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An Expert Guide to Helping You Find a Contact Lens That’s Lost

woman trying to find a contact lens under bed

You’ve just woken up and stumbled over to the bathroom. You begin your morning routine, which includes putting your contacts in. But in your bleary-eyed state, you drop your lens!

Naturally, you start searching for it. But when you’re in a panic or feeling frustrated, logical thinking goes out of the window. As a result, a simple task, like trying to find a contact lens, can feel impossible. We get it, and are here to help!

Read our expert guide on finding a contact lens so that next time it happens, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Step One: The Initial Search

To find a dropped contact lens, you must act fast. The sooner you find it, the better. Lost contacts are at risk of irreparable damage. But if you find it quickly enough, you can save it!

1. Search Yourself

Dropped contact lenses don’t go far. Sometimes, they’ll land on your clothes. Some even stick in your hair! Making as little movement as possible, carefully search your clothes with your fingertips. Check if your lens has fallen down your top or if it’s sitting patiently on your shoulder. It happens!

2. Search Around You

If you’re sure your dropped contact isn’t on you, widen your search perimeter. Try looking on your bathroom counter and around the sink. Take your time. Once you’re sure all the surfaces within reach are clear, it’s time to move onto the floor.

3. Search the Floor

If you’re wearing shoes, gently slide them off. You don’t want to stomp on your contact if it’s on the floor. Crouch down and sweep your hands across. Even if you can’t see the lens, you should be able to feel it. Again, keep your search area tight!

4. Take More Creative Measures

flashlight shining on dark ground

So you’ve completed a careful fingertip search and still no contact lens. Time to get creative! First, try the flashlight method. Make your search area as dark as possible, crouch on the floor and lay the flashlight on its side. Rotate it 360 degrees and look for any small object reflecting light. If you’ve been through a few rounds of this and still no luck, it’s time to try our final solution: the vacuum method!

5. Get Your Vacuum Out

To use the vacuum method, you first have to wrap clean pantyhose around the nozzle of your vacuum. Next, move it over your search area, stopping periodically to check whether your contact lens is stuck to the nylon. At this point, it’s worth widening your search area. A contact is lightweight and it's possible all this searching has shifted the lens from where it first fell.

Step Two: Clean Your Contact Lens

close-up of hands cleaning contact lens with solution bottle

If all has gone well, one of our contact search steps was fruitful and you’ve found your lens! But now what? Your lens may have touched the floor and become contaminated with all sorts of nasty things. Here’s what you need to do to make that lens fit for use again:

Check for Damage

Check your contact lens for any visible damage. Hold it on the palm of your hand under a bright light. Turn the lens over to examine both sides. If you stepped on your lens, you may have cracked or torn it. Damaged and misshapen contacts can cause eye irritation so if there’s visible damage, it’s best to discard it.

Clean Your Contact Lens

If you’re sure your contact has survived its ordeal, you can use it again. But only after you've disinfected it. Hold the lens in your palm, squirt solution on and rub the lens.

Only use contact solution to clean your lens. Nothing else will suffice. No water, no other cleaning product, and absolutely no saliva! Cleaning your contact with anything other than solution can lead to eye infections, including the rare but serious acanthamoeba keratitis.

Make sure your contact lens is clean of bacteria and debris before you put it back in your eye. Ideally, disinfect your contact overnight in a case filled with solution.

Step Three: Never Lose a Contact Lens Again!

No one wants to go through this whole rigmarole on a regular basis. So instead, let’s focus on ways to avoid losing your lens in the first place!

Clear the Area

top view of bathroom sink

Only attempt to insert or remove your lenses over an uncluttered, clean area. Something like a bathroom counter works very well, provided you’ve moved the towels, soap, cosmetics and anything else lying around!

Don’t Rub

When people lose a lens, it’s usually because they rubbed their eyes. Rubbing your eyes can not only push your lens out but also scratch your cornea. Your cornea is the thin layer of clear tissue that covers your eye. Its job is to focus light, so a damaged cornea is bad news for your vision.

Carry Eye Drops

man in office using eye drops

The best way to overcome the desperate urge to rub your eyes is to carry eye drops. Irritation is usually caused by debris that's trapped in your eye. Using drops is the safest way to flush out particles without risking corneal abrasion.

Carry Your Glasses

All contact wearers should carry a pair of glasses, just in case! If you experience eye irritation while wearing contacts, you must take them out. Stumbling around with poor vision is not an option, so make sure you have those specs at all times.

Switch to Daily Disposables

Having to take your lenses out in the middle of the day is a pain. To store them properly, you also have to carry a bottle of solution and case with you. Be prepared and also travel light by making the switch to daily disposable contacts. Daily disposables suit most prescriptions and even come in colored styles.

If your eye is irritated, you can take your disposable lens out and throw it away. There’s no need to clean or sterilize them overnight, as each pair comes in its own sterile pack. Keep a few with you and know that even if the worst happens. and that lens hits the floor, you have another fresh set on hand.

We hope our expert guide to find a contact lens has been useful. Remember, it couldn’t have gone far!

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