Social media was abuzz recently due to a report of a woman in the UK having 27 contact lenses in her eye! The story went viral and was picked up by most major news outlets in North America – you can read the CTV article here. This is obviously an incredibly rare event, but nonetheless it is a good idea to review some points of interest pertaining to the removal of soft contact lenses.
It is not uncommon for a contact lens (or piece of a torn contact lens) to dislodge and get retained in the upper fornix, which is where the white of the eye meets the eyelid. However, most people can feel the contact lens and it is rather irritating – the vast majority wisely seek optometric help if they are unable to get it out themselves. Your optometrist can remove a contact lens or other foreign body from your eye if it is retained by everting the upper eyelid which. Everting the lid is rather uncomfortable but certainly not painful.
Sometimes contact lenses fall out of the eye without a person realizing it and they often worry it is still in the eye. If everything feels normal and the vision is unaffected, it is usually safe to assume that it fell out and is not still in the eye. Sometimes a contact lens can be difficult to remove for a variety of reasons such as dryness, sleeping with the lens in, etc. Using several drops of artificial tears to moisten the lens usually does the trick to loosen it from the eye and makes removal easier.
When contact lenses are used and cared for properly, they pose very little risk to the health of the eyes. Having a contact lens in the eye for longer than recommended or when not properly fitted on the eye can lead to a myriad of problems. If you suspect you have a contact lens or other foreign body in your eye, it is recommended to call and book an appointment with your optometrist.