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Ask A Doctor | Your family's health questions answered

Is it bad to go to bed with my contacts in?

Take an extra few minutes to take out your contact and your eyes will thank you.

By Sally Wadyka Oct 2, 2013 6:23PM
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The short answer is yes, it is dangerous to sleep without removing your contact lenses. “Contact lenses should not be worn continuously day and night,” warns Michael Goldstein, M.D., M.B.A. is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Tufts Medical Center.

Nicolas McComber/Getty ImagesThat practice has been shown in numerous studies to be the number one risk factor for developing a corneal ulcer, according to Goldstein, even if you’re wearing contacts that are marketed as “extended wear.”

There are several reasons why wearing your contacts all the time make you more susceptible to this dangerous—even possibly blinding—condition. Dirt or bacteria can get trapped under your lens, irritating the cornea and leading to infection. And having the cornea covered 24/7 with a lens means that the eye doesn’t get as much oxygen, and that can make the cornea more vulnerable to infection. “This is true even with lenses made using the latest, most ‘breathable’ materials,” says Goldstein.

To keep your eyes healthy, you should remove, clean and safely store your contacts every night, and replace them with a new pair as often as your eye doctor recommends (the timeline varies depending on the type of contacts you use).

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101Comments
Oct 3, 2013 2:06PM
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You don't have to be a doctor to figure that one out.
Oct 3, 2013 2:18PM
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I used extended wear and slept in them every night, removing the for cleaning every 30 days as directed.  After about a year, I got an ulcer in one eye.  I still wear extended wear lenses, but I have found it is well worth it to remove them every night. 
Oct 3, 2013 2:32PM
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Lasik is great - 12 years now, no more stinking contacts!
Oct 3, 2013 2:49PM
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I wear contacts (over 35 years and have been sleeping with them continuously for over 20 years).   Change them routinely about every 30 days, giving my eyes 1 night relief on "change day".   Never a problem!    I am sure everyone is different.  
Oct 3, 2013 4:02PM
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My neighbor showed up one morning at my house with her eyes hurting so much, she couldn't open them. After a trip to the hospital (no help) and then the optometrist, she found out she had a bad infection - had left her lenses in too long. I don't care if they are supposed to be designed for extended wear, common sense tells me your eyes need a rest and some oxygen that they don't get from a piece of plastic plastered to them for 2 weeks to 30 days.
Oct 3, 2013 2:22PM
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I used to wear my contacts all the time because lenscrafters Dr told me wear them for 2 weeks and then throw them away.  I would get a lot of eye infections and I noticed that my prescription was changing a lot every year.

 

I finally found an amazing eye Dr that showed me why its not good to sleep in them all the time and he turned me on to Clear Care.  Since I have been taking my lenses out every night and using clear care I havent had 1 eye infection and my prescription doesnt change every year.

Oct 3, 2013 3:10PM
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Lasik baby! and going great for 7 years...no more coke bottle glasses or uncomfortable contacts...
Oct 3, 2013 2:15PM
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It says so on the box on most brands...
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