optometrist contact lenses Calgary

Avoid Eye Infections—Don’t Leave Lenses in While Sleeping

Useful Tips from Your Calgary Optometrists


As a user of contact lenses, you will be familiar with the usual do’s and don’ts related to the wear and care for your lenses. However, there may be times when you have flouted the typical rules, knowingly or unknowingly. For example, have you accidentally slept with your lenses in, because you fell asleep from exhaustion, or had a few extra drinks and didn’t follow your bedtime routine? Or, have you occasionally run out of your sterile lens cleaning solution and reached for tap water instead? While a busy schedule or hectic lifestyle may have tempted you to look for shortcuts, you may be causing your eyes more harm than you can imagine.


A report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that over 80% of contact lens wearers, including adolescents, young adults and adults, reported at least one habit that increased their risks of eye infections. Around 45% adults did not replace their lenses as frequently as prescribed, 42% practiced incorrect storage methods, and 33% responded positively to sleeping or swimming with lenses on. In fact, researchers across the world believe that the problems that arise from wearing contact lenses are often a result of poor hygiene by the wearer and not due to the lenses themselves.


Risks of Leaving Your Contacts in Overnight

Eyewear and vision correction companies are continually developing advanced contact lenses that stay hydrated longer and have excellent oxygen transmissibility. If you use lenses that are designed for Extended Wear (EW), occasionally forgetting to remove them while sleeping may be permissible. However, if you make it a habit to sleep with your contacts in, you are exposing yourself to the same risks as ordinary contact lenses, which should not be worn when you go to bed. Such extended use will not only cause irritation to the eyes, but also increase your risk of mild to severe eye infections. Watch out for these symptoms associated with poor usage or care of lenses: 

  • Dryness or redness in the eyes 
  • Eye pain, watery eyes or sensitivity to light
  • Impaired vision or mucus discharge 


If the irritation in your eyes does not stop or reduce after removing the lenses, it is advisable to schedule an appointment with your Calgary optometrist at the earliest. Timely diagnosis and treatment will allow you to beat any potential eye infections, including cornea-damaging and vision-threatening conditions, such as microbial keratisis. 


Top Tips to Minimize the Damage If You Left Your Contacts in Overnigh

If you wake up to the unpleasant discovery that you forgot to remove your contacts, do not panic. Here are some simple ways to minimize the damage to your eyes: 

  • Remove the lenses as soon as you realize you slept in them, and do not reinsert them for that entire day. Give your eyes a break from contacts until the next day.
  • If the lenses have dehydrated overnight, and you are finding it difficult to remove them, tilt your head backward or lie down and put several drops of saline (your contact lens cleaning solution will do) in the eyes over several minutes. This will lubricate the lenses, allowing you to remove them easily. 


Maintaining the perfect vision requires a disciplined approach. Do not skip simple hygiene habits, such as washing your hands before handling your contacts, or proper removal, cleaning and storage of the lenses. Schedule an annual checkup so that your eye doctor can examine your vision and reconfirm the number and fitting of your lenses.


For all your eye care and vision correction needs in Calgary NW, visit the experienced optometrists at Crowfoot Vision. We conduct comprehensive eye exams and lens fittings to ensure that our clients enjoy clear and healthy eyesight.


Schedule an appointment at our Arbour Lake eye centre or any of the other Calgary locations near you. To book an appointment, call us at 403-241-3000. You are also welcome to visit us directly or complete our secure online contact form.

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