Removing contact lenses can be a daunting prospect for first-time wearers.

Even long-time wearers can find adapting to something new a bit pesky. What can you do?

Relax! Everything gets easier once you've had some practice at it—and that includes removing contacts. Don't fret if you're having a little trouble at first. That's entirely normal.

To help out, here are some tips for removing your contact lenses that will make the process (and your routines for sleep) go a little smoother.

Before you remove contact lenses

One of the most important things you can remember about removing your contacts is to always wash your hands with soap and water first. Wipe your hands dry to minimize the amount of water that gets on your lenses.

Another important tip for removing (and inserting) contact lenses is to start with the same eye every time. This reduces the chances of an accidental switcheroo. (Remember, your contact lenses, like your shoes, have a right and a left side.)

How to remove contact lenses

Ready to remove your contacts? Let’s go!

1. Stand in front of a well-lit mirror, especially in the beginning.

2. Look upwards.

3. Take your non-dominant hand and use your index finger to raise your upper eyelid away from your eye.

4. With your dominant hand, use your middle finger pull down your lower eyelid.

5. With the pads of your index finger and thumb, gently squeeze the lens to pull it down and away from your eye. Don’t fold or pinch with more force than necessary.

6. Place the lens into the palm of your other hand.

You’re done! It really is easy to do.

Cleaning contact lenses

Improper handling and cleaning of contacts is a major cause of eye infections and other problems. If you don’t wear daily disposable contact lenses, one of the best things you can do to protect your eyes and vision is to make cleaning a part of your daily removal routine.

Cleaning contact lenses quick and simple. All you need to do is:

  • Once your lens is in your palm, squeeze fresh cleaner onto its surface.
  • Rub the lens with the pads of your fingers for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat for the other side of the lens.
  • Put the lens into your case, cover it with fresh solution, and then cap.

Having trouble removing contact lenses?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Rewetting drops or lubricants can make it easier to lift the lens from your eye. Dry eyes let the lens stick a little more closely.
  • There can be an adjustment period when you’re starting or switching contact lenses. Give yourself enough time to remove your lenses calmly without rushing.
  • Slide the lens to the white of your eye, especially if you’re worried about discomfort. Pulling the lens toward your lower lid can also help lift it off the surface of your eye.
  • If edges of your lens stick together, add a drop of fresh cleaning solution and gently rub until they separate.

If you continue having trouble removing your contacts, talk to your eye doctor. He or she may recommend contact lens removal tools that can help make the process easier. These are usually small suction tools or soft-tipped tweezers that help lift the lens.

Remember, all contact lenses are ultimately delicate, and they’re also medical devices. Following the care instructions provided by your eye doctor and your contact lens and cleaning solution manufacturers is critical to protecting the health of your eyes and vision. Never start or switch contact lenses without consulting your eye doctor.


Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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