Don’t take your lenses for granted
Next time you’re tempted to pass out without removing your contacts, consider this cautionary tale: Meabh McHugh-Hill, a 23-year-old college student, left her lenses on so long they dried to the point of gluing themselves to her eyeballs. She then made the error of hastily trying to remove them and accidentally tore the top layer of her eye away, giving herself a corneal ulcer (an abscess or sore on the eye). “When [the doctors] took a proper look, they said I had scratched an entire layer off my whole eye,” McHugh-Hill told local media. “The pain was intense. I wasn’t able to do much else besides stay in bed with the curtains drawn for the five days that followed.” (Find out what would happen if you never took out your contacts.) Leaving your contacts in too long is a common mistake, but it’s far from the only one. Make sure you’re not guilty of these risky behaviors.
You think extended wear contacts are OK to sleep in
There’s a reason your eyes hurt when you accidentally fall asleep in regular contacts. During the day, oxygen can reach your open eyes, but it can’t get in as easily when your lids are closed. Plus, you lubricate your eyes and contacts every time you blink, says Eddie Eisenberg, senior optometrist at EZ Contacts. During the night, though, the contacts trapped behind your closed eyes could become a breeding ground for bacteria. At the very least, your contacts won’t last as long as they could if you saved them for your waking hours. “If you’re wearing your lens and not getting use of it, it shortens the life of that lens,” says Eisenberg. You’re better off just keeping your spare glasses by the bed. Learn more about why it’s bad to sleep in contacts.