Emergency Docs Warn: Falling Asleep in Contact Lenses Can Lead to Serious Infection
Millions of people sometimes sleep in their contact lenses. This isn’t just a bad habit. It’s a very risky health decision! Sleeping, or even napping, in your contacts can raise your risk of serious infections or other health problems, according to a new commentary featured in Annals of Emergency Medicine.
"Sleeping in your contact lenses is risky and can lead to infections, or in some cases, permanent damage," said Jon Femling, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine and lead author. "Falling asleep, or even napping, without removing your contact lenses can significantly increase the likelihood of serious health problems."
Annals takes a look at six case studies. In one case, a man evaluated for eye redness and blurry vision reported sleeping in contact lenses 3-4 nights per week and swimming with them. He was treated for bacterial and fungal microbial keratitis. Another instance outlines an adolescent girl who slept in lenses purchased without a prescription at a chain drug store. She developed a corneal ulcer that resulted in scarring. A man who wore the same lenses for two weeks was diagnosed with a perforated cornea, bacterial infection and ultimately required a transplant to save his right eye.
"Sleeping in lenses is one of the riskiest and most commonly reported behaviors for adolescent and adult contact lens wearers," said Dr. Femling. "If you want to avoid infection, and avoid a trip to the emergency department, proper eye care is a must."
Read the case studies and commentary: https://www.annemergmed.com/article/S0196-0644(18)31475-6/abstract
*photo credit: Centers for Disease Control