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Can I sleep in my contacts?

Yes.. and no.

There are two different types of contact lenses available daily wear (you remove them before sleeping) and extended wear (you leave them in overnight). The extended wear lenses allow for more oxygen to reach your cornea, thus making it more acceptable to be slept in. These lenses are typically allowed to be left in without removal for up to seven days.

The latest technology in contact lens material called silicone hydrogel, are approved by the FDA for up to 30 days of wear without removal. If interested, please consult your doctor about these lenses. “Continuous wear” lenses, also known as gas permeable lenses may also be worn for up to a month at a time. “After recent improvements in design and materials, these lenses now can be worn safely for the full 30 days for those who can tolerate them. Your optometrist will advise you about how your eyes are responding to extended wear and how frequently you should remove your lenses.”

So you’ve heard the “You’ll be more prone to eye infections if you leave your contacts in!” Well its true, researchers found that eye infections are greater among people who sleep with their contacts in. FDA has approved the maximum extended wear period to just seven days.

Our doctor’s still do not recommend leaving them in for a full seven-day period. Taking them out before you go to sleep will help decrease the chance of getting an eye infection significantly. Extended wear lenses are a concern for dangerous little organisms that start on your finger, may get on your contact, and then in your eye! These bacteria may lead to infections such as pink eye and in very serious conditions even blindness! If you feel you are having any problems with your contacts from extended wear, please consult with your Optometrist.

Sleeping in your contacts is possible with new silicone hydrogel lenses as they provide more oxygen to the eye than previous soft lenses. Although these materials make overnight wear safer, keep in mind the possibility for infections!

If you are interested in extended wear type contacts, please consult with your Optometrist at Dr. Facchiano and Associates. Call (815) 332-2223

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