What You Need To Know About Sleeping In Contact Lenses

Woman sleeping in contact lenses


Contact lenses are a popular and convenient vision correction option for millions of people worldwide. They provide excellent vision clarity, comfort, and freedom of movement compared to traditional glasses. However, proper contact lens care is essential to maintain eye health and avoid infections and other complications. One common question many people have is whether sleeping in their contact lenses is safe. In this article, we'll explore what you need to know about sleeping in contact lenses, the risks involved, and the precautions you can take to minimize the dangers.

Types of Contact Lenses That Can be Worn Overnight

While sleeping in your contact lenses is generally not recommended, some lenses have been FDA-approved for overnight wear. These contact lenses are typically referred to as "extended wear" contacts. Most of these extended wear contact lenses can be worn continuously for up to seven days. But with the advent of silicone hydrogel lenses, which are better at letting oxygen through the lens to your eyes, there are now also extended wear contacts that can be worn for up to 30 days straight. However, even if you're wearing extended wear lenses, it's still important to follow the instructions provided by your eye care professional.

Why are some contact lenses FDA-approved for extended wear while others aren't?

Contact lenses approved for overnight use are made of a thinner material than daily-wear contact lenses. Many contact lenses that are FDA-approved for overnight wear are also made with silicone hydrogel, which is more breathable than standard hydrogel. Silicone hydrogel allows for much better oxygen transmissibility, which is important when wearing contact lenses for extended periods.

Risks of Sleeping in Contact Lenses

Sleeping in contact lenses can lead to a range of complications, some of which can be serious. Here are some of the risks associated with wearing contact lenses overnight:

Eye Infections

One of the most significant risks of sleeping in contact lenses is the increased risk of eye infections. Bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens can easily accumulate on contact lenses, and the longer you wear them, the higher the risk of infection.

Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers are a type of infection that affects the clear tissue on the front of your eye. Sleeping in contact lenses can increase the risk of corneal ulcers, which can cause pain, redness, and other symptoms. In severe cases, corneal ulcers can lead to vision loss or even blindness.

Dry Eye

Sleeping in contact lenses can also lead to dry eyes, a condition in which your eyes don't produce enough tears to keep them moist and lubricated. This can cause discomfort, redness, and a gritty feeling in your eyes.


dry eye sleeping in contact lenses


Reduced Oxygen Supply

Wearing contact lenses for an extended period can reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your eyes. This can cause your eyes to become red, swollen, and uncomfortable.

Precautions for Sleeping in Contact Lenses

If you're considering sleeping in your FDA approved extended wear contact lenses, it's important to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of complications:

Follow Instructions from Your Eye Care Professional

If you've been prescribed contact lenses, follow the instructions provided by your eye care professional. They'll be able to advise you on the type of lenses that are best for your eyes and how long you can wear them.

Use a travel contact lens case

A travel contact lens case is a convenient way to give yourself the option of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. A travel contact lens case is designed to hold your contact lenses and a travel-sized contact solution bottle. Some travel contact lens cases, such as Oplee™ Travel Contact Lens Case, even include a built-in mirror and storage for your eyeglass case. 


Oplee Travel Contact Lens Case


It's important to note that you should never transfer contact solution from a large bottle to a smaller one. Doing so is not safe and could lead to an eye infection. So use a travel contact lens case that works with standard travel-sized (2 fl oz) contact solution bottles produced by most contact solution manufacturers. 


Oplee Travel Contact Lens Case

Follow proper hygiene practices

It is important to always wash your hands with soap and water before handling your contact lenses. Additionally, be sure to clean and disinfect your lenses as directed by your eye care provider.

Be aware of symptoms

Awareness of any symptoms of eye irritation, redness, or pain is important. If you experience any of these symptoms, remove your contact lenses immediately and contact your eye care provider.

In conclusion, while contact lenses can be a convenient option for vision correction, it is essential to understand the risks associated with sleeping in them. The FDA has approved extended wear contact lenses for overnight use, but it is still crucial to follow the instructions provided by your eye care professional. Sleeping in contact lenses can increase the risk of eye infections, corneal ulcers, dry eyes, and reduced oxygen supply to the eyes. However, by taking the necessary precautions, such as using a travel contact lens case, following proper hygiene practices, and being aware of any symptoms, you can minimize the dangers of sleeping in your contact lenses. Always consult your eye care professional before wearing contact lenses overnight, and be sure to prioritize your eye health.

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