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We have an affiliate relationship with and receive compensation from companies whose products we review on this site. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

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What Happens if I Sleep in My Contacts?

Contact lenses have become an increasingly popular choice for vision correction due to their convenience and effectiveness. However, wearing contacts for extended periods, especially during sleep, can have serious consequences for your eye health. In this article, we will explore what happens if you sleep in your contacts and address some common questions related to this topic.

When you sleep in your contact lenses, you are depriving your eyes of oxygen. Contact lenses act as a barrier, reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the cornea. During sleep, when your eyes are closed, oxygen levels are already lower than when you are awake. Adding contact lenses to this equation further restricts oxygen supply to your eyes, leading to potential complications.

The most common issue associated with sleeping in contact lenses is corneal hypoxia, also known as oxygen deprivation. This condition occurs when the cornea doesn’t receive an adequate supply of oxygen, resulting in discomfort, redness, dryness, and blurred vision. Corneal ulcers, infections, and even permanent vision loss can also occur as a result of prolonged oxygen deprivation.

Now let’s address some common questions related to this matter:

1. Can I sleep in my contacts if they are labeled as “extended wear”?
While some contact lenses are approved for extended wear, it is still not recommended to sleep in them unless specifically advised by your eye care professional. Extended wear lenses are designed to allow more oxygen to reach the cornea, but the risk of complications still exists.

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2. Can I occasionally sleep in my contacts without any issues?
Even if you have done it in the past without any problems, the risk is always present. It only takes one incident of sleeping in your contacts to potentially cause serious harm to your eyes.

3. What if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts on?
If you unintentionally fall asleep with your contacts, it is best to remove them as soon as you wake up. However, make sure to monitor your eyes for any signs of discomfort or redness, and contact your eye care professional if any issues arise.

4. Are certain types of contact lenses safer to sleep in?
Some types of contact lenses, such as silicone hydrogel lenses, allow more oxygen to reach the cornea than traditional soft lenses. However, this does not mean they are completely safe to wear during sleep. It is always best to follow the recommendations of your eye care professional.

5. Can I use rewetting drops to reduce the risk of complications?
While rewetting drops can provide temporary relief from dryness and discomfort, they do not address the underlying issue of oxygen deprivation. It is crucial to remove your contacts before sleeping to ensure your eyes receive the necessary oxygen.

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6. What are the signs of corneal hypoxia?
Symptoms of corneal hypoxia include redness, dryness, discomfort, blurred vision, and light sensitivity. If you experience any of these symptoms, remove your contacts immediately and seek professional advice.

7. How can I reduce the risk of complications associated with contact lens wear?
To minimize the risk of complications, it is important to follow proper hygiene practices, such as washing your hands before handling your contacts, cleaning and storing them correctly, and replacing them as recommended by your eye care professional. Additionally, avoid wearing your contacts for longer than the recommended wear time and never sleep in them.

In conclusion, sleeping in contact lenses can have serious consequences for your eye health. It is crucial to prioritize the well-being of your eyes and follow the recommendations of your eye care professional to avoid potential complications.
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