Can You Sleep With Contacts In? 3 Tips for Wearing Contacts

It may be tempting after a long, hard day to go to bed without taking your contacts out. After all, what’s the harm as long as you don’t make it a habit? The truth is that sleeping with your contacts in exposes you to all sorts of vision problems, some of which are long-term.Sleeping with contact lenses for one night

Sleeping while wearing contacts greatly increases your risk of an eye infection, as well as even worse complications. This bad habit could eventually require surgery and you could even experience vision loss. To protect your vision all year long, follow our tips for responsible contact wearing, like switching to daily contacts and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses.

Can you sleep with contacts in?

No, you should never sleep in contact lenses. While it may seem like no big deal, falling asleep with your contacts greatly increases your risk of infection. According to a 2018 report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), wearing contacts while sleeping increases your risk of an eye infection 6 to 8 times. 

1 in 3 contact lens wearers sleep in their contacts, which means that contact lens-related infections are more common than you may think. Eye infections are even more likely if you’re not practicing good wearing and cleaning habits for your lenses. This can result in microbial keratitis, which is an infection that affects the cornea of your eye.

Treating these conditions can be time-consuming and expensive. You’ll need medicated eye drops to treat your infection as well as multiple follow-up appointments with your eye doctor.  This process can take weeks or even months, so it’s important to remove your contacts before bed, clean them properly, and avoid the risk of infection entirely.

Getting an eye infection is bad enough, but severe cases can be even more dire. Eye infections can have serious complications such as vision loss and may eventually require surgery. It’s important that you practice good eye health to protect yourself from these serious side effects.

Tips for Wearing Contact Lenses

There’s a learning curve to wearing contacts. Unlike prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses require more care and consideration. Most of this will become like muscle memory as you make them a part of your daily routine. 

However, there are some considerations that you may not know or may have forgotten over time. With that in mind, here are a few important tips on wearing contact lenses responsibly and getting the most out of them.

1. Switch to Daily Contact Lenses

Daily contact lenses have a ton of benefits if you already wear contacts or are considering getting them. Also known as daily wear contacts, these lenses are designed to be worn for one day then disposed of. This significantly reduces the amount of time that you’ll spend each evening (or whenever you decide to fall asleep) cleaning them.

Daily lenses have plenty of other benefits besides cutting down on your nightly routine. They can also help with:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Dry eyes
  • Astigmatism

Daily contacts help fight seasonal allergies by preventing pollen and other residue from building up on your lenses. Regular cleaning can remove a lot from traditional and extended wear contact lenses, but it can’t get it all. This causes buildup over time which is easily avoided with daily contacts. Check out our blog on seasonal allergies and contacts for more tips.

Dry eyes are associated with seasonal allergies, but they can be a year-round problem if you wear contacts. This is because residue gets stuck to your lenses and interferes with your eyes getting the moisture they need. The result is sensitive eyes that feel irritated or gritty. Daily contacts give your eyes a break and allow them to get much-need moisture and oxygen.

Astigmatism causes blurred vision and other problems. This is due to a misshapen lens or cornea, making it difficult to focus light on the retina. The cause of astigmatism isn’t currently known, but daily contacts are available to help you see clearly. 

2. Don’t Wear Contacts While Swimming or Showering

Like sleeping with your contacts in, you should avoid getting your contacts wet while wearing them. Swimming is especially dangerous since bacteria can become trapped inside the lenses, opening you up to all sorts of infections and other vision problems. Lakes, rivers, and oceans are particularly dangerous due to having more contaminants than swimming pools.

Chlorinated pools aren’t that much safer. The chlorine may kill a lot of bacteria and other pathogens, but it can’t get them all. Even tap water from your shower poses its own dangers. The CDC has warned contact wearers about an amoeba known as Acanthamoeba. It lives in all types of water but is especially prevalent in tap and well water. 

Daily contacts are a great option if you want to prevent bacteria and other debris from collecting on your contact lenses. To learn everything you need to know about daily contact lenses, check out our blog.

3. Wear Sunglasses

UV exposure has been connected to multiple eye care problems including cataracts and photokeratitis. Some contact lens manufacturers have started adding UV-blockers to contacts, but it’s no replacement for sunglasses. Another issue is that contacts aren’t big enough to protect your entire eye, so you’ll need UV-blocking sunglasses to protect them year-round.

When choosing a pair of sunglasses, look for a pair that:

  • Blocks 99 – 100% of UVA and UVB rays, or are rated UV400 or higher
  • Fit comfortably close to your face to prevent UV rays from slipping through
  • You can see through clearly and don’t distort your vision

UV radiation is a threat all year long and not just during spring and summer. Take the time to find a quality pair of sunglasses that are ready for any occasion. Click here to learn more about the latest trends in eyewear.

You should never sleep while wearing your contacts. Doing so can lead to an eye infection and other complications such as vision loss. To protect your vision while wearing contacts, try switching to daily contacts, not exposing your contacts to water, and investing in a quality pair of UV-blocking sunglasses.

Want to know more about how disposable lenses can help keep your eyes healthy? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical has been serving Knoxville since 2009. Dr. Travis Thompson and Dr. Catherine Abbott specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of eye diseases, conditions, and problems and are committed to improving the quality of life in the Knoxville community through enhanced vision. Located at 10904 Spring Bluff Way, you can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (865) 888-0892.

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"Dr. Thompson is super professional, and has some of the best 'bedside manner' that I have ever witnessed from any doctor. His staff was very helpful in assisting me with picking out regular frames and sunglasses. I’d happily recommend Dr. Thompson to anyone looking for a eye doctor."
Cody C.