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What You Need to Know About Sleeping in Contact Lenses?

What You Need to Know About Sleeping in Contact Lenses?

A large number of people use contact lenses to enhance their vision. But mostly make a severe mistake that results in multiple problems, such as sleeping with contact lenses. If you are one of them, you may experience dryness and irritation when you wake up with contact lenses. However, wearing contact lenses is safe, but wearing them while sleeping for a long period of time results in multiple eye conditions. If you are facing eye problems after sleeping in contact lenses, this blog is for you! Continue reading to know more about the risks. 

The Risk of Contact Lenses Wearing While Sleeping

The reason why your contact lenses get dry and stick to your eye overnight is simple. Lenses decrease the amount of oxygen and water that go through your eyes. It won’t cause any problems if you stay within the precautions and take a rest from them every night. But when you don’t, then it becomes tricky.

A one-time incident after a night out should not cause serious harm to your eyes if you sleep with your lenses on. You may feel some discomfort or redness in the eyes or some itching. While cycling is a healthy activity, cycling for a long time might make you sick and have negative effects like ulcers, keratitis, and inflammation of the cornea. 

But oxygen is not the only reason sleeping in contacts can be harmful: hydration is also a big plus. We do not blink during our sleep time. In order to make tears and keep our eyes moist naturally, we should drink enough water.  Hence, dehydration in your eyes happens when you sleep with your contacts on, because of which you would not only have discomfort but also could lead to serious, long-term problems.

What’s the Consequence of Sleeping with Contacts?

If you sleep with contacts, the chances of getting an eye infection will considerably increase. Under serious conditions, these infections can result in blindness and permanent corneal damage.

Bacterial Keratitis

Bacterial keratitis is a corneal infection that is typically caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Pseudomonas bacteria. Both of these are found both in the human body and in the environment. If you use extended-wear contact lenses,  your immune system is compromised, or you have a history of eye injury, you are at higher risk of getting bacterial keratitis.

When the National Eye Institute reports, infectious keratitis is usually treated with eye drops, but more severe cases can be treated with steroid drops. If left undiagnosed, your cornea could be permanently damaged by the organism.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis

The amoeba form of this infection can be found in various water sources, such as tap water, hot tubs, pools, lakes, and rivers.

According to the American Optometric Association, Acanthamoeba keratitis often occurs simultaneously with a microbial eye infection. If you have rinsed your contacts with tap water, swam in them, and slept in them, you may be exposed to the virus.

Treatment of this condition is a medication eye drops regimen, which is a long-term one. If the eye drops don’t work, surgery will be needed.

Fungal Keratitis

Studies have indicated that fungal keratitis is more often seen in areas with moderate temperatures and tropical weather. For sleeping with your contacts, there is a high risk of fungal keratitis. However, most persons who contract it also have been involved in an eye injury involving a plant, branch, or stick.

It is essential to treat fungal keratitis immediately. This infection can cause you to lose sight of the infected eye if ignored. Interestingly, fungal keratitis accounts for the highest number of blindness-related deaths.

What You Need to Know About Sleeping in Contact Lenses?

What Happens if You Wear Contacts to Bed?

When you are unaware of the fact that you slept with your contact lenses on, You’re just waking up and freaking out immediately – now, that’s the one thing you shouldn’t!  Keep your cool – we’re here to help you through it:

  • First, don’t remove your contact lenses because they feel too uncomfortable. They’re probably cracking and stuck to your eyelids. So it will be very hard to rub them out the way you usually do.
  • Moreover, instead of blinking constantly, perform eye massages to produce tears, which will help moisten your lenses.
  • Drinking a lot of water will not just help rehydrate but will also add more moisture to your eyes.
  • If the lenses are still dry, you should also use the eye drops to make them more hydrated.
  • After your eyes again feel normal, it’s time to take your lenses off.
  • Give the lenses a rest. Or even better, two days off. You have to give your eyes a break for as long as you can!

Is it still uncomfortable, perhaps even two days later? Call your optician, and they will perform an eye examination with you and advise accordingly. Vision Gallery has an expert eye specialist who will help you ease your pain and discomfort. 

Side Effects of Sleeping with Contact Lenses

Due to the lack of oxygen and hydration, falling asleep with contact lenses in can cause:

  • Eye dryness
  • The contact lenses stuck to your eyes cause pain when you remove them.
  • Red and itchy eyes
  • Corneal ulcers
  • The patients might suffer from keratitis, which is a swelling of the cornea.
  • Conjunctivitis from the chronic inflammation itself
  • The conjunctivitis caused by bacteria and viruses are some of the infections.
  • Temporary blurry vision

If sleeping with lenses becomes habitual, you might experience more severe conditions.

Eye Care Tips for the Lens Wearers

Because lenses come into contact with the sensitive tissues of your eyeball, the American Academy of Ophthalmology advises that you observe these precautions. 

  • Do not wear contact lenses when swimming or getting into a hot tub.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before inserting or removing your contact lenses.
  • Wash and keep your lenses in solution for your contact lenses only. Never use saline solution or tap water, which are unable to disinfect your lenses.
  • Wash your lenses with an eye solution to clean them before you place them in your storage box.
  • Fill the lens case with the new disinfecting solution every night. It’s not enough just to top it off.
  • Replace your lenses and lens case frequently— every three months. Always use a lens case that is not broken and cracked.
  • When you travel, take a small handy contact lens solution with you. Do not put the solution into a plastic container that its surroundings could have contaminated.

Can You Take a Nap with Contacts In?

The ophthalmologists mostly recommend you remove your contact lenses before you take a nap. Yes, even if the nap is limited to a few minutes, it can still cause inflammation and infection of your eyes. Not to mention, you will most likely awake with “sticky” or dry eyes, and certainly, no one likes that!

Remember: Sleeping while wearing your contacts, regardless of duration, can result in a disastrous infection that may lead to vision loss or even blindness.

The Bottom Line

Sleeping with contact lenses on can be a very dangerous thing you can do for your eyes. And most people, when they get used to contact lenses, forget to remove them before sleeping. This habit leads to severe dryness and infection that need proper treatment. If you are experiencing any side effects of wearing contact lenses, it would be better for you to get your eyes checked. Call us today at 281-377-0219 and book your consultation.

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