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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 You Sleep With Contacts In?

Wearing contact lenses has become increasingly popular as an alternative to eyeglasses. While they provide convenience and improved vision, it is essential to follow proper care and maintenance guidelines to avoid potential complications. One common question that often arises is, “What happens if you sleep with contacts in?” Let’s explore the answers to this question and shed light on the importance of proper contact lens hygiene.

Sleeping with your contact lenses in can have several adverse effects on your eye health. Here are some of the potential consequences:

1. Dryness and Discomfort: Wearing contacts during sleep prevents oxygen from reaching your eyes, leading to dryness and discomfort. This can result in redness, itching, and a feeling of grittiness when you wake up.

2. Corneal Ulcer: When you sleep with contacts, bacteria and other microorganisms can accumulate on the lenses. These organisms can cause an infection called a corneal ulcer, leading to severe pain, redness, and blurred vision. If left untreated, it can even result in vision loss.

3. Hypoxia: The cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, requires oxygen to maintain its health. When you sleep with contacts, the lenses act as a barrier, reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the cornea. This condition, known as hypoxia, can cause corneal swelling, blurred vision, and an increased risk of developing infections.

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4. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC): Long-term use of contact lenses during sleep can trigger GPC, an inflammatory condition that affects the inner lining of the eyelids. Symptoms include itching, redness, and the formation of bumps under the eyelids, which can be quite uncomfortable.

5. Corneal Abrasion: During sleep, your eyes naturally move and rub against your eyelids. If you sleep with contacts, the lenses can cause friction on the cornea, leading to scratches or corneal abrasions. This can cause pain, sensitivity to light, and a foreign body sensation in the eye.

6. Increased Risk of Infections: When you sleep with contacts, you expose your eyes to a higher risk of infections. Bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms can accumulate on the lenses, potentially leading to serious conditions such as bacterial keratitis or fungal keratitis. These infections can be difficult to treat and may result in permanent vision damage if not addressed promptly.

7. Contact Lens Intolerance: Consistently sleeping with contacts can lead to contact lens intolerance, where your eyes become hypersensitive to the presence of contact lenses. This intolerance can cause discomfort, redness, and an inability to wear contacts for extended periods.

Common Questions and Answers:

1. Can I take a short nap with my contacts in?
It is generally not recommended to sleep or nap with your contacts in, even for a short duration, as it increases the risk of complications.

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2. How long can I wear my contacts?
The recommended maximum wear time for most contact lenses is around 8-12 hours per day. However, it is best to consult your eye care professional for specific instructions based on your lens type and individual needs.

3. Can I sleep with extended wear contacts?
Some contact lenses are designed for extended wear, allowing you to sleep with them. However, it is crucial to follow the instructions provided by your eye care professional and regularly replace the lenses as advised.

4. What should I do if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts in?
If you mistakenly sleep with your contacts in, remove them as soon as you wake up and give your eyes some time to rest. If you experience any discomfort or notice any changes in your vision, consult your eye care professional.

5. Can I wear my contacts while swimming or showering?
It is generally recommended to remove your contacts before swimming or showering to avoid potential contamination from waterborne microorganisms.

6. How can I prevent complications from sleeping with contacts?
The best way to prevent complications is to strictly follow the guidelines provided by your eye care professional, including proper cleaning, disinfection, and replacement of your contact lenses.

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7. Are there any alternatives to sleeping with contacts?
If you require vision correction while sleeping, consider discussing alternative options such as orthokeratology, which involves using specially designed lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea while you sleep.

In conclusion, sleeping with contacts in can have severe consequences on your eye health. It is essential to prioritize proper contact lens hygiene and adhere to your eye care professional’s recommendations to maintain healthy vision and prevent complications.
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