How To Handle a Dropped Contact Lens

This morning my right contact lens was bothering me, so I excused myself from the group of friends I was meeting with and went to a public restroom to fix it. I washed my hands with soap and took the lens out of my eye to exam it, when… Oops! Next thing I knew the contact was MIA and nowhere to be found.

Another friend happened to come in and was able to find my contact, which hadn’t actually dropped on the floor or the sink, where I had looked, but was somehow stuck to the wall! And, although I appreciated her finding it, I didn’t really have a whole lot of options of what to do with it once I had it back!

If you don’t have any of your cleaners or solutions, or even saline with you, it can be a real problem to figure out what to do after you’ve dropped a lens!  One friend in our group suggested she puts it in her mouth to clean it before putting it back in her eye.  But, I knew that was a really bad idea.  Another friend suggested running water over it, but I also knew that tap water could contain amoeba or other microscopic bugs that you don’t want anywhere near your contact lenses or on your eyeballs.

Dropped lens, what’s next?

So, what do you do?  I did some research after my morning of sporting only one contact lens! Here’s what I found:

1. Stick with solutions:

As I mentioned above, tap water and saliva are really bad and potentially harmful substitutes for contact lens solution.  If you don’t have any saline with you some professionals say that distilled water with a few shakes of table salt in it would be alright in cases of desperation. But, generally, using any type of water can be dangerous for your eyes and your lens.  If you frequently suffer with dry eyes or if your lens feels funny in the morning, carry your solutions along!

2. Carry your glasses:

I usually carry mine along as back up, but this morning I forgot.  Doctors recommend always having them along so that if you lose a lens and need to drive or work or do anything else that would require corrected vision, you’ll be prepared!

3. Overnight cleaning is best choice:

If you’ve dropped a lens, you can just use a multi-purpose cleaner on it in your hands, inspect it for rips, tears, grit or grime and then after a saline squirt or two, replace the lens.  But, almost every eye care professional would agree that disinfecting that lens overnight, especially if you’ve dropped the lens in a public place or in germy place (like your own sink) is the safest bet.

Accidents happen, so don’t get stuck without one lens like I did! Be prepared! Ask your closest America’s Best optometrist if they sell travel size versions of your favorite solutions or cleaners and be sure to always have your back-up glasses along!

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