Going to sleep without removing your contact lenses can cause serious eye infections that may ultimately result in blindness, scientists warn. Six reports published in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine showed that improper care or wear can lead to infections of the cornea like microbial keratitis.
“Sleeping in your contact lenses is risky and can lead to infections, or in some cases, permanent damage,” said Jon Femling, assistant professor at University of New Mexico in the US.
“Falling asleep, or even napping, without removing your contact lenses can significantly increase the likelihood of serious health problems,” said Femling.
In one case, a man evaluated for eye redness and blurry vision reported sleeping in contact lenses 3-4 nights per week and swimming with them. He was treated for bacterial and fungal microbial keratitis. Another instance outlines an adolescent girl who slept in lenses purchased without a prescription at a chain drug store. She developed a corneal ulcer that resulted in scarring.
A man who wore the same lenses for two weeks was diagnosed with a perforated cornea, bacterial infection and ultimately required a transplant to save his right eye. “Sleeping in lenses is one of the riskiest and most commonly reported behaviors for adolescent and adult contact lens wearers,” said Femling, lead author of the study. “If you want to avoid infection, and avoid a trip to the emergency department, proper eye care is a must,” he said.