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What Happens if You Accidentally Sleep in Your Contacts?

This is a discussion on What Happens if You Accidentally Sleep in Your Contacts? within the General Eye Health forums; I hope nobody asked this question before. It seems like a pretty common one. Anyway, ...


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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2008, 05:19 PM
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Default What Happens if You Accidentally Sleep in Your Contacts?

I hope nobody asked this question before. It seems like a pretty common one. Anyway, what happens if you accidentally sleep in your contact lenses for one night? Should you go to your eye doctor? Can you make an emergency appointment to see him or her the same day? What if you can't? What do you do in the mean time?
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:30 AM
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I have not sleep with my contact lenses on....But i think it will harm your eyes...because there are many instances where you rub your eyes in sleep.
SO can you imagine the damage when you will rub your eyes with contact lenses in it.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:57 AM
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Sleeping in contact lenses can lead to an increased risk of severe eye infection, it will be a risk, maybe you will not gonna sleep with your contact lens always right? so just make sure you will not forget to take it off.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:57 AM
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I don't beieve that sleeping with your contact lenses in would do you any favours, and could lead to infections. Generally it is a good idea to take them out at night, although a pain.
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:07 AM
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Myself, I hated putting in and taking out contacts. So I would leave them 24/7. They would dry out when I slept in them. I had to use drops constantly. One even worked it's way around my eye and I have to go to the DR to get it out. They then got cloudy and didn't last as long. They were the monthly ones and would last about a week before tearing.

I would consult your eye Dr. It's all up to what kind you have. You will need to take them out to clean, might as well make it at night. You can also damage your eyes if you misuse contacts.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:45 AM
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Default What Happens if You Accidentally Sleep in Your Contacts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaraJade View Post
I hope nobody asked this question before. It seems like a pretty common one. Anyway, what happens if you accidentally sleep in your contact lenses for one night? Should you go to your eye doctor? Can you make an emergency appointment to see him or her the same day? What if you can't? What do you do in the mean time?
Thanks everybody for the warnings about the bad things that can happen if you should sleep in your contact lenses.

However, no one actually answered my question.

IF you should happen to accidentally fall asleep in your contacts (assuming they're not the kind that are designed for overnight use, of course.), then what?
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:02 AM
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I don't think doing that once or twice is going to permanently damage your eyes, so going to the doctor might be a bit drastic. I've heard the contact can dry up and stick to the inside of your eyelid, however, which can't be a pleasant experience.

But I'm no professional. Any doctors wanna weigh in?
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:04 AM
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I am not a professional so don't take anything I say as professional advice. I am just another contact wearer like you and i'm only sharing my personal experiances and opinions.

I think it depends on your eyes weather they will dry out or not. Also the type of contacts you wear. If you have dry eyes it may cause problems if you sleep in them. They can dry out and harden to you eye.

I personally have no problems with my contacts drying out. I've never had to use eye drops and I sleep in them every night. If you want to read about my (non professional) experiances with wearing them, here is a link to a previous post I made.

http://www.lens101.com/general-eye-health/56873-wore-one-pair-contacs-24-7-over-year.html

Again, I am not saying to wear them overnight or other than prescribed.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:38 AM
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Default Accidentally Sleeping in Your Contacts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllTracTurbo View Post
I am not a professional so don't take anything I say as professional advice. I am just another contact wearer like you and i'm only sharing my personal experiances and opinions.

I think it depends on your eyes weather they will dry out or not. Also the type of contacts you wear. If you have dry eyes it may cause problems if you sleep in them. They can dry out and harden to you eye.

I personally have no problems with my contacts drying out. I've never had to use eye drops and I sleep in them every night. If you want to read about my (non professional) experiences with wearing them, here is a link to a previous post I made.

http://www.lens101.com/general-eye-health/56873-wore-one-pair-contacs-24-7-over-year.html

Again, I am not saying to wear them overnight or other than prescribed.
Good answer, AllTrac.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:41 PM
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Default Accidentally Sleeping in Your Contacts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllTracTurbo View Post
I am not a professional so don't take anything I say as professional advice. I am just another contact wearer like you and I'm only sharing my personal experiances and opinions.

