How To Take Out Contacts With Long Acrylic Nails

Wearing contact lenses and long nails simultaneously makes life interesting. Both are helpful and sometimes vital. But removing your lenses becomes a headache or even a nightmare. The worst part is that no one trusts another to remove their contacts.

Fortunately, all hope isn’t lost. With dedication, you can remove contacts irrespective of the length of your nails. This guide explores a few techniques to try.

How to take out contact lenses with long nails

The rolling method is among the most effective ways to remove contact lenses if you wear long nails. With the nail angled away from your eye, use the padded part of your fingertip to press the contact lens down to the lower lid.

Keep pushing until the lens meets the lower eyelid, then put more pressure to roll the contact lens out of the eye.

Can you Take Out Contacts with Long or Acrylic Nails?

Yes, you can take out contact lenses with long or acrylic nails. It’s more challenging than using natural short nails. But you can do it with a bit of dedication.

Alternatively, shorten the ails on the index finger and the thumb to insert and remove your contact lenses more easily. See an eye doctor if you experience cornea scratches.

Getting Ready before Removing Contacts with Long Nails 

Removing contacts safely with long nails is a delicate process that requires adequate preparation. Consider the following;

  • Practice with Shorter Nails: Don’t attempt to remove contacts with long nails if you’ve never done so with shorter nails or wearing long nails for the first time. They’re much more difficult to control, increasing the risk of costly mistakes. Practicing with shorter nails gives you much-needed experience and confidence.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly: Long nails harbor lots of dirt and debris. So, you must wash them thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Use cold or warm water (whichever you prefer) and pH-neutral soap. Then rinse your hands thoroughly to remove all soap and air-dry them to avoid lint. Alternatively, use a paper towel.
  • Work in a well-lit room and use a mirror: You should be able to see every detail when removing contacts with long nails. So, find a well-lit room with a stable mirror that doesn’t swing or move sideways. Also, ensure you can view the whole eye and locate the lens without straining.
  • Mind your location: First, assess just how much space you have. For instance, avoid an area with obstructions and distractions. Next, stand on a stable surface free of movement. Finally, remember the contacts may fall. So, you want to stand over a clean surface. The bathroom sink is often a good choice. Plug the drain to avoid accidentally flushing the contacts.

5 Ways to Remove Contact Lenses with Acrylic Nails

There are several ways to remove contacts safely with long nails. But the following five methods are the best;

Approach #1: The Ceiling Method

The ceiling method is straightforward, and one of the fastest contact lens removal approaches. Here’s how to proceed;

  1. Pull your top eyelid upward using the middle finger of the non-dominant hand.
  2. Pull the lower eyelid down using the middle finger of the dominant hand.
  3. Hold the dominant hand’s index finger parallel to the eye. 
  4. Sweep the lens downward.
  5. Once the lens begins to come out, pull it down toward the lower eyelid. Then pinch it between your fingers.

Approach #2: The Rolling Method

If you find the pinching method uncomfortable and painful, the rolling method is a gentler approach with little discomfort. The only problem is it takes time to master.

So, you may need to practice before you can professionally “roll out” your contact lenses.

Here’s how it works;

  1. Keeping the nail angled away from the eyes, press down the contact lens with the padded part of your fingertip, pulling it down toward the lower eyelid. The index finger works best. But some people pull it off with the middle finger.
  2. Keep pushing slowly but firmly until the contact lens reaches the lower eyelid. You’ll feel some resistance at this point.
  3. Apply more pressure to force the contact to roll over the eyelid and out of the eye. Keep your eyes open throughout the entire contact removal routine.

Approach #3: The Slide-to-Side Method

There’s a good chance you’re aware of the slide-to-side contact removal approach if you belong to the long nail club. It’s a practical method that gets out the lenses in seconds.

Moreover, it uses only three fingers, making it more comfortable than other methods.

Here’s how to slide out your lenses;

  1. Pull up the upper eyelid using the middle finger of the non-dominant hand.
  2. Pull the lower eyelid down using the middle finger of the dominant hand.
  3. Look towards your nose.
  4. Align the index finger of the dominant hand parallel to the eyeball.
  5. Using the flesh pad of the aligned index finger, slide the lens toward the outer corner of the eye.
  6. Once the lens pops out of the eye, momentarily hold it against the skin, then pinch it between your fingers.

Approach #4: The Pinch Method

The pinch method is popular because most people are more comfortable using index fingers than other fingers. Moreover, it uses the fingertips and not your nail. So, nail length isn’t a problem.

