Can you Sleep in Contact Lenses?

If you’re a regular contact lens wearer, you may have wondered if you can sleep in your contact lenses or not. Generally, it isn’t recommended to sleep in your contact lenses. Whether out of laziness, forgetfulness or tiredness, sleeping in your lenses happens to a lot of people around the world, but doing so can harm your eyes. Falling asleep in your lenses can make your eyes feel incredibly dry and irritated. This can also put you at risk of certain eye diseases.

Why Shouldn’t I Sleep in my Lenses?

Sleeping in your lenses will put you more at risk of developing a corneal infection or microbial keratitis. This is because sleeping in lenses severely limits the amount of oxygen that can reach the eye, impairing the eye’s capacity to protect itself from bacteria. Moreover, sleeping in lenses will cause dry and uncomfortable eyes the next day.

Corneal infection

A corneal infection (also known as keratitis) can develop as a result of sleeping in your lenses. This infection is due to bacteria or a foreign object in the eye. This type of infection can cause pain, inflammation and even vision loss in the most extreme of cases. Bacterial keratitis usually develops from sleeping in your contact lenses.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis

Acanthamoeba Keratitis is an eye infection which can cause inflammation and, in severe cases vision loss. Most people who develop this infection are contact lens wearers. Lens wearers who swim or shower in their lenses are more likely to contract this infection. This is because water (any type of water) contains bacteria, which can create infection if it comes into contact with your lenses.

Those who don’t wear lenses can also develop this disease when the cornea is damaged. For example, if there was a scratch on your eye, the organism can enter the eye through this injury. Sleeping in your lenses will also put you at risk if you wear your lenses overnight.

What are Extended Wear Contact Lenses?

If your optician recommends it for you specifically, then you may sleep in your contact lenses. If your optician decides this is suitable for you, they will help you select a pair of contact lenses that have been approved for extended wear. Extended wear lenses have been designed specifically to be worn at night. Wearing lenses to sleep might be a good option for you depending on several factors, including your eye health and lifestyle. It is very important to discuss this with your optician before sleeping in contacts.

What Should I do if I Fall Asleep in my Lenses?

For all the reasons listed above, it is never a good idea to sleep in your contact lenses. Even a short nap can harm your eyes, so it’s not worth taking the risk. If you start to feel tired and you think you might fall asleep, wash your hands, and take your contact lenses out!

If you’ve ever taken a nap or accidentally fallen asleep with your contact lenses in, you’ll know the uncomfortable feeling of dry eye. Those who wake up with their lenses in may experience a lot of discomfort, the lens might even feel like it is stuck to the eye! This is because as you sleep, the lens dries out and shrinks.

If this happens to you and it feels like the lens is stuck to your eye, don’t try to remove it straight away. If you’ve fallen asleep in your lenses, always put some eye drops in first. Then wait for at least 5 minutes to allow time for your eyes and the lenses to rehydrate, making it easier for the lens to move. After this, you can take your lenses out (with clean, dry hands).

How can I Look After my eyes?

It’s not just sleeping in lenses that you should be mindful of. Here are some of the most important things you can do to maintain good eye health:

  • Get regular eye tests (at least every 2 years)
  • Eat a varied diet full of dark leafy greens and oily fish
  • Always take your contact lenses out before bed (unless you wear extended wear lenses)
  • Unless you wear daily disposables, maintain a good lens-cleaning routine
  • Keep your contact lenses away from any and all types of water
  • Do not swim or shower in your lenses
  • Keep hydrated
  • Take regular breaks from looking at digital screens

Only buy Contact Lenses from Reputable Sellers

It’s important to only purchase your contact lenses and eye care from reputable retailers. It’s also worth shopping online as you can often get much cheaper prices than physical stores. Feel Good Contacts sell the most affordable contact lenses online. You’ll find many well-known brands such as Acuvue and Dailies on their site for better prices than high street opticians.

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