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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 On?

For many people, contact lenses are a convenient and effective way to correct their vision. They offer freedom from the restrictions of glasses, allowing wearers to participate in various activities without hindrance. However, it is essential to practice proper contact lens hygiene and follow the prescribed wearing schedule to maintain healthy eyes. One common question that arises is what happens if you sleep with contacts on? Let’s delve into the potential consequences of this unhealthy practice.

Sleeping with contacts on can lead to a condition called contact lens-related acute red eye (CLARE). CLARE occurs due to reduced oxygen flow to the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye. When you sleep with your contacts, it restricts the amount of oxygen reaching your cornea, causing redness, irritation, and discomfort upon waking up.

Additionally, wearing contacts overnight also increases the risk of developing an eye infection. The combination of reduced oxygen flow and the accumulation of bacteria, debris, and protein on the lenses creates an ideal environment for the growth of harmful microorganisms. These organisms can cause conditions such as corneal ulcers or microbial keratitis, which can potentially lead to vision loss if left untreated.

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Sleeping with contacts on can also lead to dry eyes. During sleep, tear production decreases, and the tears that are produced may not circulate as effectively when contact lenses are worn. This can result in dryness, itchiness, and a gritty sensation upon waking.

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

1. Can I sleep with daily disposable contacts?
No, daily disposable contacts are not designed for overnight wear. They lack the necessary oxygen permeability and moisture retention to be worn continuously.

2. Can I sleep with extended wear contacts?
Some contact lenses are specifically approved for extended wear, meaning they can be worn overnight for a specific period. However, it is important to consult with your eye care professional to ensure that you are an appropriate candidate for extended wear lenses.

3. What should I do if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts on?
If you accidentally sleep with your contacts, remove them as soon as you wake up. Lubricate your eyes with artificial tears and allow them to rest without contact lenses for a few hours to restore oxygen flow.

4. Can I wear contacts while napping?
It is generally recommended to remove your contacts before napping, even if it is just a short one. Napping with contacts on can still disrupt the oxygen flow to your cornea and increase the risk of complications.

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5. How can I avoid falling asleep with my contacts on?
Develop a consistent and regular contact lens removal routine before bed. Set reminders or use specific contact lens cases to encourage proper lens care and reduce the chances of falling asleep with them on.

6. What are the signs of an eye infection caused by sleeping with contacts?
Signs of an eye infection may include redness, excessive tearing, discharge, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or a feeling that something is stuck in your eye. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

7. Can I wear contacts overnight if I have dry eyes?
If you have dry eyes, it is generally not recommended to wear contacts overnight. Speak with your eye care professional to explore other options that may be more suitable for your condition.

In conclusion, sleeping with contacts on can lead to various eye complications, including CLARE, infections, and dry eyes. It is crucial to follow the recommended wearing schedule and practice proper contact lens hygiene to maintain healthy eyesight. If you have any concerns or questions about sleeping with contacts, consult with your eye care professional for personalized advice and guidance.
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