How To Take Your Contacts Out With Long Nails

Contact lens wearers are well aware of the struggles that come with frame-free vision enhancement. From getting glittery makeup stuck in them to falling asleep with them on, there are definitely times that the optical supports can be more of a hindrance than a help. Perhaps one of the most irritating situations for contact lens users is trying to use long nails, whether artificial or all-natural, during lens removal time. To quote Reddit user u/throwaway889901234, "How do I take off my contacts with acrylic nails? I am literally crying right now." (Spoiler alert: They succeeded at removing their lenses, and so will you.)

There are all sorts of tricks for getting contacts in and out of your eyes successfully, but attempting to disturb them with lengthy talons is an entirely different beast. You don't want to get bacteria or dust in your eyes, and you certainly don't want to place your nails anywhere near the surface of your lens. While it's easy to be frustrated by an unruly contact lens, don't stress. Here are some simple steps for taking out your contact lenses with long nails.

Beginning the process of contact lens removal

First and foremost, wash your hands thoroughly using gentle hand soap. Next, ensure that the pads of your fingertips are entirely rinsed and dried. The best way to dry your hands is by using a paper towel, as it's hygienic and reduces the chance of attracting lint from your fingers to your lenses or eyes. According to Optometrists Network, any moisture that remains on your fingertips can cause difficulty when handling your contact lens. Make sure that your manicure has no debris underneath the nail to avoid particles from coming into contact with your eyes.

If you're a reusable lens wearer, you'll want to have your case prepped and filled with clean contact solution for your lenses to rest in overnight. If you're a daily wearer, you won't need to prep anything because you'll be tossing your old lenses out momentarily.

Unless you're a seasoned pro at swiping away your contact lenses, you'll want to find a mirror to help guide you as you begin the removal process. Generally, the bathroom is best because it's easy to get close to the mirror, and you should have a counter or sink to protect any errant contact lenses from falling. Some lens specialists, like Warby Parker, suggest placing a paper towel on the sink to catch your contact lens and protect it from germs if one should drop. Now that you've set the stage, you're ready to remove your contact lenses safely.

Removing your contact lenses gently and easily

Take a deep breath. You've got this, and your contact won't get stuck in your eye, according to the experts at 1-800 Contacts. Two options for contact removal are the pinch method and the rolling method. However, the pinch method can potentially lead to nails or fingertips coming into contact with lenses or eyes, and you don't want to incur any injuries or near-misses. Therefore, let's focus on the rolling method.

Start by looking directly in the mirror. Try to keep your eye wide open, but if you have any difficulty, hold your lid up to prevent it from reflexively closing (via ContactsDirect). Using your dry fingertip, lightly place the soft pad of your finger, not your nail, against your contact lens and gently slide it toward the outer edge of your eye (toward your ear, not your nose).

After you've nudged it in the right direction, use the pad of your finger on the lens' surface once more. Your lens should feel a bit tackier and easier to move at this point. Gently guide the lens with your fingertip toward the outer edge of your eye again, and this time you should feel the lens roll outward for easy removal. You can use a delicate grasping motion to secure the lens from the outer edge as it unfolds, but most times, it will fall out on its own.