What Every Contact Lens ‘Sleeper’ Needs to Know

What Every Contact Lens ‘Sleeper’ Needs to Know

Kate Richardson’s story serves as a cautionary tale about the potential risks of sleeping with contact lenses in or neglecting proper lens hygiene. The consequences can range from discomfort and irritation to severe eye ailments, including blindness. To avoid such outcomes, it’s crucial to prioritize proper care and attention when it comes to contact lens use.

It’s easy to forget that you’re wearing contact lenses, especially when you’re tired or drifting off to sleep for a short nap. However, waking up with contacts still in your eyes can result in discomfort and irritation for many lens wearers.

Sleeping with contact lenses in can lead to more serious issues, such as microbial keratitis—an infection of the cornea. This occurs because leaving lenses in the eyes restricts the flow of oxygen to the cornea, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth and infection.

To reduce the risk of complications from sleeping with contact lenses, it’s essential to follow these precautions:

  1. Remove Your Lenses Before Sleeping: Make it a habit to remove your contact lenses before going to bed, even for short naps. This allows your eyes to receive proper oxygen and reduces the risk of infection.
  2. Follow Proper Lens Hygiene: Clean and disinfect your contact lenses as directed by your eye care professional. Avoid using expired solutions or water to clean your lenses.
  3. Replace Your Lenses Regularly: Replace your contact lenses as recommended by your eye care provider. Using old or expired lenses increases the risk of complications.
  4. Consider Eyeglasses for Napping: If you frequently take naps during the day, consider wearing eyeglasses instead of contact lenses to reduce the risk of eye problems.

By taking these precautions and prioritizing proper contact lens care, you can minimize the risk of eye complications and enjoy clear vision safely. Remember, your eye health is too precious to take chances with.

Wearing silicone hydrogel lenses can significantly reduce the risk of developing keratitis, a serious eye infection associated with sleeping in contact lenses. A study led by optometrist Peter Morgan of the University of Manchester, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, found that individuals who sleep with their contact lenses are at a significantly higher risk of keratitis. However, those who use silicone hydrogel lenses, designed for extended wear, reduce their risk of infection by five times.

If you have a habit of sleeping with your lenses on, consider using silicone hydrogel extended wear lenses that are specifically designed for overnight use. However, it’s crucial to follow instructions carefully, including replacing your lenses as indicated. Even silicone hydrogel lenses must be replaced within a specified timeframe, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Additionally, avoid other risk factors that can increase your risk of eye infection, such as smoking, swimming with lenses, or a history of eye infections. If you notice any redness, irritation, blurred vision, or discomfort in your eyes, replace your lenses immediately. It’s essential to prioritize your eye health and avoid habits that can harm them. While these precautions may reduce the risk associated with sleeping in lenses, it’s best to avoid the practice altogether to ensure your eyes remain well-oxygenated and healthy. Take care of your eyes by making informed choices and prioritizing their well-being.