When is it Safe to Sleep in Contacts?

by Jan 25, 2024

We’re often reminded not to sleep with contact lenses in our eyes to maintain good eye health. However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. In certain cases, wearing contact lenses during sleep is not only permitted but also designed to be done safely and without compromising eye health. In this blog, we will explore the types of contact lenses that can be worn while sleeping and the reasons behind their suitability for overnight use.


Extended Wear Safe to Sleep In Contacts Lenses

Extended wear contact lenses are specifically designed to be worn continuously, including during sleep, for a certain number of days. These lenses are typically made of silicone hydrogel material, allowing more oxygen flow to the cornea compared to traditional soft contact lenses.

With extended wear contact lenses, you can wear the lenses for up to six days without removing them. On the seventh day, the lenses are removed, cleaned, and replaced with a fresh pair. This type of contact lens provides convenience for individuals who prefer not to handle their lenses frequently or for those with busy schedules that make daily lens maintenance challenging.

It is important to note that not all contact lens wearers may be suitable candidates for extended wear lenses. Factors such as eye health, tear production, and lifestyle habits need to be considered. Consulting with an eye care professional is crucial to determine whether extended wear lenses are suitable for your specific needs.


Orthokeratology Contact Lenses

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, contact lenses are specially designed hard lenses that are worn only during sleep. These lenses are used to reshape the cornea temporarily, correcting refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. By gently reshaping the cornea overnight, Ortho-K lenses provide clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Ortho-K lenses are primarily recommended for individuals who want to be free from corrective eyewear during waking hours or those who are not suitable candidates for laser eye surgery. The lenses are removed upon waking, and the cornea maintains its reshaped form throughout the day, providing clear and stable vision.

It is important to follow the recommended wearing schedule and care instructions provided by your eye care professional when using Ortho-K lenses. Regular follow-up appointments are necessary to ensure the ongoing effectiveness and safety of this treatment option.


Other Contact Lenses and Sleeping

For other types of contact lenses, it is generally not recommended to sleep while wearing them. Soft contact lenses, including daily disposables, biweekly, and monthly lenses, require a period of rest and cleaning to maintain proper eye health. Sleeping in these lenses can lead to a higher risk of eye infections, dryness, and corneal damage, as the lenses can impede oxygen flow to the cornea.

Additionally, rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses and hybrid lenses are also not recommended for overnight wear. These lenses can cause discomfort and increase the risk of complications if worn during sleep.


Our eye doctors at EyeDocs Family Eye Care in Brookville, OH excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about when it may be safe it to sleep in contacts . Our eye doctors, Dr. Kyle Maxam and Dr. Cara Wampler, provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Brookville, Ohio.

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