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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 When You Sleep With Contacts

Wearing contact lenses has become a popular choice for people who need vision correction. They provide convenience and freedom from glasses, allowing individuals to engage in various activities without hindrance. However, wearing contacts comes with responsibilities, including properly caring for and maintaining them. One important aspect of contact lens hygiene is removing them before going to bed. Let’s explore what happens when you sleep with contacts and why it’s crucial to avoid this practice.

When you sleep with contacts, you significantly increase the risk of developing various eye complications. Firstly, contacts restrict the amount of oxygen reaching your corneas. During sleep, your eyelids are closed, and the lenses impede the flow of oxygen to your eyes, leading to a lack of oxygen supply. This deprivation can cause discomfort, dryness, and irritation upon waking up. In severe cases, it can even lead to corneal ulcers, which are open sores on the cornea that may require intensive treatment.

Additionally, sleeping with contacts increases the risk of developing an eye infection. Our eyes naturally produce tears that help wash away debris and bacteria. However, contact lenses can interfere with this natural cleaning process. When you close your eyes, your tears circulate less, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. The presence of contacts provides the perfect environment for bacteria to multiply, leading to infections such as conjunctivitis or keratitis.

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Furthermore, contacts can accumulate proteins, lipids, and other substances from your tears over time. These deposits can build up on the lenses, causing discomfort and reducing their clarity. Sleeping with contacts exacerbates this problem, as the accumulation of these substances is accelerated during sleep. Consequently, wearing dirty contacts can lead to blurry vision, discomfort, and potentially more serious issues, such as corneal abrasions.

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

1. Can I take a nap with my contacts on?
It is not recommended to sleep, even for short periods, with your contacts on. Napping restricts the oxygen supply to your eyes, leading to discomfort and potential complications.

2. What if I wear extended-wear contacts?
While extended-wear contacts are designed to be worn overnight, it is still advisable to remove them as often as possible to allow your eyes to breathe. Consult your eye care professional for specific guidance.

3. Can I wear contacts while sleeping if they are labeled “sleeping contacts”?
No, there are no contacts specifically designed for sleeping. It is always best to remove your contacts before sleeping.

4. What should I do if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts on?
If you accidentally fall asleep with your contacts on, remove them as soon as you wake up. Give your eyes a break by wearing glasses for a day or two to allow them to recover.

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5. Can sleeping with contacts cause blindness?
While the risk of blindness from sleeping with contacts is extremely rare, it is essential to understand the potential complications and take necessary precautions to protect your eye health.

6. How often should I replace my contacts?
The replacement schedule for contacts varies depending on the type of lenses you wear. Daily disposables should be replaced daily, while other types may require replacement every two weeks or monthly. Consult your eye care professional for specific guidance.

7. Are there any alternatives to wearing contacts?
Yes, there are various alternatives to wearing contacts, including eyeglasses, LASIK surgery, and other corrective procedures. Consult your eye care professional to determine the best option for you.

In conclusion, sleeping with contacts can lead to numerous eye complications, including discomfort, dryness, infections, and more severe issues. It is vital to prioritize proper contact lens hygiene and remove them before sleeping to maintain good eye health. If you have any concerns or questions, consult your eye care professional for guidance tailored to your specific needs. Remember, your eyes deserve the utmost care and attention.
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