Two Good Reasons Why Sleeping in Your Contacts May Not Be a Great Idea
We’ve all done it–been in the position where we are unable to take out our contacts but needed to get a little rest. So, you fall asleep with your contacts in. Maybe it’s just for a few hours, or maybe it’s for the whole night, but either way, you wake up and they may not feel quite right.
The problem: most contact lenses aren’t designed for you to sleep in. And, in the case that you are wearing extended-wear contact lenses designed to be worn for a week or so at a time, most optometrists still recommend you give your eyes a rest at least once a week, overnight, for the reasons described below.
Reason One: Your eyes need to breathe!
Just like the other organs in your body, your eyes require oxygen. Your cornea breathes and it’s ability to get that oxygen impacts the cornea’s ability to heal itself from any infections or any other damage (like minor scratches) that may have happened during the day. So, most optometrists recommend that giving your eyes the chance to go lens free for a few hours or over night is a healthier option. Or, if you are wearing FDA approved extended-wear lenses, you’ll want to give your eyes a chance to be without lenses once a week or so.
Although, contact lens technology keeps changing to allow for more and more oxygen to get into your eyes through the lens, but generally, when the lens is covering your cornea the total amount of oxygen allowed through is limited.
Reason Two: Lenses Get Dirty!
Our environment is filled with pollutants. Whether you walk through a smoky room or just outside after someone’s cut the grass, most of the particles in the air are hard to detect but can be felt on your lenses and need to be cleaned off. If you sleep in those same lenses, that dirt and debris stays in your eyes all night long and may irritate your eyes and even cause redness or infection.
Again, if you are wearing extended wear lenses, you’ll be able to help clean them off with a squirt of saline solution. But, your best bet for getting them clean is to remove them overnight and allow them to be cleaned and sanitized.
If your lenses aren’t designed for sleeping-in, your safest bet is not to! But, talk to your optometrist at your closest America’s Best if you need lenses that give you that kind of flexibility. There are great options out there!