The Dangers of Sleeping in Contacts

About 45 million people in the United States use contact lenses for medical or beauty purposes.

In medical situations, doctors will offer valuable tips to patients on how to take care of their eyes while using contact lenses. This often includes removing them before sleeping to avoid infections.

But how bad is sleeping in contacts when you are using them for aesthetic purposes? What happens if you sleep with contacts in? This blog will discuss some of the major concerns of sleeping in contacts even if you don’t have any underlying eye issues. Read on to find out.

Dry Eyes

Sleeping in your contacts can cause dry, itchy eyes. In fact, about half of contact users develop dry-eye symptoms. This condition can cause pain, a burning sensation, and a gritty feeling when you wear contacts.

Keep in mind that dry eyes are a common condition that may be caused by other factors such as allergies, aging, hormonal imbalance, and weather conditions. You can also get dry eyes during pregnancy.


Also known as Pink Eye, Conjunctivitis is an eye infection that affects the conjunctiva (the thin membrane covering the white part of your eye). It causes eye inflammation as well as an uncomfortable and itchy feeling.

The condition worsens if you sleep in your contacts. While it’s not dangerous, it is known to be contagious. So seek early treatment before it spreads.

Bacterial Keratitis

Bacterial keratitis is most common among people who wear contact lenses because they increase the chances of corneal scarring and perforation. If this condition goes untreated, it can lead to endophthalmitis and even vision loss.

Symptoms of this infection include:

  • Pain in the eye
  • Redness
  • Discharge
  • Tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision

Get checked by a licensed eye doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Corneal Neovascularization

When sleeping with contacts in, your eyes are deprived of enough oxygen for a significant period. This causes the blood vessels in your eyes to dilate and grow in order to supply more blood to the cornea – a process known as neovascularization.

This condition can impair your vision because the blood vessels inhibit light from traveling through your cornea properly. Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness around the cornea
  • Tearing
  • Decreased vision
  • Eye inflammation

If you notice any of these signs, avoid using your contact lenses. Ensure you seek the help of an eye specialist as soon as possible for specialized care.

Sleeping in Contacts 101: Can You Sleep with Contacts In?

As seen above, it is not recommended. These eye conditions can be dangerous when not treated in time. And continually sleeping in contacts will worsen the issue.

Prevent infections by having a strict bedtime routine that includes contact lens removal and cleaning. What’s more, change your contact lenses at least once in three months. Check for any infections regularly to get treatment on time.

For more insightful healthcare tips, check out our Health blog category.

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