I think it depends on your eyes weather they will dry out or not. Also the type of contacts you wear. If you have dry eyes it may cause problems if you sleep in them. They can dry out and harden to you eye.

I personally have no problems with my contacts drying out. I've never had to use eye drops and I sleep in them every night.
Thank you for the thoughtful answer, and for making it clear that you're not a professional. I hate it when people who are nowhere near an expert come on sites like these and start making proclamations like they couldn't possibly be mistaken.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:07 AM
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Default Sleeping With Contact Lenses In

Okay, so let's take a look at the reasons people gave in this thread not to sleep in contact lenses.

You might rub your eyes in your sleep and damage your eyes, eye infections, some kind of "eye damage", they could dry out and stick to your corneas, and finally, they might "dry out and harden to your eye".

I have a question about the eye infection thing. An infection is the body response to germs invading the body. How are germs going to get into your closes eyes while you sleep? Why should the presence of contact lenses make a difference?
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyCat View Post
Okay, so let's take a look at the reasons people gave in this thread not to sleep in contact lenses.

You might rub your eyes in your sleep and damage your eyes, eye infections, some kind of "eye damage", they could dry out and stick to your corneas, and finally, they might "dry out and harden to your eye".

I have a question about the eye infection thing. An infection is the body response to germs invading the body. How are germs going to get into your closes eyes while you sleep? Why should the presence of contact lenses make a difference?
alltrackturbo has posted some posts re wearing contact lenses on a continuous basis since this post:

http://www.lens101.com/general-eye-health/21755-if-you-dont-stop-youll-go-blind.html#post113806

He despite not having problems initially, did suffer from neovascularisation damage and since changed the way he wears contact lenses.

Wearing lenses overnight - effectively extended wear, raises the risk of infection, as contact lenses will cause some damage to the epithelial layer of the cornea and these sites of damage become vulnerable to infection. The longer you wear the lenses, the greater the risk.

Tears will naturally flush away by products of tears and damaged cells from the epithelial corneal layer, but contact lenses will impede this cleaning process.

MaraJade only asked about accidentally wearing the lenses one night, so I think the risk is pretty low of any permanent damage - you would have to be unlucky to suffer problems in my experience.

knotlob
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:21 PM
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Default Overnight Invasion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knotlob View Post
alltrackturbo has posted some posts re wearing contact lenses on a continuous basis since this post:

http://www.lens101.com/general-eye-health/21755-if-you-dont-stop-youll-go-blind.html#post113806

He despite not having problems initially, did suffer from neovascularisation damage and since changed the way he wears contact lenses.

Wearing lenses overnight - effectively extended wear, raises the risk of infection, as contact lenses will cause some damage to the epithelial layer of the cornea and these sites of damage become vulnerable to infection. The longer you wear the lenses, the greater the risk.

Tears will naturally flush away by products of tears and damaged cells from the epithelial corneal layer, but contact lenses will impede this cleaning process.

MaraJade only asked about accidentally wearing the lenses one night, so I think the risk is pretty low of any permanent damage - you would have to be unlucky to suffer problems in my experience.

knotlob
Thanks, knotlob. I was wondering about the same thing. Can a person be fine at bedtime, then wake up in the morning with an eye infection?
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knotlob View Post
alltrackturbo has posted some posts re wearing contact lenses on a continuous basis since this post:

http://www.lens101.com/general-eye-health/21755-if-you-dont-stop-youll-go-blind.html#post113806

He despite not having problems initially, did suffer from neovascularisation damage and since changed the way he wears contact lenses.

