Can I sleep in my contact lenses?

Continuing our contact lens related posts, contact lenses help many patients see the world without the need for glasses. Technological advancements make these lenses more comfortable than ever.  Some patients report occasionally forgetting they have lenses on their eye at all!  After a busy day, leaving these comfortable contact lenses in overnight becomes tempting.

Our corneas need oxygen to function properly. When we close our eyes during sleep, the cornea receives ‘just’ enough oxygen to meet its metabolic requirements. Even with contact lenses touted for their breathability, wearing any contact lens overnight reduces how much oxygen gets to the cornea. Over time, new blood vessels may grow into the cornea and cornea haze becomes more likely, which reduces vision and reduces corneal sensitivity.

Wearing contacts during sleep also creates a great environment for bacteria to grow. Contacts are like sponges and gradually absorb proteins, lipids, and bacteria in their natural environment. When a  lens laden with bacteria remains in constant contact with the eyes, the patient is at risk for a bacterial corneal ulcer. These are extremely painful and potentially blinding! In severe cases, patients require a corneal transplant to regain vision.

Do your corneas a favor and take your contacts out each night!


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Posted in: Contact Lenses

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