/ Soft contact lens removal advice

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Martin W on 04 Jan 2013
Reference my earlier thread www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=529193 on the subject of contact lenses, I have now discussed the question with my optician and they have provided me with a trial pack of multifocal contacts.

I've tried the lenses in the shop a couple of times, and I've found putting them in to be quite straightforward. Unfortunately I have so far completely failed to take them out on my own so, understandably, they won't let me take them home to try to get used to them.

I've been to the shop a couple of times now to be shown how to do it but so far I've not been able to get the things out. It doesn't help that I am particularly squeamish about eyes: I actually had to sack off my appointment yesterday evening because the thought of it was making me feel ill. (I probably shouldn't have tried watching those online videos of people happily taking their contacts out with nary a care in the world!) The result is that each failed attempt makes makes me even more tense and uncomfortable and I eventually have to give up and let the optician take them out for me (which, annoyingly, he did this morning with no drama whatsoever on my part).

I've managed to move the lens off the cornea a few times but I can't seem to get any kind of a grip on it to get it off the eyeball altogether. I get no tactile feedback through my fingertips on what the lens is doing (it probably doesn't help that I climb, play guitar and do other things which toughen up the skin on my fingers) and looking in a mirror as I stick a finger in my eye just makes the squeamishness worse.

Has anyone got any advice which might help me to get the hang of it?
Tall Clare - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

The way I do it is forefinger and thumb, gently pinching together, and the lens comes away from the eyeball. In some ways it's easier not to look in the mirror.

Good luck!
Rob Exile Ward on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W: There's a load of videos in Youtube I think, though you've probably seen those.

I've just had a really succesful week skiing with a multifocal contact in just one eye, for the first time in 10 years I could read a piste map wearing my usual goggles! But I had my personal optometrist with me so she could put them in and take them out each day, which doesn't help you.

However I'll have a go this evening and see if I can pass on any tips.
Neil Williams - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Must admit I could never get used to them and decided in the end to stick with glasses.

Neil
Pagan - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

That's what I do, although I usually slide the lens over to the corner of my eye first - it seems to unstick a bit more easily then.
pog100 - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
yes, I also do a fairly firm pinch between finger and thumb. it needs to be fairly firm to detach it properly, or it just reattaches. My wife sort of slides her lens to one corner to detach it, before pinching. I would learn without a mirror, it is much safer knowing you can manage without.
butteredfrog - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Wipe em off with one of those nail file thingys?








Sorry (gets coat)
tombeasley - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to pog100: Thatís how I do it too, I found it very tricky at first and had to return to the shop to try again. Finally did at the shop and got better with practice at home.
Tall Clare - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to pog100:

My twin bro seems to have to grasp his eyelid with a hand over his head - all looks a bit like contortionism to me.
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Getting them out hasn't caused me any issues.

(just finished a trial pack of soft lenses.)

I use the finger/thumb pinch as described above.

Pinch horizontally rather than vertical.

Putting them in however, an entirely different issue.

I spent 90 minutes one day failing miserably to get them in!

Got the R in after about 25 mins and never got the L in.

Other days have varied from "A breeze" to 20 mins.

Any tips on getting them in welcomed!

(Sorry for the Hijack!)

;~))

Just got another 30 pairs and will keep trying.
Sunny - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Hi

When I was first shown how to use contacts I couldn't remove them in the way you describe either. Then a different technician suggested a different method which works for me. With my eye open I press the upper & lower eyelids in & towards each other & the lens pops out.

Using that method I can now do it easily but like you was initially very squeamish about the whole business.

Good luck!
Gavin - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

I hold the bottom eye lid down with right middle finger then pinch off between finger and thumb using my left hand. I do this without a mirror.

Interestingly I struggle to take them out with my right hand (although I am right handed).

Putting them in I need to use the left index finger for my left eye and the right index finger for my right eye. I need a mirror to do this, or at least be able to see some sort of reflection.

