5 Eye Care Bedtime Tips for Contact Lens Users
Contact lens wearers will agree that their lenses provide them with more convenience than other forms of vision correction. Although a pair of glasses are also very effective, some wearers agree that they come with certain distractions. With contact lenses, you will not have to worry about them steaming up, getting dirty, or generally falling off, as it commonly happens with eyeglasses. We know there are many benefits associated with using contact lenses, and what a convenient option they are.
There are a few recommendations you should keep in mind in order to properly take care of your contact lenses and ensure they remain a viable option for you. In particular, let’s take a look at how to best care for your contact lenses, and your eyes, around bedtime.
Can you sleep with contact lenses?
Sorry, the answer is always no. If you would like to sleep while wearing your contact lenses, the first thing you need to know is that you can’t do this with just any type of contact lenses: you must use extended-wear or specially designed day and night contact lenses1. These are designed to allow a significant amount of oxygen to pass through the contact lenses directly to your cornea. They are usually made with thinner materials (silicone hydrogel) compared to daily disposable lenses or reusable contact lenses.
Sleeping with regular contact lenses, on the other hand, can predispose your eyes to infections or ulcers. If you happen to fall asleep by accident, you should remove them carefully. Your contact lens will be drier and tighter in this scenario, causing you discomfort and increasing the risk of damage to your cornea when removing it. The longer you use the dried out contact lens increases the risk of your eye health. For safer handling, use your contact lens rewetting drops to hydrate the lens, which will allow you to remove them carefully. Once the lenses are out, you can use your prescribed eye drops once again to make sure your eyes are properly hydrated.
Eye care bedtime tips for contact lens users
If you don’t use extended-wear lenses we recommend you have a proper nighttime routine after a long day of wearing your contact lenses. For women, remember these tips should come before your skincare routine. More precisely: be sure to take out your contact lenses before removing your makeup2.
Here are some tips for caring for your eyes and protecting your vision:
1. Give your eyes a break
Regardless of how comfortable your lenses might be, if they are not specifically made to be worn for extended periods of time then you must remove your lenses every night. This is because after you have been wearing them for a while, your contact lenses create a seal over your eyes3. Depending on the material of the lenses, your eyes won’t always receive the necessary amount of oxygen. A lack of oxygen can cause several issues to your eyes, such as hypoxia, hazy vision, acute red eye, and some eye infections4. The easiest way to avoid this is by simply removing your lenses each night, allowing your eyes to rest and receive the much-needed levels of oxygen.
2. Begin by washing your hands and towel them dry.
Ensure that you wash your hands before touching your contact lens regardless of the time of day. You can use tap water and mild soap and rinse thoroughly, then dry with a clean, lint-free towel. Washing your hands before you touch your contact lenses can prevent particles and harmful bacteria from entering your eyes, thereby lowering the risk of eye infections. Remember to be extra careful about your lenses never coming into contact with tap water5.
3. Clean your contact lens and case
Start by cleaning your contact lens storage case using a sterile solution or hot water, then allow it to air dry. You can then remove your contacts, and clean them properly by rubbing them with your now clean fingers and rinsing them with the solution recommended by your Optometrist6. The lifetime of a contact lens case is approximately 3 months and after that time, you should replace the case with a new one. A clean contact lens case will help avoid any unwanted bacteria that can impact your contact lenses and eyes.
4. Use eye drops and contact lens solution
After you remove your contact lenses, you can use eye drops to hydrate your eyes. To safely store your lenses overnight, remember to thoroughly coat the inside of their case with contact lens solution and allow the lenses to soak while you sleep. The solution will rehydrate the lenses as well as help in the cleaning process7, so you can wake up to a fresher pair of lenses in the morning. Monthly contact lenses need to be cleaned every night in a contact lens case for 8 hours or more with multi-purpose contact lens solution. Ask our Optometrist what contact lens solution is best for your eyes.
5. Stay away from screens
Allow your eyes to rest once you take out your contacts. Instead of straining them with the blue light from your screen, keep your devices away for an hour before bed. You can take this opportunity to read a book or go to bed early, your eyes will thank you for it.
These tips will help you take proper care of your contact lens and your eyes, especially around bedtime. Stay in touch with your Optometrist to ensure that you are treating your eyes and your contact lenses right. Check out our range of contact lenses and other eye care products or book a consultation with one of our eye doctors to get you on the right track to caring for your eyes.
- Gary Heiting, OD, Extended wear contact lenses: Are they safe?, All about vision
- Shannon Farrell, 2015, The Right Way to Apply—and Remove—Eye Makeup if You Wear Contacts, Women’s Health magazine
- 2017, Why It’s Important to Take Your Contacts Out Every Night, OCLI Vision
- Healthwise Staff, 2022, Contact Lens Problems: Hypoxia, My Health Alberta
- 2021, Water and Contact Lenses Don’t Mix, CDC
- Kierstan Boyd, 2022, How to Take Care of Contact Lenses, American Academy of Ophthalmology
- 2021, How to store contact lenses? What if you have no case?, Contacts Direct