Southwest, FL | Lost Contact Lens Behind the Eye | Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida

Dr. Croley describes a patient who thought their contact lens was stuck behind their eye. Many patients believe that a contact lens may slight off their cornea and slip behind the eye. The anatomy of the eye prevents the lens from going that far as the conjunctiva ends about half way around the eye posterior from the front of the eye. In most cases the contact lens has been lost from the eye.


Dr. Croley: Hello and welcome to Case of the Day. I'm Dr. Croley and today we're going to discuss a young man who came in complaining of losing his contact lens behind his eye. He was very concerned that the lens was going to be behind his eye and was going to do damage or something, and he knew it was in there and he just couldn't find it and get it out. So we're going to discuss a little bit about what happens in that situation.

Dr. Croley: It's pretty not an uncommon situation where people think they have a contact behind their eye and their eye feels irritated and they've searched and looked and they've tried to get a lens out of their eye and it's not there. The first thing is if you have lost your contact, then you need to make sure that your vision now is not clear in that eye, so you've got to cover up your other eye, and if your vision is not clear, then you know that your contact either is now missing or could be dislocated off the cornea, the clear part of your eye.

Dr. Croley: A contact lens sits on the cornea, at least a soft one, over the clear part of your eye to provide good vision. And so when people have thought they have a lens in their eye or they've lost it and are trying to find it, they keep trying to pinch the lens out of the eye, and their eye actually gets irritated, so they still have their sensation like there's a lens in their eye because they've actually irritated their eye by trying to get something out that's most of the time not there. When someone says they have a lens behind their eyes, it's most commonly that their eye is just irritated from them playing around and pinching on their eye for a while, than actually having a lens still in their eye. But occasionally that does happen.

Dr. Croley: So first thing I'd like to let you know is that you don't have to worry about this lens going behind your eye and then causing some kind of damage because it's going to slip behind your eye and never to be found again, because I'm going to show a little bit about the anatomy. The white part of your eye is covered by a lining called the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva starts here where the clear part ends and right where the white part starts, and that contains the blood vessels in your eye. So when you get an eye infection or pink eye or conjunctivitis, those blood vessels in this outer coating of your eye become engorged or inflamed and your eye gets red.

Dr. Croley: This coating goes along the surface of your eye and then it dead ends right here, just about almost halfway back around the eye and then it actually goes across, connects to the tissue behind your eyelid and starts coming forward, and then ends right at the edge of your lid. So this is a dead end. That is, there's a cul de sac or a recessed area where this conjunctiva goes back, then turns around and comes back on the lid. And so we can only go this far back, as far as on your eye is concerned. So it can't go behind here and do something.

Dr. Croley: Now on a rare occasion, I have found a couple of people who come in and said, I think I've got a lens on my eye and they actually have had two or three lenses stuck up under here that they've just left in there and never knew they were there. And so when you think you have lost a lens, or you think a lens may still be in your eye, it's always good to come into the eye doctor, and then we make sure that there's nothing stuck back here, further back, because that could, being a foreign body, it could cause you to get an infection at some point down the road. So you do want to remove those. But it's actually very uncommon that we find lenses there.

Dr. Croley: So if your eye does feel irritated and you wear contact lenses and you think that, gosh, the lens is still in there, certainly you need to come into the eye doctor and let us look. Fortunately, most of the time it's really actually the lens isn't there and your eye is just irritated and you don't have to worry about this lens suddenly getting way back behind your eye because it dead ends here. It can't go any further back.

Dr. Croley: If you have any questions about contacts and wearing contacts, certainly feel free to contact us at the website and we'll try to answer those questions. If not, may God grant you healthy eyes and great vision.