The reason I say this is that for some reason I find the various ins and outs of the lenses easier with different hands and it maybe something worth trying, if you have not done so already?

Gavin
Tall Clare - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Gavin:

I always put mine in - straight in, eye wide open - with the lens on the third (ring) finger of my right hand.
Welsh Kate - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Gavin:

Odd, I'm right handed too, always put them in with my right index finger and always take them out with my left thumb and index finger doing the 'pinch' manoeuvre the others have described. I can't take them out with my right hand either!

I did a multifocal trial in the summer, hated the damned things and couldn't focus on near or distant stuff, so I've had to compromise on just using one lens, in the worst eye for distant vision (I don't need a reading prescription - I just need to be able to read maps *and* see where I'm going!) But I found the multifocals a lot more slimey than my standard lens and struggled to get them out. I found making sure my finger and thumb were completely dry helped to get some kind of grip on them.

btw, I found an excellent way of getting over 'fingers in the eyes' squickiness with contacts: break your nose, then you can't wear glasses after they re-set it, so you're forced to get used to playing with contacts.
marsbar - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Gavin: <hijack> its been ages, how are you?

I can take them out much easier than putting them in, I need a mirror to get them in but not take them out.

It took me ages to learn, so don't give up.
pog100 - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
I use that "over the head, pulling on top lid" technique whenputting them in. I don't have so much trouble getting them out.
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Sorry to state the bleeding obvious, but it takes practice. It's a tricky little manual task that requires instinctive/reflex accuracy that you can only acquire by repetition.

I found the pinch method hard to get the hang of, the alternative is using your eyelids at the edge of the lens to prise it off. You'd need your optician to show you if they haven't done so. If I'm finding it tricky to get them out by pinching, I'll do this, it's sometimes easier.
Mutl3y - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W: if you're that squeamish about your eyes then maybe contacts aren't for you. Have you tried glasses?
Monk - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Getting them out is much harder than putting them in. I have also found that my stiffer toric lenses are much harder to get out than 'straight' lenses. Also, if I have had them in a long time and my eyes are dry, they are very difficult to get out sometimes.

The best thing to do is experiment. I usually use the pinch technique, but if the lens is being stubborn, I slide it down to the bottom of my eye, keep pushing and it inverts and pops out (the lens, not the eye). A moist eye seems to help too. Not everyone gets on with the pinch technique so it is worth trying both to see what you find easier.
Stephi on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:
It also helped for me to dry my hands completely before trying to take the contact lenses out - also in between failed attempts! The grip on the lenses gets better.
ClimberEd - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W: everyone is making this very complicated.

Tilt your head down whilst looking forward, then you can slide the lense down the eyeball with one finger (index or middle) off the cornea. Then pinch to remove - I actually pinch between the sides of my index and middle, I find it easier than contorting to get the ends of my fingers in my eye.

Lowering the head and looking forward is the key, it stops you blinking when you stick your finger in your eye. Straight on, you'll never manage it.
Tall Clare - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to ClimberEd:

Everyone making it complicated? Your method sounds one of the more complicated suggested so far!

deepsoup - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

> The way I do it is forefinger and thumb, gently pinching together, and the lens comes away from the eyeball. In some ways it's easier not to look in the mirror.

Same here. I use my right hand for the right eye and left hand for left eye, though that could just be me being odd. I never use a mirror to take them out.

I suspect the squeamishness is the problem, you're probably being too tentative. If I ever struggle to get one out that'll be why, because I've been too tentative and failed to get hold of it - then having moved it off centre you've got to either wait for it to settle back into place or chase it about for a while. (A mirror is helpful when it comes to that.)

Its normal not to be able to feel the lens between your fingertips I think (at least it is for a climber, especially for someone who regularly crimps gritstone!).

You're supposed to wash your hands first - to give yourself the best chance of getting hold of the lens, its also good to make sure they're properly dry.
deepsoup - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Mutl3y:
> if you're that squeamish about your eyes then maybe contacts aren't for you. Have you tried glasses?