Wearing lenses overnight - effectively extended wear, raises the risk of infection, as contact lenses will cause some damage to the epithelial layer of the cornea and these sites of damage become vulnerable to infection. The longer you wear the lenses, the greater the risk.

Tears will naturally flush away by products of tears and damaged cells from the epithelial corneal layer, but contact lenses will impede this cleaning process.

MaraJade only asked about accidentally wearing the lenses one night, so I think the risk is pretty low of any permanent damage - you would have to be unlucky to suffer problems in my experience.

knotlob
I never thought about the thing with the tear layer. I could see how that could be a problem.
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyCat View Post
Okay, so let's take a look at the reasons people gave in this thread not to sleep in contact lenses.

You might rub your eyes in your sleep and damage your eyes, eye infections, some kind of "eye damage", they could dry out and stick to your corneas, and finally, they might "dry out and harden to your eye".
Could your contacts dry out if your eyes are closed all night? Wouldn't your closed eyelids seal in the moisture and keep your contacts funky fresh?
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 09-26-2010, 10:30 AM
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It's never a good idea to sleep in lenses not designed for extended (overnight) wear. Some people don't think it's a good idea even if the lenses are approved for overnight wear.

Not everyone will have issues. You don't blink when you sleep. Your eye won't get enough oxygen. There is a risk of the lenses dehydrated in your eye. Flood your eye with saline or contact lens drops if necessary. There is a risk of infection.

To answer the OPs question. You have to use your own judgment. I'd seek medical attention if I had any symptoms or issues that persisted after I removed the lenses. Does your eye continue to feel irritated? Continue to look red? Blood shot? Discharge? etc.

Does your eye look and feel normal 30-60 minutes after you get the lenses out of your eye? Many of us wouldn't bother seeing our eye doctor but I certainly wouldn't second guess someone who does.

The lenses certainly aren't "funky fresh" if you keep them in your eye overnight.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurker2010 View Post
It's never a good idea to sleep in lenses not designed for extended (overnight) wear. Some people don't think it's a good idea even if the lenses are approved for overnight wear.

Not everyone will have issues. You don't blink when you sleep. Your eye won't get enough oxygen. There is a risk of the lenses dehydrated in your eye. Flood your eye with saline or contact lens drops if necessary. There is a risk of infection.

To answer the OPs question. You have to use your own judgment. I'd seek medical attention if I had any symptoms or issues that persisted after I removed the lenses. Does your eye continue to feel irritated? Continue to look red? Blood shot? Discharge? etc.

Does your eye look and feel normal 30-60 minutes after you get the lenses out of your eye? Many of us wouldn't bother seeing our eye doctor but I certainly wouldn't second guess someone who does.

The lenses certainly aren't "funky fresh" if you keep them in your eye overnight.
Aren't your eyelids rich with blood vessels though?

Take my advice, if you're easily grossed out, don't to an image search for the keyword "eyelids."
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ordersixtysix View Post
Aren't your eyelids rich with blood vessels though?

Take my advice, if you're easily grossed out, don't to an image search for the keyword "eyelids."
The problem is not with your eyelids. It's with the cornea. The cornea has no (or at least should not have any) blood vessels in it in order to be clear. It is living flesh and needs oxygen, which generally comes from the surrounding air and the tear film pumping bringing fresh oxygen dissolved in the tears.

The contact lenses interfere with these mechanisms and during sleep, even without contact lenses in, your eye balls swell by about 4% due to oxygen deficiency. With a silicone hydrogel it may swell 5%. Obviously the swelling will be considerably higher with low Dk conventional hydrogel lenses during sleep.

Lack of oxygen long term leads to neovascularisation and capillaries growing into the cornea.

As already stated several times, wearing contacts overnight/extended wear is unhealthy and can cause increased incidences of corneal ulcers.

knotlob

Last edited by Knotlob; 10-12-2010 at 04:53 AM.. Reason: Spellng
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Old 10-09-2010, 07:06 PM
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I concur. Latest research shows approximately 10x increase of inflammatory events including infected lesions such as bacterial ulcers.

