Why You Shouldn't Sleep Wearing Your Contact Lenses

Why You Shouldn’t Sleep Wearing Your Contact Lenses

Sleep and contact lenses don’t mix

If you thought dry eyes were the worst that could happen if you sleep in your contact lenses every so often, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has news. The consequences can be a lot worse.

Approximately one in five contact lens-related corneal infections (i.e. those on the clear outer layer of the eye) resulted in serious damage to the eye, according to a new CDC report that analyzed 1,075 contact lens-related corneal infection medical reports sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2005 and 2015.

Think permanent scarring, surgery or even vision loss. And one in every four infections occurred in contact lens wearers who reported totally avoidable behaviors like reusing cleansing solution or wearing their lenses when they sleep.

“While severe eye infections are not common, they can lead to long-lasting damage,” Jennifer Cope, a medical epidemiologist at CDC who coauthored the new report, told The Huffington Post.

Previous research from Cope and her colleagues showed that of a survey of 4,269 contact lens wearers from across the U.S. more than 99 percent reported one behavior that put them at increased risk for an eye infection or inflammation, such as sleeping overnight or napping in contact lenses, reusing contact solution, wearing lenses longer than recommended or swimming in lenses.

Other research has shown that even occasionally sleeping overnight in contact lenses increases an individual’s risk of an infection by more than six-fold.

The problem with sleeping in your lenses is that you deprive your corneas of oxygen, Rebecca Taylor, an ophthalmologist in private practice in Nashville, Tenn., and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, previously told HuffPost.

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