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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 When You Sleep With Contacts In?

Contact lenses are a popular alternative to traditional eyeglasses, providing clear vision without the inconvenience of wearing frames. However, proper care and usage are crucial to maintaining healthy eyes when using contact lenses. One common mistake that many people make is sleeping with their contacts in. Let’s explore what happens when you sleep with contacts in and why it is important to avoid this practice.

When you close your eyes to sleep, your contact lenses act as a barrier between your cornea and the oxygen present in the air. This can lead to a lack of oxygen reaching your eyes, causing a condition called corneal hypoxia. When your cornea doesn’t receive enough oxygen, it becomes more susceptible to infections and other complications.

Sleeping with contacts in also increases the risk of developing corneal ulcers. These painful sores can occur when bacteria or other microorganisms get trapped between your contact lenses and your eyes. Corneal ulcers can cause redness, pain, sensitivity to light, and even vision loss if left untreated.

Moreover, contact lenses tend to absorb fluids from your eyes, including tears. While sleeping, your eyes naturally produce fewer tears, leading to dryness. When your eyes are dry, not only can it cause discomfort, but it can also increase the friction between your contacts and your eyes, leading to irritation and potential damage to the cornea.

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Additionally, wearing contact lenses for extended periods, such as overnight, can result in a condition called contact lens-induced acute red eye (CLARE). CLARE is characterized by redness, pain, and blurred vision. This condition can be quite uncomfortable and may require medical attention to alleviate symptoms.

Now, let’s address some common questions regarding sleeping with contacts in:

1. Can I sleep with extended-wear contacts?
Extended-wear contacts are designed for continuous wear, including overnight. However, it is still essential to consult with your eye care professional before wearing them while sleeping.

2. What if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts in?
If you unintentionally sleep with your contacts in, remove them as soon as you wake up to minimize the potential risks and allow your eyes to breathe.

3. Can I use eye drops to moisten my eyes while wearing contacts?
Yes, you can use eye drops specifically designed for contact lens wearers to lubricate your eyes. However, it is crucial to consult with your eye care professional before using any eye drops.

4. How often should I replace my contact lenses?
The frequency of contact lens replacement depends on the type of lenses you are using. Daily disposable lenses should be discarded after a single use, while other types of lenses may need to be replaced on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.

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5. Are there any contact lenses designed for overnight wear?
Yes, some contact lenses are specifically designed for extended-wear, allowing you to sleep with them. However, it is still important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consult with your eye care professional.

6. Can I swim or shower with my contacts in?
It is generally recommended to remove your contacts before swimming or showering to reduce the risk of infection. Water can contain harmful microorganisms that can get trapped under your lenses and cause eye issues.

7. What are some signs of a contact lens-related infection?
Signs of a contact lens-related infection include redness, pain, excessive tearing, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, and a feeling of something being stuck in your eye. If you experience any of these symptoms, promptly remove your contacts and seek medical attention.

In conclusion, sleeping with contacts in can lead to various eye complications, including corneal hypoxia, corneal ulcers, dryness, and CLARE. It is essential to follow proper contact lens care guidelines and avoid wearing them while sleeping to maintain healthy eyes. If you have any concerns or questions, consult with your eye care professional for personalized advice.