We get it. You’re tired and ready for bed, and the last thing you want to do is remove your contact lenses. And, if this happens rarely, it’s not too big of a deal. But routinely sleeping with your contacts still in can pose both short and long-term problems for your eyes. That’s why we advise patients who get fitted for contact lenses at our Louisville-area eye clinics to avoid sleeping with their contacts in whenever possible.
Even though there are lenses that are safer for sleep than others, studies report a 10% to 15% increase in the rate of infections among people who sleep in lenses vs. those who do not. In this post we explain why sleeping with contacts can cause damage to your eyes.
Those reasons include:
- Lack of oxygen: Your cornea requires oxygen. With contacts in, the oxygen being supplied to your cornea decreases, and when you close your eyes, the supply decreases even more. A combination of the 2 can cause critical damage.
- Accumulation of debris: Contacts are designed with tiny holes, to allow water and other substances in. These holes can let in outside materials that can lead to irritations and infections. Sleeping with your contacts in can increase your chances of accumulating debris and getting an infection.
- Build-up of epithelial cells: Epithelial cells make up the surface of the eye, and every blink wipes away the old cells to be replaced by new ones. Wearing contact while you sleep further inhibits this “cleansing” action because the old cells are not wiped away. The result is that the old cells become unhealthy, which can lead to further problems of the eye.
- Abrasions: Every blink you make while wearing contacts causes a tiny abrasion. Over time, the eyelid’s inner lining becomes rougher from rubbing against the contact lens. Sleeping with contacts in can heighten this problem, because of added inflammation of the eye.
Even though sleeping in contacts every so often may not lead to permanent vision damage, we recommend erring on the side of caution to keep your eyes as healthy as possible. We suggest you take out your contacts before going to bed or even taking a nap.
If you’re considering getting contact lenses and want to find out more, you can request an appointment or call us at (888) EYE-CARE (393-2273).