Some contact lenses may be designed for extended wear, which means it is okay to leave them in your eyes overnight. Unfortunately, daily wear lenses need to be removed on a nightly basis. Neglecting to remove them from your eyes can pose risks of infection and serious corneal damage.
What to Do when Contact Lenses are Left in Overnight
What should you do when you accidentally doze off with the lenses still in?
Experts advise people who sleep with their lenses to remove them soon after waking up and to avoid re-inserting the lenses during the day.
The lenses will often be quite difficult to remove because they become dehydrated when left in overnight. When this happens, it is best to put several drops of saline such as contact lens solution into the eye to make the lenses easier to remove.
It will be helpful to have an up-to-date pair of prescription glasses that you can use should you need to take out the lenses.
Poor Lens Hygiene and Risk of Eye Problems
Although millions of people habitually fall asleep without removing and rinsing their contact lenses, this practice may lead to a range of eye problems such as microbial keratitis. The condition is marked by infection of the cornea, the clear frontal part of the eyes where the lenses lie. If left untreated, this eye problem can cause visual damage and in worst case, blindness.
Flinders University head of Contact Lens Teaching, Optometry and Vision Science Tony Phillips said that eye problems from contact lens wear are seldom caused by use of the lenses themselves. The complications often occur as a result of poor lens hygiene by the wearer.
Besides neglecting to remove the lenses at night, some people do not thoroughly wash their hands before they handle their lenses. They also neglect to clean the lenses properly and change the storage solution daily.
See Your Optometrist
Optometrists can give the best advice on proper use of contact lenses. Optometrists will also help determine the best lens designs and materials, particularly for those who are likely to have a dry eye condition and those who work at computer for long periods.
Phillips also reminded contact lens wearers of the importance of getting an annual check up. Patients should see their eye specialist yearly to ensure that the lenses they use fit correctly and the surface of their eyes is healthy and normal.
Those whose lenses feel odd and those who experience persistent discomfort should stop wearing their lenses and visit their optometrist as soon as possible. Please feel free to call us at See Island Eyecare to make an appointment regarding this or any eye concern.