Everyone is squeamish at first though I think. I certainly was.
So its worth persevering, at least for a while.
ClimberEd - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: okay 'making it out to be difficult' it's really not, and my method takes 2seconds.
deepsoup - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Gavin)
>
> I always put mine in - straight in, eye wide open - with the lens on the third (ring) finger of my right hand.

Same here, but middle rather than ring finger. It helps for the fingertip to be as dry as poss. With my disposables, I get the lens out of the packet with the index finger of the right hand, then use finger and thumb of the other hand to transfer it onto the other finger and double check it's not inside out before it goes in.
Maggie - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to ClimberEd)
>
> Everyone making it complicated?

Exactly what I was thinking! I just pinch mine out with my first two fingers. If they've been in a long time, then sometimes I need to slide them down a bit first. It just takes practice - and I've worn lenses for over 15 years, so have had plenty of practice!

Tall Clare - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Maggie:

Likewise (19 years here), and other posters seem to agree with this technique - though I guess everyone finds their own 'best' method.
beychae - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to ClimberEd:

Agree with you - I find the pinch/eyelid method a bit tricky. What I do is to point my head right (for my right lens) while still looking into the mirror in front of me, and it's then very easy to slide the lens off my cornea to the right and it just pops out. Inverse obviously for the left eye.
Maggie - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

I think it helps that disposables have become the norm, as you definitely get less precious about putting them in and taking them out. I remember fondly faffing around with lenses, cases, lotions and potions - in a tent, in the dark... :-)
ads.ukclimbing.com
Tall Clare - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Maggie:

I'm on fortnightly disposables, and I think that being able to deal with them without a mirror does make tent-based lens-wrangling a lot easier.
Welsh Kate - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
Certainly agree with the importance of being able to do it without a mirror - I had one highly entertaining deployment of contacts whilst in an MR Landy on blues and twos. Credit to the driver that I didn't poke an eye out!
Martin W on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to ClimberEd:

> Tilt your head down whilst looking forward, then you can slide the lense down the eyeball with one finger (index or middle) off the cornea. Then pinch to remove - I actually pinch between the sides of my index and middle, I find it easier than contorting to get the ends of my fingers in my eye.
>
> Lowering the head and looking forward is the key, it stops you blinking when you stick your finger in your eye. Straight on, you'll never manage it.

Interesting couple of ideas there. I was shown the tilt head down/look up method to put the lenses in and it worked a treat - and is very quick, as you say. I don't know why it wasn't suggested for the removal. The technique they tried to get me to use for removal the first time was a full-on, two-handed, arms contorted round the head, Alex-in-A-Clockwork-Orange stylee approach which felt ridiculously complicated and made me feel queasy when I looked at myself doing it in the mirror.

Pinching between index and middle finger might work better for me as well, given my sausage-like thumbs.

In reply to Ghastly Rubberfeet:

> Pinch horizontally rather than vertical.

Hmm, that feels as if my middle finger would get in the way, but I can give it a try.

In reply to Sunny:

> With my eye open I press the upper & lower eyelids in & towards each other & the lens pops out.

That sounds worth trying - if they'll let me. I didn't feel that it helped very much that the optician was basically insisting that I persevere with one method which just wasn't working for me, rather than offering other suggestions. I'll try to get them to allow me to experiment a bit next time.

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Sorry to state the bleeding obvious, but it takes practice.

Sorry to go off on a mild rant, but I'm not managing it at all at the moment, so the only "practice" I'm getting is in not doing it! Believe me, if I could find a way that worked just once then I'd practice that until I could do it it blindfolded and suspended upside down by my ankles over a flaming pool of hungry sharks while being beaten with pointy sticks. (Although the blindfold might get in the way a bit, now I think about it.)

In reply to deepsoup:

> You're supposed to wash your hands first - to give yourself the best chance of getting hold of the lens, its also good to make sure they're properly dry.

The optician has insisted that I wash and dry my hands first, so that's a given.

