The task of removing contact lenses can be a scary one for first-time wearers, but once you learn the techniques needed to take your lenses our safely and quickly, you’ll wonder why you were ever worried! To help you, we’ve put together a guide on how to remove your contact lenses to make the process go more smoothly. 

1. Prep your hands before you touch your lenses

The first step in removing your lenses is to make sure you have a hygienic environment to do it in. This will prevent you from spreading bacteria or particles from your hands or surfaces to your lenses. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and wipe them dry on a clean towel to prevent transferring water to your lenses. You should also make sure the surfaces around you are clean and dry, and that you have your contact lens container and solution ready to go. 

2. Start with the same eye

Just as your shoes have a right and left side, your lenses do too! Mixing them up can make them uncomfortable to wear. So, to avoid mixing them up, it helps to start with the same eye each time, so you get into the habit of always inserting and removing one side before the other. This is especially important if you have a different prescription for each eye, as many people do, as switching them up can affect your vision and visibility as well as comfort. 

3. Look up

Standing in front of a well-lit mirror, look up and take your middle finger on your non-dominant hand to gently pull your lower eyelid down, and your index finger to raise your upper eyelid towards your brow.

Using the pads of your index finger and thumb on your other hand, gently pull the contact lens down and squeeze lightly to pull it away from your eye. You don’t need to use force here – folding or pinching can cause damage to the lens and your eye, so go gently. Put the lens in the palm of your hand and you’re done. It’s ready to clean the lens and store it for the next wear. 

How to clean your lenses

Cleaning your lenses properly is essential to reduce the risk of contracting an eye infection. After each wear, you need to clean your lenses (unless you wear daily disposables). It’s a quick process and an easy one – but it is vital that you do this every time you wear your lenses. 

While the lens is in the palm of your hand, squeeze some fresh cleaner onto the surface and rub the surface of the lens gently with the pad of your index finger. Do this for 30 seconds to remove deposits that have built up on the surface and to clean off any smudges or debris. Rinse with some fresh cleaner and then put the lens in the storage container and cover with solution, before securing the cap tightly. Repeat with the other lens once you’ve removed it using the steps above. 

What if I’m having trouble removing my lenses?

It can take some practice to get the process of removing your lenses down, but there are some ways you can make it easier. Try rewetting drops or a suitable lubricant to make it easier to lift the lens off your eye, since dry eyes can make this step much harder. Make sure you’re not rushing either – when you first start wearing lenses, you might be moving too quickly in a bid to avoid touching your eyes for too long, but this can mean you run the risk of tearing or damaging the lens or hurting your eyes. 

If you’re having trouble squeezing the lens, try sliding it to the whites of your eye and pulling it to the lower lid to lift it off the surface of the eye. If you find that the edges of the lens stick together when you squeeze the lens, you might benefit from adding a drop of cleaning solution to gently rub the lens to unstick them. If you’re still having difficulty removing the lens, book an appointment with your optician who will be able to assist you with lifting the lens off your eyes. 

Contact lenses are incredibly delicate so it’s important to be gentle and go slowly, especially when you’re first getting used to wearing them. Never start wearing lenses or switch out cleaning and contact lens solutions without first speaking to your optician. If you’re unsure about the process of removing your lenses or cleaning them, it’s always worth checking with them first to make sure you’re doing things correctly.