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Eye damage caused by sleeping in contacts?

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Don’t Risk Eye Infection and Other Scary Complications!

Your Active Eyes Optometry eye doctor has been telling you for years about the dangers of sleeping in your contact lenses. Yet, sometimes you are so exhausted that it is very tempting to fall asleep without bothering to remove them. In fact, sleeping in lenses was the most common offense reported by contact lens wearers, according to a report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Five common misunderstandings that frequently come through our office that we would like to clear up.

  1. Don’t nap in your contact lenses.

    Unless you are wearing contact lenses that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sleeping AND your eye care professional has approved your eyes for such use, it is not safe to sleep in your contact lenses for any length of time.

  2. It is best to avoid showering in your contact lenses.

    Soft contact lenses arrive in a blister pack, soaked in a buffer solution to keep them moist. Once the lenses have been removed from this well lubricated sterile environment, they will begin to dry out, especially if worn while in the shower. You also run the risk of contaminating your lenses with soap, shampoo and tap water when showering with your contacts in.

  3. Use contact lens approved lubricant eye drops while wearing your contact lenses.

    There are many safe lubricant drops that can be purchased at the pharmacy or at your local Optometrist office. We recommend I-Drop Pur by I-Med Pharma because it is a preservative-free solution with a sophisticated one-way valve which helps with dispensing the perfect sized eye drop. Using lubricant drops throughout the day while wearing contact lenses will keep you comfortable for longer periods and will reduce dryness especially when working on digital devices such as computers and tablets.

  4. Never store your contact lenses in tap water.

    When you run out of your contact lens cleaning solution you have two options; go to the store and buy more of the same cleaning solution OR dispose of your contact lens. Storing soft contact lenses in tap water exposes them to the danger of bacteria and harmful pathogens which can lead to blinding and painful eye infections. Also, when rinsing the case after use, do not rinse the case with tap water, instead use the multi-purpose solution.

  5. There is no such thing as a “NO RUB” multi-purpose cleaning solution.

    Friction is what removes the microbes and cleans the lenses with a multi-purpose solution. Therefore, if you are not rubbing your lenses for at least 20 seconds prior to storing the lenses in fresh solution, you are simply storing dirty lenses and then putting dirty and potentially harmful lenses back into your eyes. If you are using a hydrogen peroxide solution to clean your contact lenses, no rubbing is needed. When using a hydrogen peroxide solution the contraption you store the contact lenses it looks like something out of the star wars spaceship. When you pour the hydrogen peroxide solution into the cleaning device the chemical reactions cause bubbling to occur, which effectively cleans and thoroughly disinfects your contact lenses. If this is not what you do for cleaning your contact lenses then you MUST rub your contact lenses with a multi-purpose solution.

Active Eyes Optometry Eye Clinic and Contact lens clinic in Surrey, British Columbia

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Surrey eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

So, how bad is it really to sleep in your contacts?

Very bad, warns your Surrey eye doctor. All kinds of contacts, including the best daily contact lenses, extended wear lenses, and colored contacts, block enough healthy oxygen from reaching your cornea. In effect, you are suffocating your eyes.

Read on to see the frightening risks of sleeping in your contacts – and you’ll find it much less tempting to hit the pillow for the night without taking them out!

Eye Infection.

The most common problem that we treat in our Surrey patients who sleep in their lenses is an eye infection. That’s because sleeping in your contacts can lead to tiny tears on your cornea, which raises the chances of bacteria (and sometimes fungi) entering your eye. Bacterial conjunctivitis, or pink eye, requires antibiotic eye drops for treatment. While you have this infection, you cannot wear contacts until your eyes heal.

What should I do if I have a Serious Red Eye

CLARE, which stands for “contact lens acute red eye”, is a relatively common problem caused by sleeping in contacts. The symptoms include pain, a reddish cast, and light sensitivity.

Corneal Inflammation

When oxygen can’t reach your cornea to nourish it, corneal neovascularization can occur. This is an overgrowth of new blood vessels into the cornea, which leads to swelling. It can cause enough damage that you will never be able to wear contacts again.

Corneal Ulcers

The classic symptoms of a corneal ulcer are red eyes, a lot of discharge or tearing, vision changes, and pain. If you experience these problems, call your Surrey eye doctor for an immediate eye exam. When left untreated, a corneal ulcer can lead to permanent vision loss. Sleeping in your lenses (even just here and there) makes corneal inflammation almost seven times more likely to occur.

Bumpy Eyelids

Wearing contacts overnight, even the best daily contact lenses, can be irritating and lead to the development of bumps beneath the upper eyelids. Called GPC (giant papillary conjunctivitis), these bumps pull on your lenses when you blink. This creates poorly fitting contacts that generally become too uncomfortable to wear.

Local Contact lens clinic in Surrey, British Columbia

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Can I wear contact lenses with dry eyes?

Yes, you generally can – as long as you wear the right type of contact lenses! Due to the development of new, modern materials, there is a variety of contact lens types for dry eyes.

Dry eyes are a common, contemporary problem that can affect comfortable contact lens wear. If your lenses are not kept moist enough by your natural tear film, they can lead to eye irritation, dryness, and itchy eyes. During your comprehensive eye exam for contact lenses, your eye doctor will administer a tear film evaluation. If you do not have enough tears or their composition is poor, we will recommend certain contacts for dry eyes, which maintain moisture more efficiently.

Contact lenses are popular for a number of reasons, ranging from comfort and convenience to crisper vision. When it comes to appearance, many people feel more attractive and confident facing the world without eyeglasses in the way. Additionally, there’s no need to turn your head for sharp peripheral vision with contacts. Sports players find this to be a distinct advantage! Another benefit is contact lenses never slip down your nose on a hot day. So, now that you’re convinced and want to wear prescription contact lenses, you may be wondering where can I get quality contact lenses near me?

In addition to our user-friendly site to order contacts online, we stock a full inventory of premium contact lenses in our optometry offices in Surrey, British Columbia. If you have a current vision prescription, we invite you to replenish your supply of contacts from Active Eyes Optometry! However, if you’ve never worn contacts or you haven’t had a comprehensive eye exam in over a year – we encourage you to visit your eye doctor for a thorough evaluation before purchasing new lenses.

Contact Lenses from Your Surrey Optometrist

To learn more tips about healthy contact lens wearing and how to reduce your risks of complications, visit our Surrey eye care center. We perform thorough, precise contact lens eye exams and fittings, and our Active Eyes Optometry eye doctors will advise you about the best daily contact lenses for your eyes. We also sell premium colored contacts to help keep your eyes healthy while you change your look!

Call Active Eyes Optometry on 833-403-5355 to schedule an eye exam with our Surrey optometrist. Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Mental Health and Your Vision

Enjoying Life During Eye Allergy Season

Surrey, What is Pink eye?