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What Does Falling Asleep in Your Contacts Mean for Your Eyes?

We’ve all been there before, you fall asleep on your couch watching TV or get home from a long day at work and wake up with your contacts still in. We know we shouldn’t sleep in our contacts but mistakes are inevitable. But why is it so bad for us to wear our contacts overnight?

Falling asleep with your contacts in causes an oxygen deprivation in your eyes. During the day, it is possible for air to get into your eyes but when you’re asleep your cornea relies on the hydration from your gelatinous fluid and tears to get its nourishment. Your eyes become deprived of oxygen because your contacts are a blockade between your corneas and your eyelids. Bacteria and other potentially dangerous things can build up in your eye and end up causing severe damage.

If you accidentally fall asleep with your contacts still in it is important to not take them out directly after waking up. Taking them out immediately could result in exposure to more bacteria. As soon as you wake up oxygen will begin to reach the surface of your eyes which will result in the swelling of the cornea to go down. It’s recommended to use eye drops to re-wet your eyes and help with the process of removing your contact lenses. After you have followed these steps you can remove the contact and give your eyes time to rest.

Some symptoms that you may experience after sleeping in your contacts include but are not limited to:

  • Eye Pain
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light

As a precaution, it is recommended that you remove your contacts at least an hour before bed. This will give your eyes additional recovery time before bed and will help you not to forget to remove them. To make this easier it is also recommended to have an updated pair of glasses you can use during this resting period.

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