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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cholakova

What to Do if a Contact Lens Feels Loose & Why It Happens?

Contact lens wearers can relate - dealing with a loose contact lens can be a hassle. Whether it just doesn't stick to the eye or it dislodges, moves around, or even falls off when you blink, there are a few reasons why it may happen.

Understanding the whys and knowing what to do when a contact lens feels loose will save you time and frustration. In this article, we go over all the scenarios and provide practical solutions to address the loose contact lens issue.

Causes of a Loose Contact Lens

Several factors could contribute to a contact lens dislodging frequently. Here are some potential reasons.

1. Incorrect Fit

Contact lenses come in different sizes and curvatures. If they do not conform to the curvature of your eyes, it's safe to say they will move around or dislodge.

The base curve of contact lenses affects how well the lens sits on the cornea. If the base curve doesn't match your eye's curvature, it can cause the lens to fit too tightly or too loosely. A lens that is too tight on the eye can cause discomfort, redness, and damage to the cornea. Then again, a loose lens is unlikely to stay in place.

Another reason you may feel discomfort and instability is if the lens diameter is too large or too small to securely adhere to your eye. In this case, the contact lens will keep moving. The lens diameter is always listed on the packaging, usually near the diopter.

For optimal comfort, lenses need to settle in the correct orientation of your eye. If a contact rotates or is misaligned, it may be prone to dislodgement and you may experience blurry vision.

If you have astigmatism, your cornea is irregularly shaped, so regular contact lenses are not a viable option for you. You would need special toric (synonym for astigmatic) lenses to see clearly. Your eye doctor will provide you with an appropriate prescription.

Overall, most soft lenses (especially dailies) are a standard size that fits most people. If that is not the case for you, consult your ophthalmologist for a personalized recommendation.

2. Lens Debris

Build-up of debris on the contact lens surface can create a slippery layer, causing the lens to feel loose and unstable. Here are a few examples of what happens.

Dust, lint, or other small particles can get trapped between your contact lens and your eye. As foreign bodies, the eye tries to flush them out, but the lens prevents it. Thus causing irritation and itching. The discomfort will make you blink a lot and/or rub your eyes, which can physically loosen and dislodge the lenses.

Environmental factors like pollen, smoke, sandstorms or pollution introduce bigger and harder debris into the eye. In windy or dusty conditions, this debris can get into your eye and push out or dislodge your lens.

What's more, proteins from your tears accumulate on contact lenses over time, forming deposits. The protein deposits may make the lenses feel rough or gritty or cause a sensation of something stuck in your eye. Other tear film debris (oil or mucin), can adhere to contact lenses, too. The excessive buildup affects the fit and increases the likelihood of your contact lenses coming loose.

The same problem occurs if you don't clean your contact lenses properly or regularly.

3. Dry Eyes

Contact lenses directly interact with tears. They rely on moisture to stay hydrated, maintain shape, and remain comfortable on the eye’s surface.

However, some people produce fewer or poor-quality tears. Low tear production or too much tear evaporation results in dry eyes. When the eyes are dry, lenses feel rough, uncomfortable to wear, and may move.

Factors contributing to dry eyes while wearing contacts are lens material, lens fit, and inadequate blink rate.

Some contacts limit oxygen transmission, affecting tear stability. At the same time, poorly fitted lenses can irritate the eye and disrupt tear distribution. And last, continuous screen time reduces blinking, necessary for even tear coverage.

Managing dry eye discomfort starts with opting for lenses that retain moisture and allow oxygen transmission. Continues with proper cleaning and storage instructions to prevent irritant buildup. Using artificial tears and lubricating eye drops also helps.

4. Old Contact Lenses

If you're using long-term lenses - weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly contacts, please stop using them after their expiration period. Over time, contact lenses may lose shape or elasticity, resulting in a contact lens feeling loose.

So contacts once fitting well may no longer provide the ideal fit. If this occurs, replace them with new ones as recommended. Regular check-ups with your eye doctor can ensure your lenses continue to fit properly.

contact lens

What to Do If a Contact Lens Feels Loose?

Try these strategies if a contact lens feels loose:

  • Reassess fit

  • Clean and disinfect lenses

  • Lubricate eyes

  • Consider lens replacement

  • Avoid eye rubbing

When a contact lens feels loose, remove it and inspect it for visible damage or debris. Also, check if the lens is inside out. If that's the case, clean and disinfect the lens, and reinsert it carefully, paying attention to its position on the eye.

Use artificial tears to ease dryness and improve contact lens comfort. Avoid using eye drops with preservatives, as these can interact with the lens material.

If the contact lenses consistently feel loose despite proper care and handling - replace them. The lens size and diameter may be wrong for you. Discuss the concerns with your eye doctor to explore alternative options.

Lastly, if your eyes feel itchy or irritated, artificial tears should help. But please refrain from rubbing your eyes. Rubbing may dislodge the contact lens and it's quite possible to lose it or for it to get under your eyelid.

Preventive Measures

The best prevention of loose contact lenses is eye exams to update prescriptions. An eye doctor follows your eye health and can determine which contact lenses will fit your eye properly. Over time, a change in prescription or lens type may be necessary.

It's also important to always adhere to the contact lens care regimen. Don't miss cleaning, disinfection, and replacement schedules. Handle them with clean hands and avoid exposing them to water or other substances that may compromise their integrity.

In Summary...

Dealing with a loose contact lens can be frustrating. However, knowing how to address the issue promptly can maintain comfortable and safe contact lens wear. By following hygiene practices, adhering to care instructions, and seeking guidance when needed, contact lens wearers can enjoy clear vision.

Any persistent discomfort or changes in vision should be promptly addressed by an eye care specialist to prevent potential complications.


Checked by Atanas Bogoev, MD.


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