Here’s how to pinch out contact lenses;

  1. Angling your nails to point away from the eyeball, use the two index fingers to push the opposite sides of the lens inward. But don’t put too much pressure.
  2. While pressing the lens, move your index fingers towards each other while pressing the contacts, effectively pinching the lens at the center. Do so with the sides of the finger or the tips under the nails.
  3. Secure the lens between the fingers without pinching too hard. The lens folds in half. But ensure the sides don’t touch.
  4. Gently pull the lens forward until it pops out of the eye. Then store them safely.

Approach #5: The “No-Hands” Method

The “no-hands” method is one of the safest methods to remove contacts with long (or short) nails. Instead of using your hands, it involves pinching the contacts using a pair of tweezers.

The best part is nearly all manufacturers supply contact lenses with the necessary tweezers.

Alternatively, you can find contact lens tweezers on amazon. They are made of plastic with silicon tips and are very soft to prevent contact damage. Also, the soft silicone tips eliminate pain if you accidentally scratch your eyes with the tweezers.

Here’s how to remove contact lenses hands-free;

  1. Stand in front of a mirror on stable ground.
  2. Grab a pair of tweezers with your thumb and index finger of the dominant hand.
  3. Pull your eyelids apart using the thumb and index finger of the non-dominant hand.
  4. Gently touch the opposite ends of the contact lens with the tong’s silicon tips.
  5. Squeeze the tong tips together to pinch the lens out of the eye.

Removing Contact Lenses with a Cotton Bud

Can you remove contact lenses with cotton buds? Yes, you can. You need a clean cotton swab, a mirror, and stable fingers, that’s all.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water. Then air-dry them or use paper towels.
  2. Apply a few drops of saline solution to both eyes to hydrate the lenses and eyeballs. This reduces the risk of corneal abrasion.
  3. Grab a cotton swab and bend it in the middle to align the two buds like tweezers.
  4. Dip the swabs in contact lens solution. Moistening makes the buds more compact, with no standing fibers.
  5. Looking directly into a mirror, hold the swab with your dominant hand while using the non-dominant one to hold your eyelids apart.
  6. Gently press the buds together to pinch the contact lens. Blinking helps to push the contacts out if they are stuck.

How to Take Out Contact Lenses without Touching your Eye 

Another question we get regularly is; can you take out contact lenses without touching your eye?

The answer is yes, and the cotton bud approach above is one way to go. But you can also remove the lenses with your hands without touching the eyes with anything. 

First, pull up your upper eyelash line and then pull down the lower eyelash line. Then look to the side and blink suddenly. The lens pops out in a beat.

How to Put in Contact Lenses with Long Nails 

Unfortunately, putting in a contact lens with long nails is as challenging as removing them. Here’s the basic procedure;

  1. Scoop the lenses out of the contact lens case with the edge of your nail. Don’t touch the center of the lens.
  2. Lift the upper eyelash line using your pointer finger. Then pull the lower lash line with the middle finger, opening a space wide enough to insert the lens.
  3. Balance the lens on the opposite fingertip. Place it along the side of the fingertip, not the back or front.
  4. With your eyelids pulled apart, center and insert the lens in your eye. Keep the lens on the finger rather than the nail for safety reasons.
  5. Blink severally to move the lens around and stabilize it. Then keep blinking until you feel comfortable.

What to do If You Scratch your Contact Lenses 

The only solution to torn or scratched contact lenses is throwing them away. The same applies if you notice chips on the edges. Just throw the old lenses and get new ones. Otherwise, the jagged edges can scratch your cornea, resulting in an infection.

The good news is that modern extra-soft lenses don’t scratch. Instead, they may tear or become cloudy. Either way, throw away the old lenses and get new ones. See an eye doctor if you injure your eyes.


How do you remove contact lenses from nail extensions?

Removing contact lenses from fingernails is easy. But you must be careful not to damage the contacts. First, contacts stick to wet fingers or nails. So, ensure your hands are dry. Then gently lift the lens with the other hand and store it properly.

Can you put contacts in with acrylic nails?

Yes, you can wear contact lenses with acrylic nails. Doctors recommend otherwise, warning that long artificial or acrylic nails can damage contacts and scratch your eyes – and they’re right. But with practice, you can safely put and remove the contacts with long nails.

Is there a trick to removing contact lenses?

Yes, there are a few quick ways to remove contacts without breaking much sweat. For instance, one of the best methods is keeping the eyelids open, looking to one side, and blinking quickly. The contacts come out effortlessly.


Wearing contacts and long nails at the same time is fun. But it presents a few challenges. For instance, not only do you need to be extra careful opening boxes, but you must now also find creative ways to remove your contacts without tearing the cornea.

Fortunately, you have a few options, including the ceiling, rolling, slide-to-the-side, and pinch methods. Alternatively, consider a hands-free approach.

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