper in my eyes while I was sleeping?” The discomfort is unreal.
To double check (if someone really was that cruel), you head to the bathroom to see what’s going on. Once you have finally pried your eye sockets open to see yourself in the mirror, you realize that your eyes are red with broken blood vessels (bearing resemblance to Stimpy from Ren & Stimpy) and feel as though your contact lenses are pasted to your eyeballs. Which they are.
Putting in contact lenses typically does not cause problems. It’s taking them out or forgetting to take them out that can cause issues.
Contact Lens Stuck in Eye? Here’s Why!
The cause of a contact lens stuck in your eye can be the result of one or several different reasons. Falling asleep with your contact lenses in (whether this is intentional or accidental) is the most common reason for contact lenses being suctioned cupped to your eyeballs. Or maybe you haven’t been taking the best care of your contact lenses? Maybe your contact lenses dried up after you went for a run on a windy day?
Having dry eye syndrome and poor eye and contact lens hygiene are a few cases in which a contact lens can get stuck in your eye. Whereas dry eye syndrome is something that may occur through no fault of your own, eye and contact lens care is something you do have control over.
Tips to Prevent Contact Lenses from Being Stuck in your Eyes
There are some key measures you can take to prevent your contact lenses from getting stuck on your eyes. Taking your contact lenses out before sleeping and then drowning them in contact lens solution is one key step in preventing a contact lens getting stuck in your eye. Knowing how to take out your contacts is also important; using the improper technique can cause a contact lens to get lodged on the side of, or worse, in behind your eye.
Always make sure you wash your hands before putting in contact lenses and try to ensure that your eyes and contact lenses are clean and bacteria-free. Bacteria can damage your contact lens, dry it out, and cause issues that go far beyond it just being stuck to your eye (I.e: corneal ulcer, keratitis, vision loss, etc).
What To Do When Contact Lenses are Stuck in Your Eyes
You passed out with your contact lenses on. There’s no turning back. Now it’s time for the uncomfortable task of detracting your contact lenses from your sleepy eyes.
First, wash your hands so that you don’t introduce more bacteria into your eye and/or contact lens. Second, locate the lens by closing your eyes, relaxing the lids and thinking about where the contact lens is. Another option is to put your finger at the top of your eyelid (near your eyebrow) and pull up to hold your eyelid open to see if you can locate your contact lens this way. If you believe the lens has moved to the corner of your eye, try looking in the opposite direction of the lens. If the contact lens is stuck at the bottom of your eye, look upwards.
Once you’ve located the contact lens, apply eye drops or contact lens solution to moisten it. The added moisture may help the contact lens float back to its proper place, where it will be easier to remove. If your contact lens remains stuck or trapped under the eyelid, close your eyes and gently massage the lids with your fingertips.
When trying to take your contact lens out, make sure your contact lens is visible while attempting to remove it. Sometimes the lens has fallen out or is not centered on the cornea and you may be unaware of this. As a result, you may continue to try to remove the contact lens and in the process, could scratch the surface of your cornea with your finger. Unfortunately, this happens often and can cause damage to the eyeball.
If all else fails, or you are worried you may damage your eye from trying to take it out yourself, book an appointment to see your Kelowna optometrist.
If your contact lenses are constantly getting stuck in your eyes and interfering with your iSight, reach out to iSight Optometry today to book an appointment!