Eye Health Central

How to remove contact lenses

How To Take Out Contact Lenses

Removing contact lenses is a simple process once you are familiar with it. Don't Panic a simple four-step process will get your contacts out.

1. Clean your hands.

2. Pull down your lower eyelid.

3. Pinch the contact lens gently.

4. Look up and slide the lens downwards

Assuming that you have managed to insert your contact lenses! Now, um, how do you get them out? 

Don’t worry; read on to find out all of our tips and tricks on removing your contacts in this handy guide. As long as you learn the proper technique from the get-go, you shouldn’t have too many issues removing your contact lenses every night. In fact, many contact-wearers say removing lenses comes more naturally than placing lenses in their eyes. 

How To Remove Contact Lenses   

Let’s begin this post by sharing a basic technique for taking contact lenses out of your eyes. 

After thoroughly washing and drying your hands with a clean lint free towel, follow these simple steps: 

  •  Using your non-dominant hand, pull up on your upper eyelid with your forefinger and middle finger.
    Removing Soft lenses step 1
  •  Simultaneously pull down on your lower eyelid with the middle finger of your dominant hand.
  •  Using your dominant hand’s index finger, slide the contact lens slightly down towards the right. Some contact lens wearers find it’s easier to stare upwards and slide their contact straight down. Of course, as you get more comfortable taking out your contacts, feel free to modify these general rules to suit your preferences.
    Remove soft lenses step 2 slide lens
  •  Grab the lens by pinching it with your thumb and index fingers.
    Remove soft lenses pinch stage 3
  •  If you’re using a long-term lens, wash it with a disinfectant solution and place it inside your lens case that has been freshly refilled with solution.  
    Remove soft lenses stage 4 cleaning

Just be sure never to rinse your eyes or contacts with tap water. It’s extremely easy for harmful waterborne microorganisms to attach themselves to contact lenses. 

How To Take Out Contacts With Long Nails? 

Generally speaking, Optometrists recommend contact lens wearers cut their nails about once per week However, if you have just paid out for a French Manicure or new acrylic nails that's not likely to happen! While it’s possible to insert and remove contacts with long nails, it’s far more difficult and not so hygienic and takes a little practice.

Check out this YouTube clip for some advice on how to insert and remove contact lenses with acrylic nails - if you just want to watch insertion and removal techniques start at the 2.00 mark, if you just need the info on how to remove your lenses skip to the 3.00 mark.

Remember to start with clean dry hands.

Obviously, your nails are sharper than your fingertips, making it far more likely you will scratch your lenses or your eyes. Plus, nails provide a great trap for dirt, grime, and bacteria, all of which could easily end up on your lenses. 

Even with normal length nails, you need to be careful and handle your contact lenses with your fingertips. If you get in the habit of holding your contacts with your nails, you could easily scratch or tear your lenses or expose them to debris.   

Another technique is to slide the lens down to a corner of your eye, where you can easily remove it.

  • Wash and dry your hands on a lint free cloth.
  • Using your index finger pull the top eyelid and lashes up to create maximum space.
  • Using your middle finger, pull your lower eyelid down.
  • Look up and use your index finger to slide the contact lens to the bottom inside corner of your eye - you may have to do this a few times to dislodge the lens
  • You will feel the lens fold or scrunch up on itself making it easy to pick out of your eye

Look up to the ceiling, position your index finger at the bottom of the lens and gently apply pressure to sweep the lens down.

Can I Remove Soft Contact Lenses With  Tool?

can i remove soft contact lenses

There are a variety of suckers on the market, like Optiwand that are used to hold your contact lenses for insertion, BUT they cannot be used for removal. 

Soft contact lenses are porous, so it is impossible for the sucker to get a seal on the contact lens. 


However, customers have found it useful by placing the device over the contact lens and pinching the end of it - especially if they have large fingers. Customers on Amazon are divided in their reviews - a lot find it indispensable for insertion, while others find it useless. Remember if you use this device to clean it regularly. 

Can I remove Contact Lenses with Cotton Buds?

The simple answer is NO.

The chance of introducing bacteria and foreign bodies into the eye increases by using implements such as cotton buds, the fibres can easily come loose and remain in the eye, causing irritation, add to that that you lose sensation when using a cotton bud so it very easy to apply too much pressure and cause your eye to become red and inflamed. 

It has been known for contact lens wearers to use Q-tip to remove contact lenses but this is not a practice we can condone, your fingertips really are your best way of removing contact lenses

How Often should I change my Contact Lens Case?

According to the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) you should replace your contact lens case at least every month. Using a case for longer than three months will put you at greater risk for infectious diseases.

While on the subject of contact lens cases, remember to only wash these cases with a doctor-approved solution. It’s also important to air dry out your lens case when not in use and place them upside-down without the caps on. If you notice any mould or accidentally expose your lens case to tap water, then you should throw it away immediately.  

Most all-in-one solutions come with a free contact lens case which allows you to change your contact lens case every time you run out of solution, which is approximately monthly.

You don't have to stick with the boring white cases that come with the solution, so why not show your individuality with a more personalised contact lens case? Take a look at our funky macaroon, animal or extreme sport contact lens cases.

How To Desensitise Your Eyes

For some people, touching their eyes is no big deal; for others, it’s a Herculean task. If you’re someone who struggles to touch your eyes, there are a few simple ways to prep yourself for contact lenses before you even ask your optometrist about them.

First off, buy some artificial tears and practice putting a few drops in each eye every day. Once you can put in these drops without flinching, try practicing touching your eyes, wash and dry your hands and hold your eye open as if you were about to put in a contact lens. Now, slowly bring your dominant hand’s index finger forward until you can touch the eye. If it helps, look upward and only touch the whites of your eyes. 

Need More Help With Contacts? Check Out Our Education Portal 

We love helping our customers better understand how to properly care for their contact lenses. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive Education Portal chockful of useful info on all things related to healthy eye care. To find more interesting posts just like this one, be sure to click on this link to our Education Portal’s homepage. 

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 24 Apr 2015, Last modified: 20 May 2024