Everyone knows that you are not supposed to sleep while still wearing your contacts. That said, too many people end up forgetting to remove their contacts. There is even one notable case where a woman was found to have 27 contact lenses left in her eye, necessitating a removal procedure.
Sure, people cannot help but slip up every now and then. However, removing your contacts before bedtime is one thing that should not be treated in a lax way. You are not just asking for an uncomfortable situation in the morning. You are risking your vision health. So, what truly happens if you sleep with your contact lenses?
There are several immediate effects that you should expect if you sleep with your contact lenses.
- Sleeping with your contacts will cause you to wake up with an uncomfortable feeling. Aside from knowing that you have something in your eyes, you will also have difficulty seeing with your contacts.
- You should expect immediate irritation, mostly because the debris accumulated on the lenses will still be in your eye throughout your sleep.
- Dry eyes are often an effect of sleeping with contacts because the contacts can block proper oxygen flow throughout the eye.
Complications That Can Arise
Beyond the immediate effects listed above, you also run a high risk of getting other more problematic complications.
- You can get an eye infection. The lenses can trap microorganisms and contaminants in your eye, which can lead to a fungal or bacterial infection. Sometimes, these can get so severe that it spreads to other parts of the body.
- If you end up getting a scratch that is exacerbated by the build-up brought by your lenses, you could get a corneal ulcer. This is an open sore that can worsen over time and eventually lead to a permanent loss of vision.
- Another serious complication you can get from sleeping with contacts in is the formation of scar tissue on your conjunctiva and cornea. This can happen because of inflammation and torn contacts. Ruined contacts and a scarred layer of your eye don’t make for a good combo.
- Aside from the pain and discomfort that comes with abrasions, you run the risk of getting hypoxia severe red eye.
Eye Damage and Its Repercussions
It is obvious that most people who wear contacts would not want to get any of the above complications. However, in a lot of cases, the problems don’t appear right away. This is why it is a bad idea to let your guard down.
If you want to avoid blindness, degeneration, and glaucoma, you need to watch for signs such as redness, heightened sensitivity to light, prolonged discomfort, tearing or discharge, and blurred vision.
So, the next time you feel drowsy and get the urge to keep your lenses on, remember what you are risking. If you have accidentally slept with lenses on, immediately remove them as soon as possible and put them in contact lens solution. Then, avoid wearing contacts for the rest of the day.
Monitor your symptoms to see if you can just lubricate your eyes a little or if you need to see a medical specialist.
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