You get a degree of corneal hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) with closed eyelids anyway, although with the lenses that meet the Holden & Mertz criterion for overnight wear the increase is negligible. To be honest, it's the infections and inflammatory events which cause damage.

If you are unlucky enough to get an central corneal ulcer, your vision will not be as clear afterwards. Period. There will always be some scarring, and the therapeutic options are limited. Fortunately most ulcers resulting from contact lens wear are on the peripheral cornea and will not affect your eyesight - but will you take the risk?
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:59 AM
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Default Who Are They?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robbill View Post
I concur. Latest research shows approximately 10x increase of inflammatory events including infected lesions such as bacterial ulcers.

You get a degree of corneal hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) with closed eyelids anyway, although with the lenses that meet the Holden & Mertz criterion for overnight wear the increase is negligible. To be honest, it's the infections and inflammatory events which cause damage.

If you are unlucky enough to get an central corneal ulcer, your vision will not be as clear afterwards. Period. There will always be some scarring, and the therapeutic options are limited. Fortunately most ulcers resulting from contact lens wear are on the peripheral cornea and will not affect your eyesight - but will you take the risk?
"Holden & Mertz criterion"? What is that?
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTKirk View Post
"Holden & Mertz criterion"? What is that?
That sounds like something from a law firm.
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTKirk View Post
"Holden & Mertz criterion"? What is that?
Yeah. I've ben reading this forum for a long time and I've learned a lot of new terms, such and "conjunctivitis," "Dk" and "rigid gas permeable" but the "Holden & Mertz criterion" is something new to me.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllTracTurbo View Post
I am just another contact wearer like you and I'm only sharing my personal experiences and opinions.
I think you summed up Lens 101's reason for being rather nicely, ATT.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaraJade View Post
That sounds like something from a law firm.
Look everybody! It's the cast of "Ally McBeal!"
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by oingoboingo View Post
Look everybody! It's the cast of "Ally McBeal!"
I used to watch that show every week, and now I can't even name all the characters.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:04 PM
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My doctor used her "urgent voice" when she told me to never sleep in them, so I didn't ask questions...
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:04 AM
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Default No, Never

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahcg View Post
My doctor used her "urgent voice" when she told me to never sleep in them, so I didn't ask questions...
Yeah, you've got to heed the Urgent Voice when it's coming from your doctor.

So you were told just to never ever sleep in your contacts, ever? What brand of contact lenses are we talking about here? Are they daily disposable contacts?
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincePlanet View Post
Yeah, you've got to heed the Urgent Voice when it's coming from your doctor.

So you were told just to never ever sleep in your contacts, ever? What brand of contact lenses are we talking about here? Are they daily disposable contacts?
Nope, mine are rigid gas permeable lenses. I wouldn't want to sleep in them anyways- not that comfortable! However, my mom has soft lenses and she'll wear one pair for a whole month and sleep in them.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahcg View Post
Nope, mine are rigid gas permeable lenses. I wouldn't want to sleep in them anyways- not that comfortable! However, my mom has soft lenses and she'll wear one pair for a whole month and sleep in them.
I see. So what does your mom's eye doctor have to say about her practice of sleeping in her contacts? Has mom been given the green light for such use?
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
I see. So what does your mom's eye doctor have to say about her practice of sleeping in her contacts? Has mom been given the green light for such use?
I doubt it, she doesn't actually visit her doctor on a regular basis. But she's been doing it for 10+ years without a problem. (if that counts for anything). She's a very bad example!
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahcg View Post
I doubt it, she doesn't actually visit her doctor on a regular basis. But she's been doing it for 10+ years without a problem. (if that counts for anything). She's a very bad example!
Well, let's hope that if your Mom has to suffer the consequences of wearing her contacts so much without being checked by her doctor, may they be just severe enough to get her attention and get her to take Eye Health more seriously.
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