Falling asleep with lenses is a common habit that people indulge in frequently. Whether it is done consciously or unconsciously, it can be extremely risky for your eyes either way. Dangers can include corneal damage that can ultimately lead to vision loss. Moreover, it should be noted that your eyes are at risk both when you are wearing prescription lenses or even colored lenses. In any case, it is best to consult an eye specialist near you so that you can avoid any eye damage. 

How Can Contact Lenses Increase The Risk Of Infections?

Your cornea’s defense mechanism involves fighting off any bacteria that enter your eye. In order for your cornea to remain healthy, it needs sufficient amounts of oxygen and needs to be kept hydrated at all times. Both these criteria are fulfilled when you are awake as you blink at regular intervals allowing for the moisture to be maintained in your eyes. 

Wearing lenses restricts the supply of oxygen and hydration to your cornea significantly. It becomes even more severe when you fall asleep with your contacts on because the rate at which your cornea receives oxygen and stays hydrated decreases significantly. Your cornea enters a state called hypoxia due to which the cells in your cornea remain incapable of fighting off any bacteria that it comes in contact with. 

What You Can Do If You Fall Asleep With Lenses On

Lenses make your eyes more prone to serious eye conditions such as:

  • Bacterial Keratitis: It is an infection that is usually caused by bacteria. It can usually leave your cornea permanently affected if left untreated. Minor keratitis can be solved by eye drops and serious cases might need steroid drops, or eye drops specifically used to treat inflammation. 
  • Acanthamoeba keratitis: This kind of keratitis is caused by an amoeba that is usually present in water bodies such as tap water or pools. If your contacts are rinsed with tap water, slept, or swam with contacts on, you are likely to contract this infection. You can treat it with prescribed eye drops or surgery, depending on the severity of the case. 
  • Fungal Keratitis: Falling asleep with your contacts increases the risk of fungal keratitis. It is common in areas that experience dry and windy seasons. Immediate diagnosis and treatment are necessary in order to avoid permanent vision loss. 

What To Do Immediately After Waking Up?

First and foremost, immediately remove them after waking up with the aid of a contact solution if necessary. Avoid wearing your contacts for a whole day after and look out for signs of infection as well as vision deterioration, which need to be brought to the attention of your eye doctor. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Redness or swelling
  • Any secretion 
  • Excessive watering 

Tips To Avoid Any Infections

Here are some precautionary measures you can take to avoid any eye infections related to contact lenses:

  • While wearing your contacts, avoid swimming.
  • Always disinfect your hands before touching your lenses. 
  • Store your lenses in the provided solution and case.