Surprising Side Effects Of Leaving Your Contacts In Too Long

Your teeth are brushed, your eye cream has been gently padded on, and you've just slipped under the covers to fall blissfully asleep. In those very last seconds before you enter dreamland, you think 'I should have taken out my contacts' only to brush the thought away as sleep invades. We understand. A lot of us have been there ourselves. Taking out your contacts can easily be forgotten but unfortunately, you might have to pay the price for this oversight.

If you've been wearing contacts for a while now, you can easily start to feel a little blasé about your contact lens routine. But according to the FDA, contacts are actually classified as a medical device and should be used carefully. "It is terrible to wear the same contact lenses for a long, long time," Alisha Fleming, an optometrist at Penn Medicine, told Self. "Would you go days without brushing your teeth or wear the same underwear for days without washing?" Hopefully not, but here's what can happen if you do follow a similar regimen with your contacts.

Adding open sores and vision loss to the list

It's important you're fully informed of the risks of wearing your contacts for too long. The first side effect you are exposing yourself to by overwearing your lenses is an increased risk of infection. Namely, keratitis. According to MayoClinic, keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea that results in red eyes, blurred vision, excessive tears, and increased pain and irritation in the eye. As stated by Golden Eye Optometry, more serious risks of overwearing your lenses for too long include loss of vision, corneal ulcers (open sores in the outer layer of the cornea), and corneal abrasions.

If you're a repeat offender of wearing your contacts for too long and have been lucky enough to not experience any of these side effects of overuse, then it could be just a matter of time. Vivian Shibayama, an optometrist and contact lens specialist with UCLA, told Self one of the most common reasons she sees patients is because they have an eye infection that stemmed from wearing their lenses longer than prescribed.

Different contacts have different lengths of usage time associated with them. So to avoid any unnecessary infection, pain, or vision loss, double-, no triple-check, the length of time you can safely wear your contacts. And perhaps next time seriously consider taking them out next time before you drift away into dreamland.