Sleeping in your contacts is more dangerous than we thought
We’ve all been there before. We’ve all fallen asleep wearing our contacts after a drunken night out or a day that has left you without the energy to even wash the makeup off your face (been there!). Regrettably (and probably painfully) you’ve woken up the next morning not realizing you still have those babies in your eyes. And it hurts like a MF. As it turns out, the pain and discomfort you feel after having worn your contacts to bed is the least of your problems: Sleeping in your contacts can sometimes cause permanent vision loss.
A new report released by the CDC, which analyzed contact lens-related corneal infections that were reported to the FDA between 2005-2015, 270 of the total 1,075 reports were associated with “sleeping in contact lenses” and also “poor contact lens hygiene.” During this time period, the FDA discovered from these reports what they referred to as a “modifiable risk factor” in contracting an infection, which was even just occasionally sleeping in your contacts, meaning that just sleeping in them once can increase your chance for a corneal infection. The CDC’s report also references other studies, which “have shown that sleeping in contact lenses, whether occasionally or as part of a prescribed wearing schedule (i.e., extended wear lenses), increases the risk for contact lens–related eye infections by sixfold to eightfold.”
Basically this horrible infection scenario occurs because you’re limiting the oxygen supply to your cornea if you’re sleeping in your contacts, which can, in turn, cause the cornea to swell and tiny cracks to form on the surface of your eye. These little cracks make it possible for microorganisms to make their way into your cornea and wreak havoc. SELF points out that if those pathogens get into those cracks in your eye, not only will it be uncomfortable, but it can case permanent damage.
“Superficial cases cause more of an inflammation, called keratitis. But if an infection develops, it can cause a corneal ulcer. It starts to get eaten away or eroded by microorganisms,” Andrea Thau O.D. president of the American Optometric Association and spokesperson for Think About Your Eyes, explains to SELF. The mag also points out that on the bright side, the infection can heal and leave a little scarring, which can permanently impair your vision, or worse…you can lose your eye. YIKES.
So kids, avoid sleeping in your contacts at all costs. Your eyes are precious, keep them safe from harm!