First, let’s be clear – we DO NOT recommend sleeping in contact lenses! Why? Sleeping in contact lenses increases your risk of an eye infection and, honestly, no one has time for that! In particular, an eye infection can keep you out of your contact lenses for at least a week.
Also, eye infections often require prescription eye drops and multiple trips to your eye doctor for proper healing. With this in mind, there are still a variety of reasons some people prefer to sleep in their contact lenses.
A few of the most common reasons people sleep in their contacts include:
- Convenience (or laziness).
- Poor vision without glasses or contact lenses.
- A job or lifestyle that requires on-call or unpredictable hours.
Can you (safely) sleep in your contacts?
A few companies designed contact lenses that provide more oxygen to the front of your eye and have been tested during overnight contact lens wear. These lenses have been approved by the FDA for you to sleep in and fall into two basic categories known as extended or continuous wear contact lenses.
Extended wear contact lenses:
- Are FDA approved for you to sleep in up to six nights in a row.
- Need to be removed and cleaned on the 7th night of wear.
- Can be reused for up to one month.
- However, this depends on the contact lens brand your eye doctor prescribes you.
Continuous wear contact lenses:
- Are FDA approved to be slept in for up to 30 days.
- However, only one contact lens is approved for continuous wear.
- If your eye doctor fits you in a continuous wear contact lens, we still recommend taking them out every couple days to clean and let your eyes naturally breathe.
What are the risks of sleeping in your contacts?
Lastly, extended and continuous wear schedules have a similar risk for infection – both of which are more than four times higher than wearing contact lenses during the day! Did I mention we don’t recommend you sleep in your contact lenses? 😉
Regardless of these FDA approved wear schedules, it’s important to discuss with your eye doctor if sleeping in your contact lenses is a good option for you!