What Does Falling Asleep in Your Contacts Mean for Your Eyes?

Posted by: Eye Health Northwest in General Eye Health on July 25, 2017

Smiling woman holding contact lenses

We’ve all been there before, you fall asleep on your couch watching TV or get home from a long day at work and wake up with your contacts still in. We know we shouldn’t sleep in our contacts but mistakes are inevitable. But why is it so bad for us to wear our contacts overnight?

Falling asleep with your contacts in causes an oxygen deprivation in your eyes. During the day, it is possible for air to get into your eyes but when you’re asleep your cornea relies on the hydration from your gelatinous fluid and tears to get its nourishment. Your eyes become deprived of oxygen because your contacts are a blockade between your corneas and your eyelids. Bacteria and other potentially dangerous things can build up in your eye and end up causing severe damage.

If you accidentally fall asleep with your contacts still in it is important to not take them out directly after waking up. Taking them out immediately could result in exposure to more bacteria. As soon as you wake up oxygen will begin to reach the surface of your eyes which will result in the swelling of the cornea to go down. It’s recommended to use eye drops to re-wet your eyes and help with the process of removing your contact lenses. After you have followed these steps you can remove the contact and give your eyes time to rest.

Some symptoms that you may experience after sleeping in your contacts include but are not limited to:

• Eye Pain
• Redness
• Sensitivity to light

As a precaution, it is recommended that you remove your contacts at least an hour before bed. This will give your eyes additional recovery time before bed and will help you not to forget to remove them. To make this easier it is also recommended to have an updated pair of glasses you can use during this resting period.


We Are Here For You
The safety of our patients, team members and our community is the highest priority at EyeHealth Northwest. Learn more about measures we are taking to keep you safe and what to expect during your visit.
learn more
Schedule an Appointment
Patient Portal
Pay Bill
contact us
Review Us

Our Locations

Aloha (OES)
18345 SW Alexander St,
Suite A
Aloha, OR 97003
(503) 642-2505 see more
Gresham
24601 SE Stark St.
Suite 245
Troutdale, OR 97060
(503) 255-2291 see more
Hillsboro
6111 NE Cornell Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 846-9400 see more
Lake Oswego (OES)
9 Monroe Parkway, Suite 160
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
(503) 636-2551 see more
Milwaukie
11086 SE Oak St
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 656-4221 see more
Mt. Tabor
5935 SE Division St.
Portland, OR 97206
503 777-5546 see more
Newberg (OES)
2318 Portland Rd, Suite 300
Newberg, OR 97132
(503) 538-1341 see more
North Portland
3246 N. Lombard
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 285-1671 see more
Northwest Portland
1955 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 227-2020 see more
Oregon City
1306 Division St
Oregon City, OR 97045
(503) 656-4221 see more
Peterkort
9555 SW Barnes Rd.
#201 (2nd floor)
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 227-2020 see more
Providence
5050 NE Hoyt St., #245
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 255-2291 see more
Providence Portland (OES)
5050 NE Hoyt St., Suite 445
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 231-0166 see more
Providence St. Vincent (OES)
9135 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 961
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 292-0848 see more
Southeast Portland
10819 SE Stark St,
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 255-2291 see more
Sunnyside
12050 SE Stevens Rd, Suite 100
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(503) 783-3300 see more
Tigard
15298 SW Royalty Parkway
Tigard OR 97224
(503) 227-2020 see more
Wilsonville
29250 SW Town Center Loop W
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(503) 582-0000 see more
Westside Surgery Center
13240 SW Pacific Hwy
Portland, OR 97223
(503) 639-6571 see more
EyeHealth Eastside Surgery and Laser Center
12050 SE Stevens Rd.
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(971) 206-6100 see more

Our Locations

Aloha (OES)
18345 SW Alexander St,
Suite A
Aloha, OR 97003
(503) 642-2505 see more
Gresham
24601 SE Stark St.
Suite 245
Troutdale, OR 97060
(503) 255-2291 see more
Hillsboro
6111 NE Cornell Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 846-9400 see more
Lake Oswego (OES)
9 Monroe Parkway, Suite 160
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
(503) 636-2551 see more
Milwaukie
11086 SE Oak St
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 656-4221 see more
Mt. Tabor
5935 SE Division St.
Portland, OR 97206
503 777-5546 see more
Newberg (OES)
2318 Portland Rd, Suite 300
Newberg, OR 97132
(503) 538-1341 see more
North Portland
3246 N. Lombard
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 285-1671 see more
Northwest Portland
1955 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 227-2020 see more
Oregon City
1306 Division St
Oregon City, OR 97045
(503) 656-4221 see more
Peterkort
9555 SW Barnes Rd.
#201 (2nd floor)
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 227-2020 see more
Providence
5050 NE Hoyt St., #245
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 255-2291 see more
Providence Portland (OES)
5050 NE Hoyt St., Suite 445
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 231-0166 see more
Providence St. Vincent (OES)
9135 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 961
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 292-0848 see more
Southeast Portland
10819 SE Stark St,
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 255-2291 see more
Sunnyside
12050 SE Stevens Rd, Suite 100
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(503) 783-3300 see more
Tigard
15298 SW Royalty Parkway
Tigard OR 97224
(503) 227-2020 see more
Wilsonville
29250 SW Town Center Loop W
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(503) 582-0000 see more
Surgery Centers

Westside Surgery Center

13240 SW Pacific Hwy
Portland, OR 97223
(503) 639-6571 see more

EyeHealth Eastside Surgery and Laser Center

12050 SE Stevens Rd.
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(971) 206-6100 see more