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What happens if I fall asleep with my lenses in?

We get asked this question all the time. Thing is, there is no single answer: everyone is unique, and so are our eyes. But there are still a few general rules we can all follow…

Continuous lenses?

Relax! As their name suggests, continuous lenses are designed to be worn all the time – even while you sleep. They’re made from a more porous material that allows enough oxygen to reach the cornea, and are usually available in two-week or monthly versions.

So if you’re the kind of person that likes to get stuck into a good TV program or book while you’re in bed, and sometimes find yourself drifting off…continuous lenses are what your dreams are made of!

What happens if I doze off and I’m not wearing continuous lenses?

It depends how long you snooze for. An hour or so on the train home, or a well-timed ‘power nap’ shouldn’t cause any unwanted effects. But falling asleep with your lenses in overnight? Hydrogel-silicone lenses allow more oxygen to the cornea, so your eyes probably won’t be too sore. But if you wear hydrogel lenses, you’re eyes will most likely be red and burning when you wake up, and you may even damage your cornea.

Just how much your eyes hurt will also depend on what condition your lenses were in when you fell asleep. If they haven’t been in for long they won’t irritate you as much. But if you’ve already worn them for a full day, and spent time in a dusty or dirty environment, your lenses will have gathered microorganisms and allergens: a short but steep step to conjunctivitis.

Obviously, it’s not ideal to leave your contacts in all night but if you do, make sure you:

  • remove your lenses immediately after you wake up,
  • return your lenses to their case with solution,
  • apply soothing refreshing eye drops.

If your eyes are still unconformable after applying drops, see an eye doctor or optician as soon as possible.

Eye Openers: Your Stories

Have you ever slept with your contacts in? What happened? Let us know in the comments box below. A problem shared is a problem halved!

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