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Sleeping in Contact Lenses

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Contact lenses are fantastic little discs – giving you clear, comfy, and wide vision instead of bulky eyeglasses. However, most people forget that contact lenses are also medical devices, which means they come with a degree of risk to your visual health when not used properly. When we fit patients with contact lenses in our eye care centers in Washington, D.C., Chevy Chase, , and , District of Columbia, our staff provides detailed care instructions on how to keep eyes and vision safe! It’s essential to listen to the guidelines for contact lenses provided by your eye doctor.

High Risk of Infection

Sleeping in your contact lenses raises your risk of eye infection considerably.

The recent viral story of a woman from North Carolina who slept in her contact lenses is a frightening example of all that could go wrong! She woke up with eye irritation, redness and swelling, and went to an emergency eye care center for treatment. She was diagnosed with a small pseudomonas ulcer, which is a sore on the cornea caused by bacteria. The doctors prescribed antibiotic treatment, but the next day she woke up and couldn’t see out of that eye. When she returned to the medical center, they detected a much larger ulcer. Ultimately, she was told it may take a half-year to regain vision in that eye, and some visual impairment may remain.

Dried Out Contact Lenses

If you’ve ever fallen asleep while wearing contact lenses, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of dried out lenses stuck on your eyeballs. It can take multiple applications of lubricating eye drops until they’re moist enough to remove from your eyes. While they’re stuck, blinking can be painful and vision is typically blurred. Also, dried out contact lenses can cause abrasions on the lining of your eyelid that hurt.

Eyes Need to Breathe

Even if you don’t get a full-fledged eye infection from sleeping with contacts, you can still irritate your cornea, the surface of your eye. That’s because even oxygen-permeable lenses block your eyes from “breathing” normally.

Prevent the Pain – Don’t Sleep in Your Contacts!

Even if you’ve done it before and had no problems, that doesn’t mean sleeping with contact lenses is safe. It just means you’re gambling with the odds of eye infection and damage to your vision – which is a risky game!

If you experience any eye irritation, inflammation, redness, or blurry vision with contact lenses, schedule an eye exam in one of our conveniently located optometry practices in Washington, D.C., Chevy Chase, , and , District of Columbia.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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