The scary thing that happens to your eyes when you leave your contacts in for too long

Contact lenses are tricky business. But if you happen to be one of the over 30 million people who wear contacts (two-thirds of which are women), you’re probably going to want to read this.

A not-so-pleasant sounding thing happens the more you wear and keep in your contacts. A new study, conducted by the New York University School of Medicine and published in mBio, reveals that wearing contact lenses is associated with changes in the ocular microbiota. Essentially, after swabbing the insides of the eyelids of 58 test subjects, it was found that the bacteria found on contact lenses alters the bacteria normally found in the eye, altering it to the point that it more closely resembles skin bacteria. Kinda spooky, no?

Now, before you jump to conclusions, the study doesn’t actually indicate whether this is a bad thing, just that it is a thing. However, in the past, it has been proven that contact lenses can increase the risk of corneal abrasions, certain inflammatory diseases, as well as keratitis, which can lead to a permanent loss of eye sight.

So the next time you’re wearing your contacts, make sure you actually wash your hands and don’t fall asleep with them on. Who knows what else they might be doing the longer they stay in there.