As eye doctors for veterans, one of the questions we get asked most often is if it’s safe to sleep in your contact lenses. After all, one in three Americans with contact lenses wears them overnight. The short answer is that it is very much not safe, even for naps as short as an hour, but just why is it so bad for your eyes?

The big reason is that keeping your contacts in for too long can drastically increase your chances of getting an eye infection — by up to 6 to 8 times! That’s because your cornea, the transparent outermost surface of your eye, needs to be kept moist and oxygenated. Contact lenses seal off your cornea, and at night this gets even worse because your eyelids are shut. Your eye tissues aren’t getting enough oxygen, which allows bacteria to flourish. This can cause several different types of infections that can be treated by your Denver eye doctor. 

So, what happens if you do fall asleep in your contact lenses? Don’t despair! First, try to remove your contacts carefully. Don’t worry if you can’t do this right away, your eyes might need time to rehydrate, or you can try sterile contact solution. Once you’ve got them out, avoid wearing them for the rest of the day. If you still can’t get them out, or if your eyes are irritating you for some time afterward, contact your Colorado eye doctor as soon as you can for an appointment so we can take a look and see what’s going on.  

If you need more helpful tips, your Colorado Springs eye doctor has got some simple ways to take care of your eyes. For more tips and to answer all your eye care-related questions, our eye doctors for veterans are waiting to get to know you!