What to do if you lose your contacts?

Losing your contact lenses can be frustrating and inconvenient. If you wear contacts daily, not having them can greatly impact your vision and day-to-day activities. Don’t panic though – there are several steps you can take to find your lost contacts or get a replacement pair quickly.

Look in the Case

The first place to check for missing contacts is inside your contact lens case. Carefully examine each side of the case, including under the lids. Contacts can sometimes stick to the case itself or get caught under the edges of the lids.

Remove any solution from the case and tilt it toward a light source to get a better view inside. Your lens may be stuck to the bottom or edges. Shake the case while holding it upside down to dislodge anything stuck inside.

Retrace Your Steps

If your lenses aren’t in the case, try to remember the last place you had them. Retrace your steps to locate where you may have removed your contacts. Check these locations thoroughly:

  • Bathroom counter or sink
  • Vanity table or makeup area
  • Nightstand or bedside table
  • Surfaces in your bedroom like dressers or desks
  • Kitchen table or countertops
  • Bathroom floors (contacts can adhere to tile or bath mats)

Look on both flat surfaces and floors in these areas. Shine a flashlight across hard surfaces and into crevices to aid your search.

Inspect Inside Your Eyelids

It may sound strange, but check under your eyelids as well. A lens could have gotten stuck to the inside of your eyelid or fallen out before you had the chance to remove it.

Wash your hands thoroughly, then pull your top lid over your bottom lid and look under both. Use a mirror, a flashlight, and a cotton swab if needed. The lens could be stuck in the folds of your inner eyelid without you realizing it.

Check Your Clothing and Towels

Your missing lens may have fallen onto clothing or towels when you removed it. Look through shirts, dresses, robes, or anything you wore to bed the night before. Towels used to dry your face or hands are also prime suspects.

Turn garments inside out and shake them forcefully over a blank surface. Do the same with used hand and bath towels. Inspect creases, folds, and lint traps carefully.

Empty Nearby Trash Cans

If there’s a trash can near where you last remember having your lenses, look through it. It’s possible you accidentally dropped one in the trash when throwing something else away.

Carefully sift through any bathroom or bedroom wastebaskets. You may need to wear gloves and empty the entire contents onto a surface to thoroughly search.

Call Your Eye Doctor

If you still can’t locate your lost contact lens after searching thoroughly, call your eye doctor. Let them know you lost a lens and the exact brand, power, and prescription.

They may have trial lenses or samples in your specifications. You can stop by and pick up a temporary replacement lens to get you through until your replacement set arrives.

Ask if they offer emergency after-hours services as well. Some eye doctors have 24-hour on-call staff who can assist you with a lost lens late at night or on weekends.

Use Your Spare Contacts

Hopefully you have a spare pair of contacts on hand for instances just like this. Look for unopened boxes or blister packs stashed with your supplies.

Always keep extra contacts on hand in case you lose or damage a lens. That way you have a backup when you need it.

Switch to Glasses Temporarily

If you don’t have spare contacts, you’ll need to resort to eyeglasses until a replacement pair arrives. This isn’t ideal, but ensures you have clear vision in the meantime.

Put on your current prescription glasses, even if they aren’t your favorite pair. You may have an old pair still handy as well.

Get Replacement Lenses Shipped

Order a new shipment of your contacts brand from an online retailer that offers fast shipping. Many e-retailers can deliver replacement lenses overnight or within 1-2 days.

You’ll just need your latest contact lens prescription, which your optometrist can provide if you don’t have a copy. Enter this into the website along with your brand and parameters.

Once shipped, your fresh contacts should arrive quickly so you aren’t without lenses for long.

Ask Friends or Family

Do you have any friends or family members who wear the same contact lens brand and prescription strength? Ask if they have an unopened spare box or partial box that you could borrow a lens or two from.

Offer to pay them back or replace the contacts you use. Having them loan you a lens can help in a pinch while you wait for your own to be delivered.

Visit Nearby Retailers

Head to a major retailer like Walmart Vision Center, Costco Optical, or other stores with on-site optometrists. Bring your contact lens prescription with you.

Ask if they carry your specific brand and power in stock. If so, purchase a trial pair to hold you over until your replacement shipment arrives.

The cost will likely be more than ordering online, but some retailers may price match. This ensures you walk out with replacement lenses immediately.

One-Day Disposable Contacts

If you can’t get your normal lenses quickly, one-day disposables can work. Retailers like Walgreens and CVS stock major brands of disposable daily contacts.

You’ll still need your prescription information. Disposable lenses are more affordable than your usual lenses for just a day or two of use.

Keep the opened blister packs and use up all the disposables once your replacement lenses arrive. Don’t wear disposables longer than recommended.

Get a Back-Up Prescription

To avoid this hassle in the future, ask your optometrist to write a back-up contact lens prescription. Keep this with your supplies or saved electronically.

That way if you lose your primary prescription, you have all the details needed to order replacements readily available.

Store Contacts Properly

Prevent lost contacts by always storing them correctly. Follow these contact lens storage tips:

  • Empty and rinse your case after each removal, allowing it to air dry.
  • Use fresh sterile saline each time you store your lenses.
  • Replace your case every 3 months or per your eye doctor’s recommendation.
  • Disinfect lenses for the recommended time before putting them back in the case.
  • Always put the same lens in the same side of the case.
  • Store your contact lens case upright with the lids snapped shut.
  • Keep your case away from moisture, heat, and direct sunlight.

Avoid Sleeping in Lenses

Never sleep or nap in your contact lenses unless they are FDA approved for extended overnight wear. Sleeping in regular daily contacts greatly raises your risks of:

  • Eye infections
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Permanent eye damage
  • Vision loss

Remove lenses before bed and store them properly in fresh solution in their case. If you fall asleep with contacts in accidentally, remove them immediately upon waking up.

Inspect Lenses Before Insertion

Always examine your contacts closely before putting them in your eyes. This helps ensure you don’t mistakenly insert a lens that has folded over or become damaged.

Hold the lens up to the light and look for any imperfections in the material. Run your finger gently over the surface as well to feel for abnormalities.

If you notice any tears, irregularities, or dirt on the lens, do not insert it. Use a spare or switch to glasses until you can replace the faulty lens.

Have Backup Glasses

Owning a pair of glasses in your current prescription is wise even if you predominantly wear contacts. This provides eyewear to fall back on when needed.

Choose eyeglasses with plastic lenses if possible since these are more resistant to scratches. Store glasses in a protective hard case when not being worn.

Keep glasses clean and store them in an easily accessible place like on your nightstand or bathroom counter.


Losing a contact lens can be inconvenient, but there are ways to relocate a lost lens or acquire replacements promptly. Always store lenses properly in fresh solution in their case. Never sleep in lenses not approved for overnight wear.

Keep spare lenses and glasses on hand in your prescription. Know your lens specifications and have a back-up prescription from your eye doctor. With the right preparation, you can quickly overcome a missing contact!