For Healthy Eyes, Don’t Sleep In Contact Lenses

November 5th, 2018
young woman putting in eye drops

The CDC reports that one in three Americans who use contact lenses sleep in them. Here’s why eye care specialists want that to change.

According to the CDC, 45 million Americans use contact lenses. While contact lenses are a safe way to correct vision without the hassle of glasses, they come with their own do’s and don’ts.

From rinsing them in cleaning solutions to discarding them after the suggested period of use, it’s important to use contact lenses as your eye doctor and the contact lenses’ manufacturer recommend. While this may seem like a given, a recent CDC report finds that one in three people who use contact lenses sleep in them — one of the main things that professionals recommend you don’t do.

Getting the most out of your contact lenses — or deciding to look for an alternative — depends on knowing the best hygienic practices available. Without following these, you may be increasing the chances that you’ll experience adverse health effects.

Heightened Risk of Infection

The CDC report finds that sleeping in contact lenses raises the risk of infection by six to eight times. These infections, known as microbial keratitis, can range from mild to severe. While most instances of keratitis can be treated with antibiotic eye drops over the course of weeks months, the worst can have lasting effects, including permanent loss of vision.

When people sleep with their contact lenses in, they’re creating an ideal environment for the spread of bacteria. Blinking during the day exposes contact lenses to oxygen, which makes it more difficult for keratitis to develop. At night, however, you don’t blink, allowing bacteria a dark, damp, and immobile ecosystem in which to grow.

Practicing Good Hygiene

A number of common best practices can help prevent microbial keratitis. For starters, it’s important not to sleep with your contact lenses in. Some eye care specialists even suggest taking out contact lenses for naps, just to be safe. Every time you change lenses, be sure to follow the directions of your contact lens cleaning solution.

Additionally, remember not to use contact lenses past their recommended period of use. Even contact lenses that advertise extended wear likely have an expiration date – when in doubt, don’t risk it.

Exploring Alternatives to Contact Lenses

While contact lenses may be a convenient way to avoid wearing glasses, they have their own hassles. If you find yourself thinking about alternatives to contact lenses – or if you find yourself sleeping in them more often than not – it may be time to look into LASIK surgery. With the right specialist, you can enjoy the clarity of vision correction without the difficulty of glasses or the ins and outs of contact lenses.

Want to know more? Book a consultation today with the Kleiman Evangelista Eye Centers of Texas to determine if LASIK could be right for you.

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