Does Sleeping in Contacts Really Hurt Your Eyes?

YES! It is so common that people sleep in their contacts without knowing the repercussions. The CDC found that six out of seven contact lens users violate some safe practices of contact lens wearing daily. So more than anything, let’s talk about the eye and why it is important to properly care for your contact lenses.

The Human Eye

The human eye is one of the most complex organs of the body. The easiest way to think of the eye is similar to a digital camera.

  1. CORNEA – the cornea is the clear service covering the eye. This area of the eye is what acts like the lens of the camera
  2. IRIS/PUPIL – this is the portion of the eye that has color. If we are keeping in mind an older camera, this is the diaphragm of the camera. The purpose of the iris is to control the amount of light that reaches the back of the eye. How does it control light? By becoming larger and smaller allowing more or less light into the eye.
  3. LENS – this is the portion of the eye directly behind the pupil. This is the eyes auto focus. It also helps fine focus the amount of light and helps to focus on near and approaching objects.
  4. RETINA – this portion of the eye is the inner lining in the back of the eye. It is basically the imaging of the camera we talked about.
  5. OPTIC NERVE – this portion of the eye transmits all of the images we see to the brain, or visual cortex, which is the part of the brain that controls our sense of sight.

Why is sleeping in contacts so bad?

Now we can talk about contacts and why sleeping of them can be negative for your vision care.

If you have slept in your contacts, even napped, you may have noticed they are like glue on your eye when you wake up. The dryness makes you want to run your eye under water!

This is just your eyes way of telling you how sleeping in contacts is a risk. It increases your chance for eye infections, and it can also affect your cornea. Additional risky behaviors include swimming in contact lenses and not replacing disposable lens when recommended by the manufacture.

Protein builds up on contact lenses. The rate depends on the lens. That is why the manufacture has created those dispose dates. As a result, taking the best care of your contacts does not eliminate the need to change them within that time frame.

How can I care for my contacts?

  1. Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling contact lenses
  2. Never use water or any other products not designed for contact lenses on them. Water has bacteria that can contaminate contact lenses. If you need a recommendation for contact lens solution, contact our offices today!
  3. Replace contact lens cases every three months to reduce bacteria
  4. Never just add solution to a case, always clean contacts and refresh the solution entirely
  5. Store lenses in clean contact case with fresh solution

If you feel you may be experiencing an infection (decreased vision, redness, watering, discharge) immediately remove contact lenses and contact us to set up an appointment.