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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 Your Contacts In

Wearing contact lenses can be convenient and provide clear vision throughout the day. However, it is essential to follow proper care and hygiene guidelines to avoid potential risks and complications. One of the most common mistakes contact lens wearers make is sleeping with their contacts in. Let’s explore what happens when you sleep with your contacts in and why it is not recommended.

When you close your eyes during sleep, the oxygen supply to your eyes decreases. This reduction in oxygen, combined with the presence of contact lenses, creates an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The extended wear of contact lenses can lead to various complications, including:

1. Corneal Infections: Sleeping with your contacts in significantly increases the risk of developing corneal infections, such as microbial keratitis. Bacteria and other microorganisms can accumulate on the lenses, leading to inflammation and potentially severe infections.

2. Reduced Oxygen Supply: Contact lenses act as a barrier between your cornea and the oxygen in the air. When you sleep with your contacts in, the already limited oxygen supply to your eyes further decreases, potentially causing discomfort, dryness, and irritation.

3. Corneal Hypoxia: Prolonged contact lens wear, especially during sleep, can lead to corneal hypoxia, a condition where the cornea doesn’t receive enough oxygen. This may result in corneal swelling, blurry vision, and even permanent damage to the cornea in severe cases.

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4. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis: Another complication that can arise from sleeping with your contacts in is giant papillary conjunctivitis. This condition is characterized by inflammation of the inner lining of the eyelids and can cause itching, redness, and discomfort.

5. Dry Eyes: During sleep, the lenses can absorb moisture from your eyes, leading to dryness and discomfort upon waking. This can worsen if you regularly sleep with your contacts in, potentially resulting in chronic dry eye syndrome.

6. Contact Lens Discomfort: Even if you do not experience any immediate complications, sleeping with your contacts in can cause discomfort and irritation. The lenses may become dry, move out of place, or stick to your cornea, causing discomfort and blurry vision.

7. Increased Risk of Eye Injuries: Leaving your contacts in overnight can increase the chances of eye injuries. If a foreign object, such as dust or an eyelash, gets trapped between the lens and your eye, it can lead to abrasions, scratches, or corneal ulcers.

Common Questions and Answers:

1. Can I sleep with my contacts in occasionally?
Sleeping with your contacts in occasionally is not recommended, as it still poses a risk of complications. It is best to remove and properly clean your lenses before sleeping.

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2. What if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts in?
If you accidentally fall asleep with your contacts in, remove them as soon as you wake up and allow your eyes to rest without lenses for a few hours.

3. Are there any contact lenses specifically designed for overnight wear?
Yes, there are contact lenses approved for extended wear, which can be worn overnight. However, it is crucial to consult with your eye care professional before using them.

4. Can I use any type of contact lens solution for overnight storage?
No, it is essential to use the appropriate contact lens solution recommended by your eye care professional for disinfection and storage.

5. How often should I replace my contact lenses?
The replacement schedule for contact lenses varies depending on the type and brand. Follow the recommended guidelines provided by your eye care professional.

6. Can I wear my contacts for extended periods during the day?
Extended wear of contact lenses during the day is not recommended unless specifically approved by your eye care professional.

7. What should I do if I experience discomfort or redness after sleeping with my contacts in?
If you experience any discomfort, redness, or changes in vision after sleeping with your contacts in, remove them immediately and consult your eye care professional for evaluation and guidance.

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In conclusion, sleeping with your contact lenses in can lead to various complications, including infections, reduced oxygen supply, and corneal damage. It is crucial to follow proper care and hygiene guidelines, including removing your lenses before sleeping, to maintain healthy eyes and vision.
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