Napping with Contacts, Is It OK?

Many of us have a hard time remembering if we have our contacts in or not. This can be especially true on long, hard work days. At the lunch time, you may lie down on the couch and wake up a half hour later only to remember you left your contacts in. So did it do any damage to your eyes?

Can You Nap with Contacts?

If you are taking a short, 20-minute nap, your contact lenses shouldn’t be a problem. However, you will likely need to freshen them with the special solution after napping, as they will go dry. You don’t want this to become habitual, because it can cause eye trouble.

It’s important to note that your eyes need oxygen to remain healthy. When you nap, your eyes are closed and the amount of oxygen they get is reduced. This can make the cornea swell. Contact lenses will further reduce the amount of oxygen your eyes get, although there are some types that are better than others at allowing oxygen to the eyes.

How to Reduce the Risks of Napping with Contacts

You can visit your eye doctor and consult the extended wear contacts. These are designed for longer wear, including sleeping and napping. Depending on the type of contact lenses, they may be worn for 24 hours up to 30 days. Try a nap in these contacts and make sure to have eye drops nearby.

Always get your contacts from a reliable source using a prescription. Be sure to have a cleaning routine for your contacts. Follow the cleaning directions from the manufacturer. Make sure to have times when you leave your contacts out and let your eyes rest. If you are wearing contacts that last a week, let your eyes rest on the eighth day.

If after several naps you still have irritation or you experience severe irritation at the first nap, remove your lenses and seek help from your doctor.

Can You Sleep Overnight with Contacts?

You may also wonder this question besides napping with contacts. Well, you don't want to sleep with your contacts as there are studies indicating an increase risk of infections by 10-15 percent can occur.

What If You Fall Asleep with Your Contacts In?

If you wake and realize you have forgotten to take your contact lenses out, you should remove them as soon as possible. If you can, give your eyes a day to rest without the lenses. If your lenses are fresh, restore them by soaking overnight. If they are older, it’s advised to toss them. If you find that your eyes are dry and irritated, use some saline or fake tears. If you experience blurred vision, light sensitivity, pain, redness, contact your doctor right away.

Safer Contacts for Sleep

But if you do can't resist the habit of sleeping with contacts, some lenses are safer for sleeping in than others, such as extended wear lenses. These allow more oxygen to get to your cornea and prevent some swelling.

There are some contacts such as Air Optix Night and Day and PureVision lenses that have FDA approval for 30 days of wear. These are monthly disposables and should be tossed after 30 days. While they are approved for long wear, most recommend you take them out at night at least once a week.

Biofinity, Air Optix Aqua, and Acuvue Oasys all have been approved by the FDA for as long as six nights of continued use before your eyes need a break. So they are safer in cases of napping with contacts. They work well for people who take theirs out nightly but forget on occasion.

It’s important to note that a contact approved for extended use doesn’t mean an individual won’t have trouble sleeping with them. There are a lot of variables such as composition of tears, the extent of lens dehydration and others that come into play.

Make sure to speak with your doctor before starting to wear contact lenses for extended time periods. He/she can advise you if wearing contacts for a long time isn’t recommended based on your individual needs.

Helpful Tips for Wearing Contacts

  • Make sure your hands are dry and clean before handling contacts. Use a towel that is lint-free after thoroughly washing.
  • Use a fresh solution to disinfect, clean and rinse your contacts between wearing them.
  • Place lenses in before you apply makeup. Remove lenses before washing the makeup off.
  • Don’t use tap water, saliva or anything that is not specifically made for cleaning your lenses. Keep this tip in mind besides the ones for napping with contacts.
  • Don’t change to different solution for your lenses unless your doctor has asked you to. Not all solutions are the same.
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