This week, a patient came in after spending the night at the ER because her contact lens was stuck. Having read all the potential risks of sleeping in contact lenses, she got scared and went to the ER to get it removed.
If you are ever in this situation, do this instead:
- Do NOT go to the ER. You will wait a long time and not get to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist who will know what to do. The ER sometimes uses too strong of a flushing instrument that may internally bruise your eye or even scratch it. Our patient came in the next day with ocular pain because of that
- Instead, drench your eye with contact lens solution or re-wetting eye drops. Do NOT use tap water due to potential bacteria that will sit under your contact lens and create complications afterwards if you are unsuccessful in removing it
- Roll your eyes up/down/left/right in all directions and blink several times to allow the contact lens to lift away from the cornea and move around
- If needed, after drenching your eye in solution, close your eyes for a few minutes to allow the eye to hydrate and gently massage the eye lid until you feel the contact lens move. Do NOT use hard pressure or you may scratch your eye
- Remove your contact lens. If unsuccessful, repeat steps 2-4 as necessary
- If all fails, go to bed, wake up every couple hours and blink to allow your eye to oxygenate and visit your favorite eye doctor in the morning