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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 Your Contacts On

Wearing contact lenses has become a popular choice for vision correction due to their convenience and comfort. However, one common mistake that contact lens wearers make is sleeping with their contacts on. While it may seem harmless, sleeping with your contacts on can have serious consequences for your eye health. In this article, we will explore what happens if you sleep with your contacts on and address some common questions related to this topic.

When you sleep with your contacts on, several potential issues can arise. First and foremost, your cornea, the clear front surface of your eye, relies on oxygen from the air to stay healthy. Wearing contacts reduces the amount of oxygen reaching your cornea, and when you sleep with them on, this deprivation becomes even worse. This can lead to a condition called corneal hypoxia, which can cause redness, blurred vision, discomfort, and even corneal ulcers.

Another issue is the buildup of debris and bacteria on your contacts. During the day, your contacts accumulate proteins, allergens, and other particles from your tears. Sleeping with your contacts on allows these substances to remain in contact with your eyes for an extended period, increasing the risk of eye infections. The lack of oxygen and the presence of debris can create a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to conditions such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) or keratitis (inflammation of the cornea).

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Here are some commonly asked questions about sleeping with contacts, along with their answers:

1. Can I sleep with my contacts if they are labeled as “overnight” or “extended wear”?
While some contact lenses are approved for overnight use, it is generally not recommended to sleep with any type of contact lens. Extended wear lenses still pose a higher risk of complications compared to daily wear lenses.

2. How long can I wear my contacts before removing them?
The maximum recommended wearing time for most contact lenses is around 12-16 hours. It is essential to give your eyes a break and allow them to breathe without the lenses.

3. What should I do if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts on?
If you wake up with your contacts still in, remove them immediately and give your eyes a rest. Use lubricating eye drops to help soothe any discomfort, and monitor your eyes for any signs of redness or irritation.

4. Are there any contacts designed specifically for sleeping with?
There are orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses that temporarily reshape the cornea overnight, allowing you to see clearly during the day without the need for contacts or glasses. However, this type of contact lens requires careful fitting and regular check-ups with an eye care professional.

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5. Can sleeping with contacts cause permanent damage?
Sleeping with contacts on a regular basis can increase the risk of developing severe eye conditions that may lead to permanent vision loss. It is crucial to prioritize your eye health and follow proper contact lens care guidelines.

6. Can I take a nap with my contacts on?
Short naps can be tolerated by some individuals, but it is still best to remove your contacts before napping to minimize the risk of complications.

7. Is it safe to use eye drops instead of removing my contacts?
Using eye drops may temporarily alleviate discomfort, but it does not replace the need to remove your contacts. Eye drops do not address the underlying issues caused by sleeping with your contacts on, such as reduced oxygen supply or bacterial buildup.

In conclusion, sleeping with your contacts on can have serious consequences for your eye health. It is essential to follow proper contact lens care guidelines and always remove your contacts before sleeping. If you accidentally fall asleep with your contacts on, remove them immediately and monitor your eyes for any signs of discomfort or irritation. Remember, maintaining good eye health should always be a priority.
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