In reply to Neil Williams:

> Must admit I could never get used to them and decided in the end to stick with glasses.

I've been a glasses wearer for 8 years but as my presbyopia gets steadily worse I'm hoping to find a way to avoid having to wear glasses for certain activities where they create practical difficulties but for which I still need close vision. Once the contacts are in (which I've found easy to do) they seem OK. If only I could get them out! I don't have the benefit of a personal optometrist like Rob Exile Ward, unfortunately :-( I am exploring other avenues as well, though, in case I decide that contacts just aren't going to work for me.

Thanks everyone for the ideas and advice.
Sunny - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Hi

At my opticians (Boots) after the testing/prescription bit I was passed over to a tecnician/assistant. The first one showed me the method you described that you're having difficulty with. I tried several times over 2/3 appointments & just couldn't do it. Like you I just couldn't feel the lens. But then on a further appointment (still trying to sort it out!) a different assistant suggested to me that I try this other way (one which she found easier for her lenses) & it's just worked a treat for me. It's the pressure on the upper & lower eyelids that gets the lens out - I don't have to find/feel it. I can't see why they wouldn't let you try it - it's safe, hygieneic & best of all it works :-) On subsequent appointments I've removed my lenses in this way watched by the optometrist who had never remarked adversely about my technique & indeed has often remarked how well I do it :-))

Again best of luck. I know exactly how you're feeling!
Sunny - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Hi again

Meant to say that I'd been wearing (varifocal) glasses for reading & close work for around 15 years. I started trying contacts for climbing around 3 years ago as I couldn't see small holds & didn't want to wear glasses for climbing if I could avoid it. I now have a low level lens prescription which allows me to walk to/from the crag ok but means I can still see the holds on the rock.

S :-)
Martin W on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Sunny: Funnily enough, it's Boots I'm dealing with at the moment. And I'm considering contacts for much the same reason as you.

Does this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTUaVfmgl_I show the method you use? It certainly looks worth a try next time I go.
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Yep, that's the method I was thinking of too. I use my finger tips though.
jezb1 - on 04 Jan 2013
jez.brown1o Martin W: Had my eyes lasered years ago, but when I was using contacts I'd push the lens up first then pinch....
Mike C on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:
Probably a combination of some of the above but my method (of over 30 years now) is to hold the eyelids open with the 2nd (middle) fingers - being right handed left top/right bottom - then pinch the bottom of the lens between thumb & forefinger (right hand). Don't be too quick or you end up looking for a lens with poor eyesight somewhere under your head. I have never used a mirror on the basis that I have a good idea where my eye is without. Putting in is the same with the lens balanced on the end of my index finger, placing off centre & sliding across.
Having said all this my g/f tried them a few years ago & failed miserably.
Best of luck.
Sunny - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Hi again

Yes effectively it's the same idea. I don't use the eyelid edge/lashes as described but just press on the upper & lower eyelids - has the same effect. I found it much easier than the other method.

Andrew Lodge - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W: Put em in the bin and get your eyes lasered, best thing I ever did
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Andrew Lodge:

I take it your not yet 45 years old?
sianabanana - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:
My other half takes his out in what i thought was a odd way but might be spot on for you.

He squeezes his top and bottom eye lids together - so sort of like the pinch approach that you would do, but he does it through his eyelids, and then the lens just pops off.

No contact with the eye.

Just a thought
sianabanana - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to sianabanana:
sorry, didnt see the last few msgs. The video is kind of what he does. This sounds like it will be good for you if you have eye touching issues.
Jim C - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W: I use the middle finger from each hand push in from both sides, and it pops out in the middle, no mirror required.

I do struggle to get them in though!
jezb1 - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Andrew Lodge)
>
> I take it your not yet 45 years old?

I had my eyes done at 25. If I get 20 years of perfect eyesight without glasses / contacts I will be super happy. It's already been worth every penny for various reasons.
Rob Exile Ward on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to jezb1: Yes, but the problem you had is not the same as the OP, you can't use laser to correct presbyopia (the ability of the eye to change focus from distance to near, which disappears once we reach mid 40s).
krikoman - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W: you could use a Stanley knife to pull on side up, do this by inseting the blade between the eyeball and the lens.

