After we posted to our social media account last week confirming that sleeping in your contact lenses is not safe, your responses came flooding in, with comments including:
‘I’ve been sleeping in contacts for 5 years and have never had a problem...'
‘It’s difficult to access the resources needed to properly take out and clean my lenses at the end of the night’
‘What?! I didn’t know this wasn’t okay?’
To clear up the confusion, we’re giving you information to help you save your vision and explain why you shouldn’t be sleeping in your contact lenses. To get to the bottom of this, we consulted Anita, our in-house optician.
What happens when you sleep in your lenses?
When you forget to take out your contacts at night, your eyes are on a countdown towards dehydration.
During the day, your eyelid pulls tears from the bottom of your eyes when we blink to hydrate your eyes allowing your lenses to stay hydrated and your contacts to stay oxygenated every time you blink. If you fall asleep in your lenses, the contact lenses create a barrier preventing any oxygen from getting to your cornea. By the next morning, your contact lens will feel dry and could become stuck to your eyes. This could be extremely uncomfortable, and potentially damaging to your eyes.
How do you remove your contact lenses after falling asleep in them?
The process of taking out your lenses after sleeping in them requires extra care, as your contact lenses will be much drier than they normally would be. Grab your favorite hydrating eye drops and give each eye a few drops to start. This allows the contacts to absorb some moisture to become easier to remove. Close your eyes and allow the eye drops to soak the lenses before carefully removing them. Then, using your finger, check if the contact lens is mobile and free on your eye. If so, take them out as you usually would but with extra care.
Is it ever okay to take a nap while wearing my lenses?
We are only human and may occasionally have to nap while wearing our contact lenses. Although this is not as bad as a full night’s sleep in contacts, you should still be cautious. When you wake up, it's important to blink a few times to help hydrate the contact lenses and help centre them. We also recommend to adding a couple of eye drops to your eyes, to make the process of removing your lenses easier.