These things can happen if you fall asleep with your contact lenses on.
We all know that you should take your lenses off before going to bed. But yes, there are also occasional naps. And sometimes, after a party, you’re so tired that you think about going to bed and not your eyes. But what are the risks you take when you go to sleep wearing your lenses?
Your cornea needs oxygen. If you wear contact lenses, your cornea is already getting less oxygen. Are you going to sleep with your contact lenses on? So your cornea receives even less air. Research from the American Academy of Optometry shows that oxygen can drop so much that your cornea swells. The swelling is not massive, but it does cause small gaps between the surface cells of the eyes, and bacteria are likely to settle there. This often leads to an eye infection.
The risk of getting an eye infection increases if you sleep with your lenses on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the chances are six-fold or eight-fold if you don’t remove your lenses before going to sleep. Bacteria can quickly settle on your lenses. When you go to sleep and close your eyes, you are essentially keeping bacteria against your eyes overnight.
From Irritation To Eye Damage:
Even if you are lucky enough not to have an infection, your eyes are often very itchy when you sleep with the lenses on. Your eyes dry out while you sleep, and removing lenses on dry eyes causes irritation and sometimes even damage.
What About Naps?:
Ok, sleeping with your lenses on for eight hours isn’t a good idea, but can a nap hurt that much? Yes, it can, so it’s not a good idea either. As soon as you fall asleep, your cornea begins to swell a bit. However, the longer you sleep, the more at risk you are. And even during this 15-minute nap, bacteria can collect between the surface cells of the eye.
Just like bumping your little toe wasn’t a deliberate act (but it did happen), so do falling asleep with your lenses on. Has this happened to you, and are you experiencing the following symptoms? If so, contact an ophthalmologist:
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Red eyes
- Change of sight
- No more tears