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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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Why Can’t You Sleep With Contacts?

Many people who wear contact lenses are guilty of falling asleep with them on. Whether it’s due to late nights or sheer laziness, sleeping with contacts can pose serious risks to your eye health. Here are some reasons why you should always remove your contacts before going to bed.

1. Oxygen Deprivation: Contacts, especially those made of non-breathable materials, can restrict the flow of oxygen to your eyes. During sleep, your eyes need even more oxygen to rejuvenate and repair themselves. Wearing contacts while sleeping can lead to dry and irritated eyes, and in severe cases, even corneal ulcers.

2. Increased Risk of Infection: When you close your eyes to sleep, your eyelids create a warm and moist environment, perfect for bacterial growth. Contact lenses provide a fertile ground for bacteria to thrive, increasing the risk of eye infections such as conjunctivitis and keratitis. Sleeping with contacts reduces the opportunity for your eyes to naturally cleanse themselves, making it easier for bacteria to invade your eyes.

3. Contact Lens Displacement: Rolling around during sleep can cause your contacts to shift or get dislodged from their proper position. When this happens, your contacts may become uncomfortable or even scratch your cornea, leading to pain, redness, and potential damage.

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4. Dry Eyes: Sleeping with contacts can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Lenses can absorb the natural tear film that lubricates your eyes, leaving them dry and uncomfortable upon waking. Extended periods of dryness can also increase the risk of corneal abrasions and other complications.

5. Allergic Reactions: Some people are allergic to the materials used in certain contact lenses or cleaning solutions. Sleeping with contacts can prolong the exposure to these allergens, leading to itchy, red, and swollen eyes.

6. Contact Lens Deposits: Over time, protein and other deposits can accumulate on your contact lenses. Wearing them while you sleep further promotes the buildup of these deposits, reducing the clarity of your vision and increasing the risk of infections.

7. Increased Risk of Corneal Hypoxia: When contact lenses restrict the flow of oxygen to the cornea, it can lead to a condition called corneal hypoxia. This condition can cause blurred vision, discomfort, and may even result in the formation of blood vessels in the cornea.

Common Questions:

1. Can I take a short nap with my contacts on?
It’s best to remove your contacts for any period of sleep, even short naps. Napping with contacts can still lead to eye irritation and complications.

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2. Can I sleep with daily disposable contacts?
Daily disposable contacts are not designed for extended wear, including sleeping. They should be discarded at the end of the day, as the materials used are not suitable for overnight use.

3. What 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 and give your eyes a break before putting them back on.

4. Can I wear extended wear contacts while sleeping?
Extended wear contacts are designed for overnight use. However, it’s still important to consult with your eye care professional to ensure they are suitable for your eyes and follow the recommended wearing schedule.

5. Are there any contacts that can be slept in?
There are certain contact lenses made specifically for extended wear, such as silicone hydrogel lenses. However, it’s crucial to consult with your eye care professional to determine if they are suitable for your eyes and to follow the prescribed wearing schedule.

6. How can I avoid falling asleep with my contacts on?
Establish a routine of removing your contacts before bed. Set reminders or keep a spare pair of glasses near your bed to make it easier to follow through.

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7. What should I do if I experience discomfort or redness after sleeping with contacts?
If you experience any discomfort, redness, or irritation after sleeping with contacts, remove them immediately and consult with your eye care professional. They can assess any potential damage or infection and recommend appropriate treatment.

In conclusion, sleeping with contacts on is never a good idea. The risks to your eye health far outweigh the convenience. Remember to prioritize your eye health and always remove your contacts before going to sleep.
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