Fall asleep without removing your lenses? This can happen to your eyes

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These things can happen when you go to sleep wearing your daily contact lenses

We all know that you should remove your lenses before going to bed. But yes, there are also occasional naps. And sometimes after a party you are so tired that you can only think about bed and not your eyes. But what are the risks you take when you go to sleep wearing your lenses?

Fall asleep without removing your lenses? This can happen to your eyes

fall asleep lenses

These things can happen when you go to sleep wearing your daily contact lenses

We all know that you should remove your lenses before going to bed. But yes, there are also occasional naps. And sometimes after a party you are so tired that you can only think about bed and not your eyes. But what are the risks you take when you go to sleep wearing your lenses?

Less air

Your cornea requires oxygen. If you wear lenses, your cornea already receives less oxygen. Do you go to sleep with your contact lenses in? Then your cornea is getting even less air. Research by the American Academy of Optometry shows that the oxygen content can drop so much that your cornea swells. The swelling is not huge, but it does cause small gaps between eye surface cells, and bacteria are likely to settle here. This often results in an eye infection.

Eye infection

The chance of contracting an eye infection increases if you sleep with your lenses still in. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that you increase the chance by six to eight times if you don’t take your lenses out when you go to sleep. Bacteria can easily settle on your lenses. When you go to sleep and close your eyes, you basically keep the bacteria against your eyes all night long.

From eye irritation to damage

Even if you are lucky enough not to get an infection, your eyes often get quite irritated when you snooze with the lenses still in. Your eyes dry while you sleep, and removing lenses from your dry eyes, causes irritation and sometimes even damage.

Naps then?

Okay, sleeping with your lenses in for eight hours is not a good idea, but can a nap really hurt so much? Yes, it can, so that is not a good idea either. The moment you fall asleep, your cornea starts to swell a bit. However, the longer you sleep, the more risk you run. But even during that 15-minute nap, bacteria can collect between the surface cells of the eye.

Fallen asleep anyway

Just as bumping your little toe wasn’t deliberate (but it happened anyway), the same can happen with falling asleep with your lenses in. Has that happened to you, and are you experiencing the following symptoms? If so, then contact an eye specialist:

  • Pain or discomfort in the eyes
  • Extra sensitive to light
  • Red eyes
  • Change in your view
  • More tears
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