Some things are beyond your control. Imagine this: It’s been a taxing day, and you’re on a bus going home. Because you’re tired, it is possible to fall asleep, or rather, accidentally fall asleep, even with contacts in your eyes. However, going to bed at night with contact lenses could be a conscious decision different from falling asleep and has dire consequences. Let’s talk about what happens if you’re sleeping in contact lenses.
What Happens if You Sleep with Contacts In?
The eyes need oxygen and moisture to remain in a healthy state. The thing with wearing contact lenses is that it prevents the eyes from receiving enough oxygen and moisture. Now imagine sleeping with them on for an extended time without blinking. It leads to oxygen deprivation, which can eat away your cornea.
Sleeping with contacts is bad for your eye health. It makes your eyes dry. Because there’s no moisture, your eyes are irritated and red. An absence of hydration can also make the lenses stick to your eyes for a while. Also, sleeping in contact gives you a higher risk of eye injury, eye infections like keratitis, and maybe eventual vision loss if left untreated.
The risk of sleeping with contact lenses in
When you sleep with contact lenses on, it provides an avenue for germs to hide, especially if you have poor contact lens hygiene. Wearing contacts in this state allows the germs to multiply and cause an eye infection such as keratitis.
Keratitis is one of the corneal infections of the eye. It is also called inflammation of the cornea. The cornea is on the eye’s surface. It covers the pupil, the iris, and deeper layers of the eye. The cornea’s ability is that of light refraction.
Any person can have Keratitis. But, those who wear contacts are more prone to this eye infection than those who don’t.
Symptoms of Keratitis
Keratitis symptoms can appear at different times depending on the type. Here are some glaring symptoms and types of Keratitis:
This is the most common type. It is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria that is found on the body or in the environment. The name of these bacteria is Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. They can enter your eye when your contact lens is not clean.
A single-celled parasite called Acanthamoeba causes it. Parasites live off other organisms. Acanthamoeba can get into the eye from tap water and hot tubs.
Symptoms of Keratitis
Here are some symptoms of Keratitis:
- Excessive watering of the eyes
- Eye redness
- Blurred vision or vision loss
- Difficulty opening the eyelids
- Sensitivity to light
Fungal keratitis is caused by fungi, usually from plants. It happens when particles from contaminated soil or plants get into the eyes.
Can You Go Blind from Sleeping with Contacts In?
The shorter answer is yes. However, it is not automatic. Sleeping with your contacts increases your risk of corneal infection that might require surgery. If you do not see an eye doctor immediately, you risk blurred vision and total vision loss which is blindness. Do not sleep when you wear contact lenses.
Why Does Sleeping with Contacts Cause Problems?
Sleeping in your contacts causes oxygen deprivation and dryness of the eye. It is also this time that bacteria can settle on the surface of the eye. It makes your eyes encounter discomfort.
Sleeping in contact lenses effects
Sleeping with your contact lens on has serious effects like lack of oxygen, discomfort, increased risk of infection, and so on. Here are some of them:
Your Risk of Eye Infection Increases the Longer You Sleep
Sleeping in contacts for a long period deprives the eye of the needed oxygen. It allows germs to thrive there. The longer germs stay and breed, the more liable you are to infections like fungal keratitis and microbial keratitis.
Lack of Oxygen to the Cornea
When you wear contact lens, one thing it does is it prevents oxygen from reaching the cornea. When you’re asleep with your contacts, your eyes are closed, depriving them of even more oxygen which leads to dryness, discomfort, and redness.
Stagnation of the Tear Film
The tear film is an outer part of the eyes that is made of a liquid-like substance. It helps protect the eyes from discomfort and controls inflammation. It is said to refresh as you blink.
When you’re asleep with contacts, you don’t blink, this leaves the tear film stagnant, and not refreshed. So, your eyes will be dry and prone to infection.
How Long Can You Sleep with Contacts In?
Do not sleep while wearing contacts! Although there are extended wear contact lenses designed to be worn into the night and for continuous wear, it is unsafe for you to sleep with contacts for any duration of time.
Nap with contact in
Taking a nap with contact lens in is dangerous for you because it exposes you to a higher risk of eye infections
Sleeping With Contact In For One Hour
You may think that one hour is too short a time for anything to affect your eye. It isn’t! Even in an hour, falling asleep with your contacts increase your risk of infections.
Sleeping With Contact In For One Night
If so much damage can be done in an hour, imagine how much can be done an entire night. Contact lens wearers should not be found sleeping in contacts.
If you catch yourself dozing off and you intend to take a nap, the best thing to do at that moment is to protect your eyes by removing them and placing them in the lens case.
What If You’ve Been Sleeping with Contacts In Regularly?
This is a possible case because snoozing can sometimes be uncontrollable. But, don’t worry, you are not alone. Many contact lens wearers fall victim to this one out of many high risk behaviors. If you notice any symptoms, visit an eye doctor immediately and follow all the eye doctor’s directions.
Make it a habit to consciously keep your contact lenses in a storage case with contact lens solution.
What to Do If You Fall Asleep With Contacts In
If you fall asleep with your contacts in, immediately remove them as you wake up and keep them in the contact lens case. If you find it difficult to remove them, don’t force them out, instead, apply eye drops. If you notice any discomfort or irritation, then you should go for an eye exam.
How to Treat Eyes After Sleeping in Contacts
Immediately remove them gently. Get your blink on a few times. Use eye drops to keep your eyes moisturized and take a break from contacts for the day if you can.
Healthy Contact Lens Wear Habits
Here are some tips to be healthy contact lens wearers:
- Wash your hands properly before handling them
- Set reminders to take regular breaks from wearing them
- Do not go swimming in a hot tub with them on
- Do not sleep with lenses on
Extended Wear Lenses: Contact Lenses for Night And Day
Extended wear contact lenses though new are the current trend. These kinds of contact lenses can be worn for longer periods. Though it is unsafe to wear contact lenses while sleeping, these are designed to allow for oxygen and prevent total dryness. However, it is best to see your doctor for a prescription that best suits your eyes.
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Do not be found asleep with your contacts. It is never safe. If you must use contact lenses for extended periods, see an eye doctor for the best contact lens prescriptions. It is possible to snooze with the lenses in, remove them and keep them in a lens case but don’t try to force them out when they feel stuck instead, apply eye drops six to eight times. if you notice persistent irritation, visit an eye doctor quickly for disease control. Sleeping with contacts for as little s an hour can lead to infection which when not properly taken care of causes blindness. You don’t want to take that risk.