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Why You Shouldn’t Sleep with Contacts In

April 19, 2023

You shouldn’t sleep with your contacts in, but it might not be for the reason you think. There’s a myth often spread online that says sleeping with contacts in can cause your lenses to get lost or stuck behind your eye, but that’s simply not possible. However, there are risks to sleeping with your contacts in, and they just aren’t worth it. Here’s what you need to know. 

Why is sleeping in contacts bad? 

Your contact lenses need to be taken out and cleaned daily to prevent eye infections and irritation, but it’s not just about how long you have your contacts in. If you pulled an all-nighter wearing your contacts, it wouldn’t be as bad as accidentally falling asleep in them, and that’s because of the role your tears play in protecting your eyes.

During the day, your eyes deal with all sorts of bacteria and microorganisms but, every time you blink, your tear fluid and the fresh oxygen they’re receiving helps your eyes stave off the bad stuff. However, when you fall asleep, your eyes don’t get as much oxygen or tear fluid, which can rapidly create an environment where microorganisms and bad bacteria thrive.

In severe cases, an infection can permanently damage your eye tissue, especially if you ignore the early symptoms and/or continue using the same pair of contacts. 

What To Do If You Fall Asleep in Your Contacts 

If you accidentally dosed off while wearing contacts, you should remove them as soon as possible and put them into a proper solution. Then, carefully look at your eyes for signs of an infection. These include:

  • Redness

  • Burning

  • Itching

  • Discharge

  • Excessive tearing

  • Blurry vision

  • Swelling

  • Sensitivity to light

Whenever you’re experiencing symptoms of a potential infection, you should refrain from wearing your contact lenses until you can speak with your eye doctor. They may have you get a new pair of contacts and/or use medicated eye drops.

How to Safely Wear Your Contacts

Remembering the basic rules of contact lenses will help you keep your eyes healthy and reduce the risk of infections. These rules include:

  • Disinfecting your lenses based on the manufacturer’s instructions

  • Discarding leftover solution and never topping it off in your lens case

  • Never exposing your lenses to water or saliva

  • Never going swimming when wearing your lenses

  • Replacing your storage case every three months

  • Replacing your lenses as recommended by your eye doctor

If you’re having trouble keeping up with proper contact lens care, there may be a better solution for you, like disposable contacts that you can replace with a fresh pair every time you wear them. If you have questions about these options, speak with your eye doctor for more information.

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