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What Happens When You Sleep With Contacts In? The Answer May Surprise You

I have asked myself this so many times, “Can I sleep with my contacts in?” Usually, I end up taking them out so that I don’t have to get lost in Google research, but one day, it finally happened, I fell asleep with them in and found myself reading into it, a lot.

take a nap

I ended up reading about whether or not I could nap with contacts in if it would hurt if I slept with them in for just one night and so much more. I understand that some nights you may just be too tired to take them out or you forget.

With that said, I would like to share with you what I learned about sleeping or napping with contacts in and what kind of effects it can have on you and your eyes.

Napping With Contacts In

take a nap

There are more than 38 million people on this earth that wear contact lenses. Do you think all of them remember to take their contacts out when they nap? I would say they probably don’t. Are you one of those people?

Some days it may be hard to remember that you have your contacts in, especially if you had a long and stressful day. So you lay down on the couch and shut your eyes. Half an hour later you wake up and realize you forgot to take your contacts out and begin to wonder if it did damage.

Pouring Saline Into Contact Lens Holder

So did it do any damage? Probably not. Taking a quick nap won’t hurt your contacts, but they may be a little dry and in need of some saline. You just can’t make it a habit because then it does have the potential to cause major eye problems.

What Happens If You Fall Asleep With Contacts In?

Sleeping all night with contacts can have a different outcome than just taking a quick nap with them in. A study conducted by Peter Morgan of the University of Manchester showed that there was a significantly higher risk of Keratitis in those who sleep with their contacts in.


Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea which may cause dry eyes, physical and chemical injury, and other medical diseases. The symptoms of this can include pain, tearing, blurred vision, and the pain may be mild to severe.

I’m not an expert, but I don’t think that sleeping with your contacts in for one night will do any major harm, but this is what to do if you do fall asleep with them in.

Here’s What To Do!

Removing The Contact Lens

Step 1

Don’t panic. Take out your contact lenses and put them in your storage container. If they are extended wear lenses, they may still be okay, but take them out anyway, just as a precaution.

Soak The Lenses Overnight

Step 2

Give your eyes a day to rest without them in and soak the lenses in the solution overnight. if you would rather not take the chance anymore, switch to a contact lens that can be worn for extended periods of time.

The reason it is important to switch to an extended wear lens if you want to sleep with them in is that regular contacts will prevent oxygen from getting to your cornea, which leads to the keratitis. Those who sleep in a silicone hydrogel lens have less of a chance of eye damage.

Check this video out to see what contacts really do to your eyes over time-

Lenses Approved For Sleep

If you are considering a contact lens that can be slept in, here are a few to think about.

These are both FDA approved for 30-days of extended wear. They are to be disposed of monthly. Even though they are approved for 30-days of wearing, it is recommended that you leave them out at least once overnight.

Your Questions Summed Up And Answered

Can I sleep with my contacts in for one night?

Yes, this will not hurt you.

What happens if you fall asleep with contacts in?

If you make a habit of it, it can damage your eyes. If it happens once, just take out your contacts and let your eyes breathe and contacts soak in the solution.

Can you nap in contacts?

Yup, this won’t hurt your eyes either. Your eyes may be dry when you wake up, but most likely not damaged.

I don’t like to take them out, what can I do?

You can invest in extended wear contacts. You will need to take them out still once or twice throughout their use, but they are safer to fall asleep/nap in.

An Eye-Opening Conclusion

Contacts are wonderful for seeing, but not for sleeping in. Even though they can be bought as extended use, they still need to be taken out once in a while. Anything that covers your eyes for a long period of time will most likely cause some damage.

I have slept with contacts in and have suffered the dry eyes. It is a terrible feeling and I am now more careful before sleeping and napping. Your eyes need to breathe to stay healthy. So, it is best that you do take them out before bedtime.

I really hoped that you enjoyed what I had to say about this topic. When I found out that sleeping with my contacts in could be dangerous to my health, I decided to open everyone else’s eyes to this issue as well. So please, share this with someone who wears contacts and keeps their eyes safe.