Most of the time, contact lens care is a smooth process. But sometimes your contacts get stuck, they shift around, or even disappear altogether.

If you’ve been wearing contacts for a significant amount of time, you know what I’m talking about. The cause of these (mostly) minor problems can be the result of one or several different reasons. Maybe you haven’t been taking the best care of your contact lenses? Maybe you’ve been sleeping or napping in them? Or maybe a simple mistake occurred which was out of your hands.

Simply put, you’ll never know when a contact lens issue will pop up, but it’s best to be ready if/when they do. Instead of getting frustrated and possibly making the situation worse, consider the following:

Stay Calm

This one’s pretty obvious. If you find yourself unable to remove or locate a contact lens, it’s best to take a few deep breaths and stay calm before figuring out what’s wrong. Try your best to rub your eyes as little as possible.

Don’t reach for a replacement (yet)

It’s best not to “jump the gun” and figure the old contact is a lost cause. Do your diligence to actually locate the given contact. It could be stuck in your eye, it could’ve shifted or slid to another part of your eye (it might be on the floor). Definitely don’t replace the contact lens until you get to the root of the problem, or else you could end up like this.

Use Rewetting Drops

Some over the counter rewetting drops such as Blink Contacts (for contact lenses) might help to do the trick. Try inserting one or two drops, then wait about ten minutes before trying again.

If your contact lens is stuck…

try drying (or wetting) your fingers. Most of the time, having dry fingers is the best method for removing difficult contact lenses. But if that doesn’t work, try wetting your fingers with multi-purpose contact solution or rewetting drops and see if the contact can be slightly dislodged.

If your contact “disappears”…

it most likely slid under your eyelid. In this case, gently “massage” the eyelid to try to dislodge the contact lens. If that doesn’t work, flip up your eyelid to check if you can actually see the lens (this might be better left to a professional). Try looking towards the lens (upward if it’s under the upper eyelid) to recenter it and avoid rubbing the eye at all costs. Rubbing your eyes too much causes the eyeball to swell, which makes it virtually impossible to remove the contact lens. Don’t rule out the fact that it may have fallen out of your eye altogether. Check the general vicinity (sink, floor) for peace of mind in finding an answer.

If all else fails…

call your eye doctor. Your eye care professional should (almost) always be able to find a “lost” contact lens or remove the one you’re having difficulty removing on your own.