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🤬😆😃 If your nails are long or you don’t like touching your eye with your fingertips, you’re probably wondering how to remove your contact lenses. Thankfully, it’s easy to use an ordinary cotton swab to take out your lenses safely and quickly. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to removing your contact lenses with a cotton swab, plus how to clean and store your lenses for maximum protection. Read on to take out your lenses with confidence!

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Wash your hands.

  1. Thoroughly scrub your hands with soap and hot water to kill germs. Bacteria from your hands can hop to your contact lens case and then to your contacts, leading to infection or irritation in your eyes. Dry your hands well with a clean, lint-free cloth.[1]
    • As a rule, always wash your hands before handling contact lenses.[2]
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Prep your contact lens case.

  1. Rinse and rub the interior of your case with contact solution to clean it. If there’s old contact solution sitting in the case, dump it out (reusing or "topping off" old solution can result in infection). Dry the case with a clean tissue.[3]
    • Use the contact lens solution recommended by your optometrist or eye care provider.
    • Don’t use water to clean your case—it may contain particles or bacteria that can accumulate on your contact lenses.
    • Anytime you get a new bottle of contact solution, throw away your old case and get a new one to decrease your chance of getting an infection (most bottles of solution come with a case).

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Pinch the buds together.

  1. Gently press the buds together on the lens to get a secure grip. This motion mimics the way you would use your fingertips to remove the lens. After the lens folds in on itself between the buds, carefully pull the lens away from your eye and voilà! You’ve successfully removed your contact lens.[11]
    • If the lens is folded but you lost your grip on it, blink a few times to help push it out of your eye.
    • If you’re struggling to get a good grip on it, use one end of the swab to gently drag the contact off the cornea and down onto your sclera (the white part of your eye).
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Rub the contact lens clean.

  1. Rub the lens with contact solution between your pointer finger and thumb. This is the best way to get rid of any deposits or bacteria that built up on the lens before you store it. This will also remove any swab fibers that might have stuck to the lens during removal.[12]
    • Rub your lenses clean after every removal to make them last longer and protect your eye health.
    • Only use a contact lens disinfecting solution to clean them. Water or saliva aren’t sterile and will actually put more germs onto your lens.[13]

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Put the lens in your contact case.

  1. Drop the contact into your case and fill the well with fresh contact solution. Contact cases are usually marked "left" and "right" (or "L" and "R") to help you keep track of which lens is which, so make sure to put it in the correct well. Securely twist or snap the lid of the well shut.[14]
    • Read the instructions on the contact solution bottle or packaging to find out how long you should keep your lenses stored.
    • Once your first contact lens is secured in the case, you can repeat this process with your other eye.
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      Tips

      • Store your contact lens case upside down on a clean cloth with the caps removed to let it air dry out between uses.[15]
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      Warnings

      • Using a foreign object, like a cotton swab, to remove your contacts increases the chance of bacteria getting into your eye and causing an infection or irritation. If possible, using your clean fingertips is the safest removal method.
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      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
      This article was co-authored by David Felsted, DO and by wikiHow staff writer, Dan Hickey. Dr. David Felsted is a Comprehensive Ophthalmologist based in Flagstaff, Arizona. He specializes in cataract and refractive surgery, micro-invasive glaucoma surgery, ophthalmic lasers, dry eye disease, diabetic retinopathy, and ocular trauma. Dr. Felsted holds a BS in Accounting from Brigham Young University and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Midwestern University. He completed his Ophthalmic residency at The Medical College of Georgia. This article has been viewed 8,302 times.
      1 votes - 0%
      Co-authors: 4
      Updated: May 29, 2022
      Views: 8,302
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 8,302 times.
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