SLEEP SAFELY: TAKE THOSE CONTACTS OUT FIRST! By Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
We are all busy people so it may seem logical to save time and trouble by sleeping in your contact lenses. Some brands even promote this practice. You may even have done it for years without problems but now is the time to stop. You risk a severe corneal infection called a corneal ulcer.
The cornea is the clear front part of your eye. It has no blood supply so must rely on the tear film for oxygen. When you sleep in contacts not only are you depriving your eyes of oxygen by having your eyes closed, the plastic of the contacts act as an added barrier. The result is a decreased ability to fight off infections and a possible corneal ulcer.
A corneal ulcer is a very painful penetrating infection on the surface of the eye. The symptoms are pain, blurred vision, redness and light sensitivity. Once managed with strong antibiotic drops, they may leave a permanent scar on the surface of the eye. These types of infections are rarely seen in healthy people unless they sleep in their contact lenses.
If you do not want to give up the ease of seeing well first thing in the morning, you might want to consider LASIK vision correction. That way you can simplify your life even more by completely eliminating the contacts! Our Dr. Martha Jay is an expert blade-free LASIK surgeon, call to have a screening exam with her to see if LASIK is a possibility for you.
In the mean time, slow down – take those contacts our every night. Your cornea will be much happier and so will you.
Dr. Mark German practices at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon and Saukville, Wisconsin. For more eye care information visit www.LakeShoreVision.com or call 262-241-1919.