Soft contact lenses may be more comfortable than their rigid counterparts, but they can tear easily. Lenses that have a greater water content or that are extra thin are more prone to tearing. Lenses can tear as a result of improper insertion or removal from the eye, or because the lens has dried out. Torn lenses should be removed because they can scratch and irritate the eye. This process is similar to removing an intact contact lens but requires additional care and precision.
Find a mirror in a well-lit area. This is important because it will allow you to see the contact lens and any fragments more easily.
Wash and dry your hands with a lint-free towel. It is important to have clean and dry hands before you begin; otherwise, you can introduce dirt and dust into your eye, causing irritation.
Add a few drops of eye lubricating solution to the eye with the torn contact lens. The contact lens advice website Ask The Contact Lens Guy explains that proper lubrication of the eye is important for removing the lens because it will moisten your torn lens. This will help keep the lens from sticking to your eye.
Pull your lower eyelid down with one hand, using your thumb and middle finger. This is part of the standard contact lens removal instructions given by Opti-Free and will allow you to gain access to your eye without touching the pupil and cornea, which are sensitive.
Use your index finger to slide the largest part of the torn lens down to the lower part of your eye.
Use your thumb and forefinger of your other hand to pinch the contact lens. This will cause it to fold together and come off into your hand.
Wet the torn contact lens and examine it. Wetting the contact lens will help it unfold. This is important because you can then inspect the lens to see whether any fragments are still in your eye. If there does not appear to be a whole lens present, you may have pieces of soft contact lens still in your eye.
Hold your upper eyelid with the thumb and middle finger of your eye and look down as far as you can. This will help any remaining pieces of the contact lens slide toward the center of your eye. Do the same for your lower eyelid, only look upward this time.
Inspect your eye for any visible contact lens fragments. If necessary, you can gently touch your eye with one finger to see if you can palpate any lens pieces.
Grasp your lower eyelid with one hand and move the contact lens pieces down to the lower portion of your eye, as in steps 4 and 5. Gently remove the fragments.