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Who are you sleeping with? 3 reasons why it better not be with your contact lenses.

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Convenience and laziness always gets the better of most of my patients that decide to sleep in their contact lenses. No matter the contact lenses, there is no lens on the face of this earth that is better for your health than removing them. So even if you’re wearing Air Optix Night and Day contact lenses that are FDA approved for 30 continuous night of wear – read this. It should make you think again.

1. You are starving your eyes of oxygen. The cornea is the clear tissue of the eye that covers the pupil and iris. A cornea needs oxygen to survive – the more O2, the better. When a contact lens sits on your cornea, it impedes oxygen flow. Imagine wearing a plastic bag over your head with tiny perforated holes. Not so comfortable!

At night, your eyelids are there to save the day. They actually provide your cornea oxygen and nourishment. When you sleep with your contact lenses on, your eyelid touches the contact lens, not your cornea. Your poor cornea can never truly detox and recharge.

2. Eyes that are starving of oxygen look red. Eyes are pretty smart. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Over time, your corneas will find new ways to get oxygen. Your eyes will start to grow new blood vessels to send oxygen to starving cells. The first issue about these new vessels is that they are not clear, so they can start to impair your peripheral vision. Secondly, these new blood vessels are red and who wants their eyes to be red? Ummm. Nobody.

3. You may wake up with an STD. I’m talking about a Self Transmitted Disease here, of course! A cornea that is starved of oxygen is weak and puts the entire system up for infection auction. We are talking a painful, red eye. Styes. Bacterial conjunctivitis. The layers of the cornea may even start to erode away. And you did it to yourself.

And what could be more inconvenient than having to miss work – just to spend an hour with your optometrist and pharmacist for a problem that could have been avoided. By, yes. By simply taking your contact lens out the night before. And like a traditional STD, it only takes one time. 

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  • Written by Tanya Gill

    Dr. Gill is also a member of the Ocular Surface Society of Optometry. In addition to her Doctor of Optometry, Dr. Gill also has a BA in Integrative Biology and a BS in Vision Science, both from UC Berkeley. Go Bears!
    In 2015, Dr. Gill developed and founded We Love Eyes, which is a green cosmetics company that produces eyelid and eyelash cleansing products that are natural, non-toxic, and vegan.

    More Articles by Tanya Gill

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