Here’s What Really Happens When You Sleep In Your Contact Lenses

Real talk: if you’re a regular contact wearer, chances are you’ve fallen asleep in your contacts at some point in time (or maybe even a few times). We all know it’s not recommended by eye doctors, but why, exactly? What’s actually happening in your eyes when you sleep with your contacts in?
To find out, we had to get a little familiar with how daily contact wearing actually affects your body. As with any foreign object or substance that you introduce to your body, whether it be a food or a drug, contacts take some time to get used to. “The FDA actually describes contacts as a drug,” says Russell Wohl, OD, from Farmingdale, New York. “No you’re not ingesting a contact, it’s just sitting on your eye, but your body has to get acclimated to it.” Contacts can also sometimes burn or cause dryness in the eye, too. Each individual’s tears are made up of a certain pH acidity, explains Wohl, and when you put a contact into your eye, the contact solution—not the actual lens— actually has a different pH, so your eye may tear to help wash that solution out. And if you have dry eyes to begin with, lenses may only exacerbate that. “When we blink, we’re wiping tears across the cornea to help keep things uniform and clear, because when the cornea is exposed to air, it can become irritating,” explains Wohl. “Contacts need moisture once they’re removed from the solution they come packaged in, and if you already don’t have enough tears or suffer from dry eyes, lenses might only make that worse.”
When we sleep, we lose ambient oxygen exposure to the cornea, which is needed to keep the cornea healthy. We are still able to get it in other ways—like through blood vessels—but we are getting less than we do when we’re awake. “What a contact lens does is limit the oxygen even more because it creates a barrier between the oxygen and the cornea,” explains Wohl. “Some lenses—extended wear ones—allow the oxygen through though,” says Wohl, but if not enough oxygen gets through, you can experience what is called hypoxia (oxygen deprivation in a region of the body)…..
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Source: Glamour