Can you Sleep With Contact Lenses?
Most contact lens wearers know that unless using specific lenses for extended wear, you should not sleep with your lenses on. However, sometimes even the most experienced wearer can fall asleep with their lenses on at the end of a long day or for an unplanned nap at home or when travelling.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T SLEEP WITH CONTACT LENSES
Oxygen from the air is vital for the health of the cornea (the front clear surface of the eye). Whilst modern soft contact lenses allow sufficient oxygen to pass through the lens in daily wear, when you sleep your eyes are closed thus reducing the available oxygen and potentially causing problems for your eyes (unless using specific lenses designed for extended wear). Falling asleep with your contact lenses on can therefore increase the risk of complications such as developing a corneal ulcer which can be very painful. Despite being a very rare and often a treatable condition, it often causes scarring which may have long term effects on your vision.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FALL ASLEEP WITH YOUR LENSES ON
If you accidentally take a nap or fall asleep with your lenses on, your contact lenses may feel a bit more dry and difficult to remove than usual. If you are unsure or you notice any redness, pain or reduced vision, or can’t take your lenses out, seek immediate advice from your optician.
Wait a few minutes before trying to remove your lenses.
Use contact lens rewetting drops if needed. This will hydrate the lens and may allow it to be removed with greater ease.
Leave your lenses out for at least a few hours, checking that your eyes feel and look normal.
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