NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The CDC is warning Americans about the dangers of sleeping with their contacts lenses after a number of people reportedly lost their sight.
Eye doctors usually tell their patients to never sleep with their contacts in for sanitary reasons however, some people still do it to save money on one-time-use contacts or because they forget to take them out at night.
Other contact users say they’re just too hard to take out regularly. “This new lens came out and it’s thinner than the other thin lens and I was having real difficulties trying to get it off,” Tracey Tooker said.
A new report by the CDC says Tooker is not alone. The report estimates that one in three contact lens wearers sleep overnight in their lenses. That habit reportedly increases the risk for developing an eye infection by six to eight times.
According to the CDC, lenses trap bacteria against the eye – and with less oxygen reaching the cornea while you sleep – it’s a perfect environment for infection.
“Corneal infection with a corneal ulcer would be the most devastating kind of infection and if it was left untreated it could lead to a serious scar or even a perforation of the eye,” Dr. Mark Fromer of Lenox Hill Hospital said to CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.
If for some reason you do happen to fall asleep in your lenses, health officials recommend you put a few drops of saline or re-wetting solution in your eyes for a few minutes before you try to remove them.
Dry lenses tend to stick to your eye and peeling them off right away can cause a painful corneal abrasion.