What happens when you sleep with contact lens?

What happens when you sleep with contact lens?

Sleeping with contact lens, that’s one thing that many of us do in routine. The reason for sleeping with contact lens on can be anything, sheer exhaustion, a matter of forgetfulness, or simple necessity. But what actually happens when you sleep with contact lens?

Is it okay if you sleep with the contact lens?

The one word answer is “NO”. There are possibilities that it goes well for a person. But don’t let this one time trick you for the next time. Sleeping with contact lenses on a regular basis is not a good habit. There are many risks, which this apparently simple habit may bring to you. These risks include severe medical and long-term health problems, as experts say.

Can you wear lenses overnight?

In the USA, the FDA first approved contact lens safe to wear overnight in 1981. These special types of lenses were approved for two weeks use, without removing them. But soon after this approval, the FDA received more lenses that could be worn for 30 days continuously.

As time passed, the research highlighted that lenses are related to eye infections. People who sleep while wearing contact lens were at a greater risk of eye infections. So the FDA reduced this wearable period for contact lens and limited it to seven days only.

Health risks of wearing lenses

Many doctors emphasize that wearing the contact lens overnight is extremely risky for eye health. There are certain contact lens brands that are approved for overnight use but they still come with the health risks.

It is possible to get a central corneal ulcer within 24 hours and they may leave devastating effects on eyesight. Human eyes are sensitive to virulent organisms, which prefer growing in a dark, moist and low oxygen tension habitat. These are exactly the same ocular surface environment when a person is sleeping. That is why sleeping with contact lenses ads up to the chances of microorganisms adhering to the lens, hence bringing the chances of eye infections.

The doctors share their thoughts that contacts can trap almost all fast acting bacteria on the top of the cornea and thus damaging the eye.

The bacteria live by eating the person’s cornea. It takes only a few days and all that’s left behind is soupy, white necrosis in the eyes. Lack of hygiene and medical care can make this to cause a permanent type of damage i.e. vision loss.

So ulcers aren’t the only risk when it comes to the dangers of wearing contact lenses overnight. A lack of oxygen to the eyes can increase the detrimental risks. Some of the other health risks involve pink eyes, growth on eyelids and other infections.

The takeaway

All those who wear contact lens need to understand that lens are just a medical aid. Like other devices, they require proper care and care too.

Sleeping in contact lens regularly, and especially wearing those which are not made for overnight is a big mistake. It’s just one of the mistakes that contact lens wearers make. This habit may permanently damage the eyes.

 

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The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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