Leaving your contact lenses in when you fall asleep or take a nap makes you more likely to develop eye infections. While wearing contact lenses over a night sounds convenient, you would have to determine after reading this article if it is truly worth the risks that come with sleeping in contacts.
What Happens if You Fall Asleep in Contact Lenses
The cornea gets its oxygen supply from the air; when you close your eyes, the oxygen it receives is reduced. For contact lens wearers, the oxygen the cornea gets is also reduced, which means sleeping in contact lenses greatly reduces the amount of oxygen your cornea gets.
Lack of sufficient oxygen to the eye reduces the cornea’s ability to fight off bacterial and microbial infections. The cornea swells due to the lack of oxygen, this swelling results in gaps between the eye’s surface cells where bacteria can dwell.
Bacteria in the cornea increases the risk of getting corneal infections. Humans blink up to 3 million times a year, and if you wear contact lens, every time your eyes blink against the contact, it causes a tiny graze.
As time goes on, the inner lining of the eyelid becomes rougher, preventing it from being moist. During the day, pollutants get into the eye.
The wearing down of the eyelid’s inner and the cornea swelling due to sleeping with contact lenses plus the pollutants in the eye increases your chance of having an eye infection. Sleeping with your contact lenses puts you at risk for having eye infections such as Contact Lens Induced Red Eye (CLARE), Bacterial Keratitis, Acanthamoeba Keratitis, and Fungal Keratitis.
Sleeping With Contact Lens May Causes Keratitis
Keratitis is an inflammation that affects the cornea. Remember when I said sleeping while wearing contacts leads to a swelling of the cornea, and the swelling provides spaces for bacteria to dwell.
Keratitis can occur due to amoeba, fungal and bacterial infections. Corneal ulcers can occur due to Keratitis, and those ulcers can lead to permanent blindness if they are not treated properly.
Signs of an Eye Infection For People Who Wear Contacts
- A sensation that something is in the eye.
- Increased sensitivity to light.
- A blurry or decreased vision.
- Itchy eyelids (inside of the eyelids).
- Prolonged redness of the eye or eyelids.
How to Deal With an Eye Infection For Contact Lens Wearers
- See an eye doctor immediately for them to provide medical advice before you self-medicate.
- If you use contact lenses, take them with you to your doctor’s appointment.
- Take your given medication.
- Follow the doctor’s instructions.
- Stop using makeup or contact lenses until the eye infection is cleared.
- If the situation worsens after treatment, see the doctor immediately.
What to Do if You Accidentally Sleep With Your Contact Lenses In
- Remove the contact lens gently as soon as possible.
- Go for a day without contact lenses to allow your eyes to recover.
- Avoid sleeping with contact lenses; set the alarm as a reminder to take them off at night if you need to.
- If you must wear contact lenses to sleep over a night, use extended wear lenses approved by your eye doctor and stick to the maximum wearing times. You can learn more about extended wear contact lenses through our online shop on contact lens Singapore.