Maybe you just wanted to close your eyes for a while and in the end you fell asleep. You may have been too lazy to take them off when you return home at dawn after a night out. Or maybe you’re traveling and you’ve fallen asleep on the bus or train.
If you are a user of contact lenses, it is possible that you have ever had a mistake and forgot to take them off before sleeping. And that’s when the big question usually arises: Can you sleep with contact lenses? Does anything happen if I forget to take them off? This doubt is almost as common as wondering if contact lenses can be worn in the pool.
Today we explain what happens when you go to sleep with contact lenses.
Can I go to sleep with contact lenses?
First of all, for their bearing to be comfortable, it is necessary to take care of them properly. The hygiene guidelines must be met correctly, this includes both hand hygiene before handling contact lenses and cleaning them and their correct maintenance using the liquids intended for this purpose.
Depending on the type of contact lenses and their material, as well as the hours of use, we will use contact lens liquids, which in addition to cleaning them, keep them hydrated as long as possible.
On the other hand, contact lenses are an element foreign to your eye. Normally they are not a problem, but if they are worn for too many hours, the eye can begin to notice it.
Nowadays, the use of materials, such as silicone hydrogel, means a greater contribution of oxygen to the cornea. Even so, wearing a contact lens in the eye hinders the passage of oxygen to it, so after many hours of use we can notice how our contact lenses are drier. That is why we advise the use of artificial tears during use or even remove and moisturize them to increase comfort. When we sleep, having our eyes closed, this oxygen supply is even lower.
For these reasons, going to sleep with contact lenses, taking into account that it is a time of day when you do not need them, is not the best idea.
What if I go to sleep with contact lenses?
Sleeping with contact lenses once because you have lost track or something unforeseen has happened and you do not have your contact lens liquid with you, is not too serious, although in all probability you will wake up with quite dry eyes.
When you wake up after sleeping with contact lenses, we recommend that you do not try to remove them immediately. Use artificial tears to moisten them and blink several times. If you try to remove your contact lenses as soon as you wake up, you will most likely find it difficult and even annoying to detach them from your eye.
Some of the mild consequences that can have the mistake of going to sleep with contact lenses once are:
- Dry eyes
- Eye irritation and itching
- Temporary blurred vision
- Contact lens that sticks to the eye and costs to remove.
What happens if you sleep with contact lenses on a regular basis? Problems can become more serious. The cornea needs oxygen to maintain its correct physiology. If the eye does not receive the proper amount of oxygen, the cornea can be damaged, leading to several other problems:
- Inflammation of the cornea or keratitis. Sometimes it can be due to an infection and others simply due to injuries that may have produced the constant dryness of the eye.
- Other viral or bacterial infections can affect your eyes more easily, since the cornea is damaged and is letting harmful external agents pass.
- Appearance of ulcers on the cornea.
Sleeping with contact lenses and abusing them can also result in your eyes becoming more sensitive and wearing contact lenses not being as comfortable as before.
In short, forgetting to remove your contact lenses before bed does not have to be more than a brief discomfort when you wake up, but try as much as you can, so that it does not become something recurrent.