Wearing contacts while you sleep is definitely not a good idea. Besides the potential discomfort, there are a host of other reasons why you shouldn’t wear contacts while you sleep. Taking your contacts out every night gives your eyes a chance to breathe and allows you to clean your contacts properly to prevent the spread of bacteria. By sleeping with your contacts in, you run the risk of losing your vision permanently.
Let Your Eyes Breathe
A contact lens creates a seal over your eye, trapping fluid inside and making it difficult for oxygen to reach the eye. This lack of oxygen to the eye can cause corneal neovascularization. This condition can result in the blood vessels of the eye growing so much that your eye doctor will recommend you don’t wear contact lenses anymore. The longer you leave your contacts in, the more likely you are to develop an eye infection.
Other conditions that can result from a lack of oxygen to the eye include corneal microcysts, contact lens acute red eye (CLARE), and corneal ulcers. Corneal ulcers are considered the most serious complication due to sleeping in contacts. This infection can can lead to permanent vision loss and possible blindness. Sometimes, a corneal transplant may be required to treat the scarring left by the ulcer.
Not only is it important to take your contacts out every night, but it’s also important to take them out before taking a nap. Just a 30-minute nap can dry out your contacts leaving them stuck to your eyes. Forcibly removing contacts that have been stuck to your eyes can result in corneal abrasions and even recurrent corneal erosions as a result of the cornea loosening or peeling off.
Clean Your Contacts
Taking your contacts out every night is an important step in maintaining proper care of your contact lenses. Many contact lens solutions, like enzymatic cleaners and hydrogen peroxide, require time to do their job properly. Leaving your contacts in the solution overnight will help ensure your contacts stay as clean as possible.
When contacts aren’t cleaned properly, bacteria in the eye can cause conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye. In rare situations, acanthamoeba keratitis can occur where amoeba attack the cornea and permanent vision impairment or blindness may result.
To properly clean your contact lenses, start with clean hands. Ensure that your contact case is also clean and you’ve chosen the proper contact solution. OCLI can help you find the right solution. Make sure you only wear your contacts the recommended amount of time before disposing of them and keep up with your regular check-ups to ensure optimal eye health.
It’s important to take proper care of your eyes by taking your contacts out every night to make sure you don’t develop an infection. If taking your contacts out before you go to sleep at night, or before having a nap, is too much of an inconvenience, consider LASIK eye surgery. Contact OCLI today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.