Is it safe to sleep with my contact lenses in?

Have you ever fallen asleep with your contact lenses in? This is not uncommon as all contact lens wearers at some point have forgotten to take them out before going to bed, or when catching forty winks. Some wearers do this more often than others but it’s not a good idea, says Bernardine Flynn, optometrist at Mellins i-Style’s Menlyn Mall branch.  “When you sleep with your contact lenses in, your corneas don’t get enough oxygen as the contact lens which fits snugly over the surface of the cornea, acts as a barrier between the closed eyelid and the cornea.

When you are awake and blink, the cornea receives oxygen from the air, but not so when you are asleep and don’t blink.

When sleeping, the body restores and rejuvenates itself and the cornea is lubricated and nourished simultaneously.

Another concern is keratitis, which is inflammation of the cornea, which occurs when contact lenses aren’t removed before bedtime.  Even contact lenses that have extended wear should be removed regularly, at least once a week, to lessen the chances of corneal infection. As a rule, you should therefore never sleep with contact lenses in.