Contact lenses left in too long can have a negative effect on your eye health. Even if you rinse them regularly with a solution, overusing them can lead to complications in your eyesight. Protein deposits, microorganisms and allergens build up on your lenses over time. Once they get to your eyes, you may experience eye dryness, redness and irritation as well as blurry vision.
How Long You Should Leave Your Contact Lenses in Your Eyes
If you are wondering how long is too long to wear your contacts, the answer depends on the type of contact lenses you wear. Daily-wear lenses can be worn for 8 to 16 hours and are meant to be worn during the day and removed at night. Disposable lenses, meanwhile, are single-use lenses that should be discarded after each wear and shouldn’t be worn for more than 16 hours at a time.
On the other hand, extended-wear lenses can be worn day and night for several days. However, these are becoming less common and are not often encouraged as they increase the risk of eye infection and long-term corneal change.
Why You Shouldn’t Over-Wear Your Contact Lenses
Overusing your contact lenses can harm your eyes, leading to an increased risk of:
- Bacteria. If you wear your contacts for days or even weeks past their recommended use, sleeping in your contact lenses can have risky side effects. When you do so, you prevent oxygen from filtering into and out of the eye, causing bacteria to spread.
- Eye infection. In addition to the gradual breakdown of contact lens material that occurs due to extended use, you may contract microbial keratitis, a type of infection that inflames your cornea. This causes pain in your eye and puts you at risk of vision loss.
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis. This occurs when your eyes form an inflammatory response to prolonged contact exposure, causing them to feel sore while seeing blurry images. This issue can be treated with artificial tears, but in some cases, the wearer has to stop wearing contacts.
For top-notch eye care needs in Falls Church and the surrounding Virginia communities, turn to Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry. Give us a call at (703) 573-1200, or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.