Optometrist Questions Contact Lenses

What will happen if I sleep with my contact lenses?

For last two nights I accidentally slept with my contact lenses on. I changed them in the morning. What could be its impact on my eyes?

7 Answers

For most contact lens wearer who accidentally sleep in their contacts, they may suffer from red and irritated eyes, and in some extreme cases painful eyes due to an eye infection. If the eye infection is not properly treated, then visual impairment may occur. Just don't sleep in your contacts!!!
It could lead to dryness, irritation, and occasionally an infection. If you notice any redness, pain, light sensitivity, or irritation, you should follow up with your eye doctor immediately.
Sleeping in your contact lenses can have notable negative effects on your eyes. Your cornea gets starved for oxygen when you have a contact lens on your eye overnight. This can lead to corneal swelling (and subsequent loss of clarity), prescription changes and even decreased immune response. Those who over-wear their contact lenses, especially over night, are at a greater risk for corneal infections. In a worst-case scenario, this could lead to significant corneal scarring and permanent loss of vision.

Please be safe and always remember to take your contact lenses out prior to going to sleep!

Dr. EM
Neovascularization which is development of new blood vessels on the cornea from lack of oxygen transmission to the cornea !

Also giant papillae under the lids

You can also develop corneal abrasions , ulcers
You may experience a corneal abrasion. It is a real teaching moment and an experience when remembered remind you to not do it again.
Sleeping with contact lenses increases your chances of developing eye related complications by 6 times. These include: dry eyes, eye irritation, red eye, eye infection, ulcer, corneal swelling, new blood vessel growth, etc. Sleeping in your contacts lenses is like playing russian roulette: you may get lucky but it's only a matter of time until your eyes react negatively.
Your corneas will swell and you will be 16 times more likely to get a corneal ulcer or keratitis. Your contact won't last as long and additionally, I have some old patients who wore contact lenses excessively who have suffered corneal degenerations and damage to the stem cells of the eye making the regenerative epithelium very rough and of poor optical quality.