WASHINGTON: Falling asleep without removing your contact lenses can cause serious eye infections that can eventually lead to blindness, scientists warn.
Six reports published in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine have shown that improper care or wear can lead to infections of the cornea such as microbial keratitis.
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"Sleeping in your contact lenses is risky and can lead to infections or in some cases permanent damage," says Jon Femling, assistant professor at the University of New Mexico in the US.
"Falling asleep, or even sleeping, without removing your contact lenses, can greatly increase the chance of serious health problems," Femling said.
In one case, a man who was judged for redness of the eye and blurred vision reported that he sleeps and swims in contact lenses for 3-4 nights a week.
He was treated for bacterial and fungal microbial keratitis.
Another example is a young girl who slept in lenses bought without a prescription from a retail chain.
She developed a corneal ulcer that resulted in scarring.
A man wearing the same lenses for two weeks was diagnosed with a perforated cornea, a bacterial infection and eventually a transplant to save his right eye.
"Sleeping in lenses is one of the most risky and most reported behaviors for adolescent and adult wearers of contact lenses," said Femling, lead author of the study.
"If you want to prevent an infection and avoid a trip to the emergency room, good eye care is a must," he said.