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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.

What Happens if You Sleep With Contacts

Many people who wear contact lenses may have been tempted to sleep with them on at some point. Whether it’s out of convenience, forgetfulness, or simply not wanting to go through the hassle of removing them, sleeping with contact lenses can have serious consequences. In this article, we will explore what happens if you sleep with contacts and answer some common questions related to this topic.

Sleeping with contact lenses can lead to a condition called contact lens-related acute red eye (CLARE). CLARE is characterized by redness, irritation, pain, and a gritty sensation in the eyes. This condition occurs due to decreased oxygen supply to the cornea when the lenses are left in overnight. The cornea, being the outermost layer of the eye, requires oxygen to function properly. When deprived of oxygen, it can become inflamed and irritated, leading to discomfort and potential complications.

Additionally, wearing contacts while sleeping increases the risk of developing a corneal infection, such as microbial keratitis. The risk of infection is further heightened when lenses are not properly cleaned and disinfected. Bacteria and other microorganisms can accumulate on the surface of the lens, leading to an increased chance of an eye infection. If left untreated, corneal infections can cause severe pain, vision loss, and even permanent damage to the eye.

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Sleeping with contacts can also lead to corneal ulcers, which are open sores on the cornea. These ulcers can be painful and may cause sensitivity to light and blurred vision. Corneal ulcers require immediate medical attention to prevent complications and protect the health of the eye.

Now, let’s address some common questions related to sleeping with contacts:

1. Can I sleep with extended wear contact lenses?
Extended wear contact lenses are specifically designed to be worn overnight. However, it is still important to follow the instructions provided by your eye care professional and to regularly replace the lenses to minimize the risk of complications.

2. Can I sleep with daily disposable contact lenses?
No, daily disposable contact lenses are not intended for overnight wear. They should be removed and discarded at the end of the day to maintain eye health.

3. What should I do if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts?
If you fall asleep with your contacts, remove them as soon as you wake up and give your eyes a break. If you experience any discomfort or redness, consult your eye care professional.

4. Can I take a short nap with my contacts in?
While it is generally not recommended, a short nap with your contacts in may not cause significant harm. However, it is best to remove them to allow your eyes to breathe and reduce the risk of complications.

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5. Can sleeping with contacts cause blindness?
While rare, severe complications from sleeping with contacts, such as corneal infections, can lead to vision loss if left untreated. It is crucial to prioritize proper contact lens hygiene and follow the recommended wearing schedule.

6. How can I avoid falling asleep with my contacts on?
Establishing a routine of removing your contacts before bed can help prevent falling asleep with them on. You can set reminders, keep a spare pair of glasses near your bed, or opt for daily disposable lenses.

7. Are there any alternatives to contact lenses for overnight vision correction?
Yes, there are alternatives such as orthokeratology (ortho-k) or overnight corneal reshaping. This involves wearing special contact lenses at night that temporarily reshape the cornea, providing clear vision during the day without the need for contact lenses or glasses.

Sleeping with contact lenses can have serious consequences for your eye health. It is essential to adhere to proper contact lens hygiene, follow the recommended wearing schedule, and consult your eye care professional if you experience any discomfort or issues. Your eyes are precious, and taking care of them should always be a top priority.