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Ask Dr. Schauer ~ My contact gets stuck!

“I wear contacts and they sometimes get stuck in the corner of my eye. My sister also wears contacts and she uses a plastic plunger that she bought online. I use a Q-tip. She thinks a Q-tip is not the best tool to use but I think her tool is not the best. What are the doctor’s thoughts?”

Our 103.3 US Country listener asks a great question because there are all sorts of tools that are advertised to aid in the removal of contact lenses. Of course, it does make a difference on what type of contact lens our listener is wearing. I am going to assume he wears a soft contact lens as that is the most common modality.

How should a contact lens be removed?

The preferred way to remove a soft contact lens is to gently pinch the contact with the pads of your fingers, and remove it from the eye.

Plastic DMV plungers are actually designed to be used for hard (RGP) contact lenses. While they can sometimes work with soft contacts, they usually aren’t all that effective. I also would be hesitant to use anything to “fish” a contact out of the eye, such as a Q-tip. The Q-tip can release some of the tiny cotton fibers into the eye, and can cause a foreign body sensation.

But if your contact does get stuck, the last thing you want to use is fingernails! They can rip the contact, or worse, can scratch your cornea and cause a painful abrasion.

I’d want to know from the listener how often it happens that the contact gets stuck? Every day? Once a week? Once in a blue moon? If it is something that is happening a lot, then we should re-evaluate the contact lens fit and/or the wearing and handling techniques. Often times, we are able to find a solution to the problem so that an extra tool is not needed to remove the contact lens.

Talk to your optometrist!

As always recommended, our listener should bring up these concerns with the eye doctor that gave him the contact lenses. Your optometrist is always willing to troubleshoot issues and truly wants to know if you are having any problems. Talk to them!



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The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.