Warning: Do Not Sleep in Contact Lenses

While a few types of contact lenses are made to be worn at night, you are not supposed to sleep or nap in most types of contact lenses. Yet, about 33 percent of Americans self-report that they do so regularly. This can have a devastating effect on the eyesight of contact lens in Orlando wearers.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis

A 34-year-old man who had worn contact lenses for more than 50 percent of his life admitted to sleeping in his contact lenses regularly. He started experiencing severe pain and was rushed to a medical facility where doctors discovered Acanthamoeba keratitis had done damage to his eye. Acanthamoeba keratitis is the result of amoebae common in many bodies of water getting trapped in the cornea. He had to undergo six months of hourly eye drops, but his sight was finally restored.

Perforated Corneal Ulcer

While another 59-year-old man removed his contacts most of the time, he decided to leave them in on a two-day hunting trip. On the third day, he experienced some pain. Over-the-counter eyedrops did not help, and he went home. While drying off after a shower, he heard a loud pop and felt intense pain. Doctors diagnosed a tear in his cornea caused by leaving his contact lenses in. He had to undergo emergency surgery, but unfortunately, his eyesight was never fully restored.

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

A 17-year-old female went to the emergency room after three days of intense eye pain. It was discovered that she routinely slept in contact lenses gotten from a drugstore. The lenses caused her cornea to deteriorate. When doctors performed surgery to repair her cornea, her symptoms still didn’t get much better. It was then that doctors discovered that she had Pseudomonas aeruginosa in her eye. These bacteria had done enough damage to her eye that even after aggressive treatment over the course of several weeks, her vision never returned to normal.


Doctors at the Center for Disease Control studied these and other cases. They recommend that sleeping in contact lenses is dangerous regardless of the frequency or the contact lens material. They especially warned about those that are brought at drugstores. They also found that those designed to be worn at night can cause problems because oxygen cannot get to the eye at night creating the perfect conditions for bacteria to grow. Therefore, they recommend that all contact lens wearers not sleep in their contact lenses.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that you get an eye exam every year or two. A great place to get that exam is at Eyes of Winter Park where Dr. Francisco José Richardson can help you choose the contact lenses that are best for you. If you experience pain in your eyes, then make sure to see him immediately as quick intervention is often best. Contact lenses in Orlando wearers can call ((407)672-2020 to set up an appointment.

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