What Happens if You Sleep With Contacts?
Many people who wear contact lenses may be guilty of occasionally falling asleep without removing them. Whether it’s due to fatigue, forgetfulness, or simply convenience, sleeping with contacts can have serious consequences for your eye health. In this article, we will explore what happens when you sleep with contacts and why it is crucial to remove them before bedtime.
When you sleep with contacts, several issues can arise, including dryness, blurred vision, eye infections, and corneal ulcers. Here’s a closer look at the potential consequences:
1. Dryness: Contact lenses restrict the amount of oxygen that reaches your eyes. When you sleep in contacts, your eyes are unable to receive the necessary oxygen, leading to dryness and discomfort upon waking up.
2. Blurred Vision: While sleeping, debris, protein buildup, and bacteria can accumulate on your contact lenses, causing blurry vision upon waking. This can persist until you remove the lenses, clean them properly, and allow your eyes to recover.
3. Eye Infections: Sleeping with contacts significantly increases the risk of developing eye infections. The lenses create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to conditions like conjunctivitis (pink eye) or keratitis (inflammation of the cornea). These infections can be painful, require medical intervention, and potentially lead to long-term complications if left untreated.
4. Corneal Ulcers: Extended contact lens wear, especially during sleep, can cause corneal ulcers. These open sores on the cornea are painful and can lead to vision loss if not treated promptly. Sleeping in contacts increases the chances of corneal ulcers as the lenses can trap dirt, bacteria, and other foreign particles against the delicate cornea.
5. Reduced Lens Tolerance: Consistently sleeping with contacts can cause discomfort and reduce your eyes’ tolerance to wearing lenses overall. This may result in shorter periods of comfortable lens wear during the day or even the need to switch to glasses permanently.
6. Contact Lens Displacement: During sleep, your eyelids move over your eyes, potentially causing the contact lenses to shift or become dislodged. This can lead to discomfort, dryness, and irritation when you wake up.
7. Increased Risk of Allergic Reactions: If you have allergies, sleeping in contact lenses may worsen your symptoms. Allergens can accumulate on the lenses and cause additional irritation and discomfort when you wake up.
Common Questions and Answers:
1. Can I sleep with contact lenses labeled as “extended wear”?
Extended wear lenses are specifically designed for overnight use. However, it is still recommended to consult with your eye care professional before sleeping in any type of contact lens.
2. What should I do if I accidentally fall asleep with contacts?
If you unintentionally fall asleep with contacts, remove them as soon as you wake up and give your eyes time to rest and recover. If you experience any discomfort or vision changes, seek medical attention.
3. How long can I wear contact lenses during the day?
The recommended maximum daily wear time for contact lenses is typically around 12-14 hours. However, this can vary depending on the type of lenses you wear and your eye health. Always follow your eye care professional’s advice.
4. Are there any alternatives to contact lenses for overnight vision correction?
Yes, there are alternatives such as orthokeratology (Ortho-K) lenses, which are worn only during sleep to temporarily reshape the cornea and provide clear vision during the day.
5. Can I wear contact lenses while napping?
It is generally not recommended to wear contact lenses while napping, as it can still cause dryness, discomfort, and potential complications.
6. How often should I replace my contact lenses?
The replacement schedule varies depending on the type of lenses you wear. Daily disposable lenses are discarded after a single use, while monthly or bi-weekly lenses need to be replaced as per their specific guidelines.
7. Can I swim or shower with contact lenses?
It is advised to remove contact lenses before swimming or showering to minimize the risk of eye infections caused by exposure to waterborne bacteria or microorganisms.
In conclusion, sleeping with contact lenses can have severe consequences for your eye health. To ensure optimal eye health and comfort, it is crucial to remove your contacts before bedtime and follow proper lens hygiene practices. Always consult with your eye care professional for personalized advice regarding your contact lens use.