Failing this and for emergency use only, use a blow torch to shrivel the lens which can then be plucked easily from you warm eyeball.
hang_about - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:
I swapped to daily lenses from monthly ones and had huge problems. The daily lenses were much softer so the pinch technique didn't work for me. I struggled on for a couple of months, mentioned it to my optician, and he changed the brand. The new dailies are a little stiffer so pop out when pinched.
Might be worth asking.
Mike C on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to krikoman:
> (In reply to Martin W)
> Failing this and for emergency use only, use a blow torch to shrivel the lens which can then be plucked easily from you warm eyeball.

Another method would be a quick blast of dry ice onto the eyeball, this would have the added benefit that, once thawed, the lens could be re-used, unlike with the blow torch trick.
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Here's how i do it:-

1. Third finger of right hand pull bottom eyelid down.

2. Second finger of left hand pull top eyelid up.

3. First finger and thumb of right hand pinch contact lens in horizontal motion.


I feel your frustration mate. My problem when i started wearing (many moons ago) was putting them in. I sat there with a mirror crying with frustration trying to overcome touching my own eyeballs. It's weird at first but it will become habit and you'll be whipping them out when your pissed up in no time. Good luck.
Jon Stewart - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to jezb1:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]
>
> I had my eyes done at 25. If I get 20 years of perfect eyesight without glasses / contacts I will be super happy. It's already been worth every penny for various reasons.

Yep, I wasn't dissing lasers or your choice, the results are great. But it's a bit different once you can no longer change your eye's focus (after 45) because if you have'em lasered for distance, you still can't read a book or see footholds.

In the next few decades there'll probably be surgical options that reverse presbyopia (loss of near focusing power).
MJ - on 05 Jan 2013
Martin W on 07 Jan 2013
Well, I paid another visit to the optician on Sunday and they told me that the eyelid squeeze technique won't work for the lenses they're recommending for me :-( I failed once again to get the lenses out using any of the methods they suggested. That's three visits now. One major problem is that after the second or third failed attempt I get so anxious that I can't concentrate on doing it properly, which just makes things worse. And it starts to irritate my eyeball.

Oddly, the method that the optician uses to get the lenses out when I fail is different to any of the ones they've suggested to me. They get me to pull my chin to my chest (which is what I've found works well for inserting the lenses) then they get me to look to the side away from the eye whose lens is being removed, and then they slide the lens to the other side of the eye and pinch it off from there. I wonder why they haven't suggested this approach to me? Then again, pinching doesn't seem to work for me anyway. Yesterday they got me to try rolling the lens down and off with a single finger motion. Yeah, that worked...

Frustratingly, I seem to be able to slide the lens off to the side/top/bottom OK but I just can't get it off the eyeball. Being told "it should just pop off" is phenomenally unhelpful when that clearly isn't happening.

I suspect that I am being coached by people who don't really understand how it's done, they just know a number of ways that usually work - "unconscious competents" as the terminology has it. Not what you want when, as the person being coached, you are convinced that you are an "unconscious incompetent" ie you can't do it, and you don't really understand how it's supposed to work, especially when repeated attempts under guidance fail to achieve results.

I've got another appointment booked with them tomorrow morning but I'm beginning to think that this just isn't for me.
Orgsm on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W:

I slide it to the outside corner of the eye. It usually loses surface tension then and comes out easily
krikoman - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to Martin W: Open eyes wide, whack back of head with large mallet.
PaulTanton - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to krikoman:

Lazer surgery. it's the only way. Had mine done in 2003. Not seen a thing since
Jon Stewart - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to PaulTanton:

As I posted above, that's no good for the OP, he's over 40 so would still need specs to see close up. I think he's trying some flash varifocal contacts, not just single vision things (which is probably why the eyelid prising technique's no good).

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