Contact lenses offer convenience and clearer vision, but require some extra daily effort on your part. They’re designed to be removed regularly, and leaving them in for several hours while you sleep can cause severe eye irritations. Here is all you should know about the potential consequences of leaving contacts in overnight, and how you can reduce your risk if you do choose to do it.
Guide to Sleeping with Contact Lenses
Why It Isn’t Recommended
Eye doctors recommend never sleeping with contact lenses still in place. If left on for a prolonged period of time, lenses block the flow of oxygen to your eyes, drying them out and causing irritation. In some cases, this can cause conjunctivitis, a bacterial eye infection affecting the cornea.
In addition to short-term irritation, sleeping in contacts can have long-term consequences. Irritations can trigger contact lens acute red eye (CLARE), which can cause corneal ulcers or corneal neovascularization, an overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye. When this occurs, you may have to permanently give up contact lenses.
How to Protect Your Eyes
To avoid irritation and potential infections, always remove your contacts before going to bed. Keep a spare lens case filled with solution on hand to have a safe place to store them wherever you go.
If you find yourself often falling asleep with your contacts in, purchase ones approved by the FDA for 30 days of extended wear. These are approved for sleeping in, but remove them overnight at least once a week to give your eyes a break and promote air flow.
To find the right contact lenses to suit your lifestyle and needs, visit West Valley Vision Center Inc. in Fairbanks, AK. Their optometrists provide personalized care to find your prescription with eye exams, and offer glaucoma screenings, treatments for eye surgery, and prescription glasses and sunglasses in a range of styles. Visit their website to learn more about their optometry services, or call (907) 479-4700 to schedule an appointment.