Girl waking up with one eye closed. What happens if you sleep with contacts?

What HAPPENS If You Sleep With Contacts? (Reasons Why It May Be Harmful)

Do you wear contact lenses? Are you TIRED of having to REMOVE them every night before bed?

  • Your contact lenses are safe if you take good care of them.
  • Good contact lens HYGIENE means never sleeping in your lenses.
  • If you sleep with your contacts in, you may experience redness and irritation
  • Also, you can experience other problems with the front surface of your eye (cornea).
  • PULLING off your contacts can cause damage when your eyes and contacts are dry.
  • Although some contact lenses are approved for overnight wear, experts don’t recommend them.
  • Give your eyes a break and let the cornea breathe. 

Well, can you sleep with contacts in?

No! Sleeping with your contacts in is definitely not safe. It can increase the likelihood of an eye infection. 

If you sleep with contact lenses on, you may not realize how bad it is until you wake up with a blurry vision. 

In fact, sleeping with contact lenses on can cause serious problems.

Read on to find out why you shouldn’t sleep with your contacts.

What Happens If You Sleep With Contacts? 

Sleeping with contact lenses can be very harmful to the eyes, increasing the chance of an eye infection

Wearing contact lenses while you sleep can cause your eyes to DRY out. Conditions are more likely to occur in dry eyes.

The majority of infections have the potential to cause permanent damage! And most importantly, there is no guarantee if that can be treatable. 

Contact your eye doctor if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned here.

What To Do If You ACCIDENTALLY Sleep With Contacts for One Night?

I’m pretty sure most of us have had this experience at some point. We wake up the following morning and realize we slept with contact lenses. What do we do?

If you were sleeping with contacts for one night, there’s no need to panic.

Your eyes need MOISTURE to stay healthy. But when we sleep, our eyes make fewer tears.

Your contacts might get DEHYDRATED and irritated, causing blurry vision.

If you fell asleep with contacts in, remove them as soon as possible to let your eyes breathe.

But don’t rush.

When your contacts are dehydrated, they might stick to your corneas, so don’t take them off too quickly. You could damage the cornea.

  • Don’t rub your eyes after waking up with the contact lenses in. 
  • The first thing you will have to do is check if you can remove them. 
  • If you can’t remove them easily, don’t tug at them.
  • If you feel that they are stuck, use an eye drop, and continue blinking until it’s easy to pull them off. 
  • When they come off easily, then remove them. The extra lubrication should help dislodge them.
  • Sometimes a contact lens can bend or go under the eyelid. Rub your finger on the top of the eyelid gently towards the nose. This is likely to cause the lens to move to the corner of the eye. Then it is easy to remove.
  • After getting them off, give your eyes some REST. 
  • Don’t wear your contacts for one whole day. 

Pay attention to how your eyes are feeling the next day.

You may experience irritation, redness, sensitivity to light, tearing, or blurred vision.

Consult your eye care professional if any of these symptoms last longer than a day or cause you concern. You may have an infection.

Use eye drop before taking lenses of if you accidentally sleep with contacts

Determining You Have an Eye Infection

If you think you have an eye infection, observe the following:

  • Eye discharge
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain in the eye or discomfort
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Swelling
  • Excessive tears
  • Burning or itchy eyes

If you feel any of those, consult a doctor and carry the contact lens set to the appointment. 

Extended wear contact lenses: Are they safe to sleep with?

Extended wear contact lenses are the latest type of lenses.

They are thinner than usual lenses. They are made of a breathable silicone hydrogel material that is highly permeable to the cornea.

The technology and materials for extended wear contact lenses have evolved tremendously over the past years.

Nevertheless, many ophthalmologists say contact lenses for sleeping are still too risky.

They RECOMMEND removing the lenses before going to bed.

Studies have shown that contact lenses increase the risk of eye infections regardless of lens type.

Infections That Can Occur Due to Contact Lenses

Sleeping with contacts increases your risk of getting an eye infection. Here are some possible conditions:

Fungal Keratitis – Red, Painful Eye, and Blurred vision

Fungal keratitis, also known as corneal inflammation, is primarily caused by a fungal infection and can result in vision loss if not treated in time. 

This infection mostly happens to people living in tropical areas, but your eyes can be infected in any climate. 

Now, wearing a contact lens can be harmful and should not be slept with; the feeling will be the same as experiencing an eye injury. 

Acanthamoeba Keratitis – Sensation of something in the eye, pain, redness, and blurred vision

Acanthamoeba Keratitis or cornea inflammation is the infection primarily caused by amoeba. 

If not treated correctly, it can lead to blindness. 

These species are found in water, soil, tap water, AC systems, etc. 

Now, wearing contact lenses pushes people towards the risk of this bacteria. 

Also, poor hygiene, swimming, or showering with contact lenses can impose the risk of infection. 

Hence keep yourself from regular wear of contact lenses. It can develop an injury in your eye. Infections can grow from scratches.  

And sleeping with contact lenses can potentially impose the risk of getting infected. 

Regular wear of contact lenses reduces the oxygen amount in your eyes. 

The lesser amount of oxygen the front part of your eye (cornea) receives, the more it loses the ability to protect itself. 

Bacterial Keratitis – Eye pain, redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light

Another infection causes cornea inflammation; if not treated properly, one can lose their vision. 

Wearing a contact lens maximizes the risk of such infections, especially when you wear your lenses overnight. 

Certain bacteria present in water, soil, and the human body cause Bacterial Keratitis.

Lenses can get bacteria when you put them on or take them off.

These can be transferred to the lens case if not cleaned properly. 

Cleaning your contacts with regular water increases the risk of infection; use a contact solution instead.

The Bottom Line

Wearing contacts while sleeping is a common habit among contact lens wearers. Although it seems harmless, it actually can have serious side effects.

So, can you sleep with contacts in? No, it is not safe to sleep with the lenses on! 

What happens if you sleep with contacts? Wearing contact lenses for a long time can potentially damage your eyes

Keeping lenses on increases the risk of infection, including the threat of losing your vision. 

Even if your contact lenses are approved for overnight wear, it would be best to remove them before going to sleep.

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