Sleeping with contacts is a major dilemma of most contact lens wearer. There are times that we need to travel and often forgot to bring your contacts solution and cases. There are also times that we often sleep late or too tired to remove your contacts. Or there are time that we think that a day or a few hours of sleep will not harm us.
There are countless reasons for us to get an eye infection from wearing contacts. But most often, an infection start from sleeping in contacts. Most contact lenses wearer are ignorant or stubborn about how sleeping in contacts can harm them or blind them permanently.
Oxygen is very vital to the cornea. Oxygen is transmitted to the eye through a very delicate blood vessels by diffusing oxygen through your tears. Lack of oxygen may cause this blood vessels to appear or become visible causing irritation. This is commonly known as corneal edema.
Oxygen and Contact Lenses
Wearing contact lenses may hinder or stop the flow of oxygen into your eyes. Contact lenses are only worn with allowable time frame. A regular contacts are often remove before you exceed ten hours.
Lack of oxygen and a the damp environment of your contact lenses will attract bacteria, fungi and viruses that will definitely be harmful to your eyes. This may lead to corneal ulcer.
Wearing contact lenses during sleep may lead to dryness. If your contacts is dry it may be hard to remove in the morning. This my tore up your lenses and cause injury.
What You Should Know about Extended Wear Lenses
Extended wear lenses can transmit oxygen five times better than regular soft contacts. Extended wear can be worn continuously for 7 to 30 days. But it doesn’t eliminate the risks of oxygen deprivation.
Besides wearing extended wear contact lenses for days will accumulate unwanted proteins. And become more inviting to bacteria, fungi and viruses. Most people adapt a ‘flexible wear’ where they only wear contact lenses to sleep or prolong the use of contacts when needed.
What is corneal Ulcer?
Corneal ulcer is open sore or lesion in the eye. Often caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses. It can also be caused by scratches to the eye or dirt trapped with or without contacts, and chemical burns.
Symptoms of corneal ulcers:
Pain in the eye
White or yellowish discharge
Cloudy or Blurry vision
Photophobia or light sensitivity
A visible spot in the eye
What is Corneal Edema?
The main cause of corneal edema is lack of oxygen. When sleeping we get less oxygen because the eyelid is closed, we also blink less making it difficult for our tears to circulate and nourish the cornea. Dry eyes and tight contact lens fitting can lead to corneal edema.
Symptoms of corneal edema includes cloudy vision, permanent dry eyes, rainbow vision, pain. Corneal edema may lead to keracotonous astigmatism that requires surgery to be corrected.
So if you are stuck in one location and forgot to bring your solution or your cases better throw them out than to take the risks. The damage can be irreversible and you never know if it will strike on the first instance. For extended wear contacts use it with extreme care and be much aware of protein deposits and the age of your contacts. You may use enzymatic cleanser for stubborn protein deposits.