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Can it hurt your eyes if you sleep with contacts in?

Sometimes I fall asleep with my contact lenses in. Is this bad for your eyes? Can it cause permanent damage?
The answer to this question depends a lot on your own personal tear chemistry and eye characteristics, as well as the type of contacts you use. In other words, you will have to ask your own eye doctor for advice. There are some contacts that are made to be left in while you sleep and there are other contacts that are definitely not made to be worn while asleep. If you have the former type of contact, as long as you properly clean then and dispose of them when it is time for a new pair, then it should be fine to sleep with them in. On the other hand, if your contacts are not made to be worn around the clock, then you could be potentially damaging your eyes by leaving them in. Even in the case of contacts that are made to be worn continuously, there are some people who, because of their personal eye characteristics, cannot tolerated wearing them like this. In other words, use common sense - if your eyes feel irritated after sleeping with your contacts in, then this is probably not right for you. Your eye doctor will be able to provide you with more individualized advice.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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