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What happens if you sleep with contacts?

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If you wear contact lenses regularly, you might sometimes fall asleep wearing your contacts. If you are tired and sleep on a comfortable mattress like the memory foam mattresses with a supported frame from Polysleep, you might find yourself in a blissful sleep with your contacts still in your eyes.

If you have wondered what happens if you sleep with contacts, here are some facts worth considering.

Sleeping in contacts and safety

Forgetting to remove contacts occasionally can make you sleep with contacts. Still, it doesn’t usually cause a major concern if it happens infrequently other than drying your eyes. However, sleeping with your contacts as a habit can increase your chance of having a corneal infection. For this reason, eye doctors recommend removing your contacts before going to sleep.

What happens if you sleep with your contacts in?

If you have a habit of falling asleep with contacts and wonder what happens if you sleep with your contacts in, here are some serious infections you might risk getting by wearing your contacts while sleeping.

Bacterial Keratitis:

Bacterial keratitis can occur in the cornea of the eyes due to a bacterial infection. The infection usually affects contact lens wearers more than people who do not wear contact lenses. The bacteria is present naturally in the environment and the mucus membrane of humans.

Some of the symptoms of the infection are:

  • Eye pain, redness, and discharge;
  • Blurred vision, excessive tearing, and light sensitivity.

One of the reasons you can get infected is if you wear contacts overnight while sleeping.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis:

Acanthamoeba keratitis is an infection that occurs when a tiny amoeba called Acanthamoeba infects the cornea. The eye infection can lead to vision loss or blindness. 

Symptoms:

  • Eye pain, redness, the sensation of a particle in the eye
  • Excessive tearing, blurred vision, and light sensitivity

Acanthamoeba is widely prevalent in soil and water bodies and can be found in tap water, hot tubs, and air conditioning units.

The bacteria can cause eye infection in contact lens users if they fail to maintain contact hygiene, wear contacts overnight or while showering and bathing or have a history of cornea-related injuries.

Fungal Keratitis

Fungal Keratitis is an infection in the cornea caused by a fungus that can result in vision loss if left untreated.

Symptoms:

  • Eye pain, redness, and discharge;
  • Blurred vision, excessive tearing, and light sensitivity.

The fungus infection is common in tropical and subtropical regions. It is mainly seen in people with an eye injury or habitual contact lens users.

woman applying eye lens in her bathroom

Sleeping in contacts and risk of infection

Your cornea is regularly exposed to bacteria and germs, but it keeps infections at bay using frequent hydration and oxygen. When you are awake, constant blinking keeps your eyes moist while oxygen flows through the tears your eyes produce.

Contact lens, when fitted, restricts the flow of oxygen to your eyes, making them dry. If you sleep wearing contacts, the flow of water and oxygen to your cornea gets even more limited, causing the invasion of harmful bacteria.

Is it okay to sleep with contacts approved for sleep?

If you are wondering what happens if you sleep with your contacts in and whether it is safe when the contacts are Health Canada approved for sleep, the answer is that wearing contact lenses to sleep always comes with a risk for infection.

Although the Health Canada approved contacts are more breathable than the regular ones, it is always better to remove your contacts before sleep.

Close-up portrait of a woman applying her lens to her eye.

Can you nap in contacts?

Even when sleeping in antimicrobial memory foam mattresses from Polysleep, wearing contacts to sleep can limit oxygen and hydration to your eyes, making them susceptible to eye infections.

It is better to remove your contacts even when you take a nap to prevent future infections.

Tips to wear your contacts safely

If you think you are safe if you sleep with contacts on an antimicrobial memory foam mattress, the answer is there is always a risk of getting an eye infection.

To wear your contacts safely, you can follow the tips as follows:

  • You need to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling contact lenses, and make sure to replace the saline solution every day to avoid infection;
  • Don’t swim or soak in a hot tub or shower wearing contacts and avoid wearing them while sleeping;
  • Replace lenses and lens cases as directed to avoid contamination.

Takeaway

Sleeping with contacts can cause serious eye infections that can even lead to blindness. Maintain contact lens hygiene and remove them before sleeping to maintain proper eye health.

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