A majority of people who wear contact lenses are guilty of sleeping with contact lenses on at some point or the other in their lives. So what happens if you sleep in contacts?
Sleeping with contact lenses on can lead to severe eye infections, corneal ulcers and other eye health problems which may result in permanent vision loss. An example of how your eyes become prone to infections if you sleep with your contacts on is this. Throughout the day, pollutants present in the air get into your eyes and some of these may work their way under the contact lenses. If you sleep with your contacts on, the combination of closed eyelids, reduced eye movement and low oxygen levels help the infection causing bacteria and viruses to thrive. This gives way to severe eye infections.
Red and irritated eyes, pain, blurred vision, light sensitivity, excessive tearing and ulcers in the eye are some of the common symptoms of sleeping with your contacts on. Listed below are some of the serious risks associated with frequently sleeping while wearing your contact lenses. Take a look:
• Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis – One of the most prevalent side effects of sleeping while wearing contact lenses is conjunctivitis. Commonly referred to as pink eye, this viral infection is basically an inflammation of the conjunctiva. It covers the white portion of the eye and lines the inner sides of the eyelid. Itching and discomfort are experienced in this condition. A special form of this viral disease known as Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC) is also commonly seen in people frequently sleeping with their contact lenses on. In this condition, bumps develop on the inner surface of the eyelid causing pain and sensitivity to light.
• Keratitis – This condition is similar to conjunctivitis to an extent. The inflammation caused in this condition affects the cornea, the clear part in the front of your eyes through which you see. Apart from all the symptoms of conjunctivitis, there is a risk of your vision being damaged due to keratitis. It can be caused due to bacteria, fungi and amoebae. Of all these three, amoebic keratitis is the most serious form and may result in loss of vision. Another form known as Contact Lens Acute Red Eye or CLARE often comes on suddenly during sleep and can cause severe pain and light sensitivity. Corneal ulcers caused due to keratitis may lead to permanent blindness if not treated properly.
• Corneal Neovascularization – Apart from infection, those who sleep while wearing contact lenses are also at the risk of oxygen deprivation in the eye. This causes the eye to grow more blood vessels in order to increase the supply of blood to the cornea. The increase in blood vessels hinders the light from travelling through the cornea normally, thus impairing vision. This is known as corneal neovascularization.
• Blindness –If keratitis is left untreated, it can lead to minor vision loss or the need for a cornea transplant or even blindness in some cases. Those who wear contact lens can reduce the risk of infection by dedicatedly following all the precautions related to cleaning, handling and storage of the contact lenses. Purchasing disposable soft contact lenses is also a good option for those who find the maintenance of contacts tedious.
Sleeping with contact lenses on is never a good idea. To learn more about how to use and care for your contact lenses so that you can enjoy perfect vision without any associated risks, get in touch with us. Our team of eye experts at Insight Vision Center is dedicated to help you restore perfect vision without any hassles. Book your appointment today.