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We’ve heard it many times, you were so exhausted to get up and remove your contacts that you ended up falling asleep with them.

The routine of wearing contact lenses for years can lead to complacency and a laziness that can result in harmful side effects and even loss of vision. San Antonio Ophthalmologist Dr. Nader Iskander explains the why you shouldn’t sleep in contact lens.

Contacts may stop fitting well

Habitual sleeping in contacts may cause friction along the upper eyelids resulting in bumps along the inside of the lids.  These bumps are called Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC).  These bumps pull up on the contacts and prevent a sealed fit.

May develop intolerance to contacts

Sleeping in contacts prevents oxygen from reaching your cornea.  This lack of oxygen to the cornea is called corneal neovascularization.  This overgrowth of new blood vessels is an inflammatory response and can lead to an intolerance to wearing contacts.

Visibly noticeable, painful red eyes

Aside from the visible red eye color, you experience pain and light sensitivity.  We call this CLARE, short for Contact Lens Acute Red Eye.  Those who suffer from this condition, are not bashful to wearing glasses just to avoid that persistent red hue to their eyes accompanied by pain and aversion to light.

Most commonly seen are infections 

Sleeping in contacts can cause microscopic tears in the cornea thereby introducing microbes such as bacteria and fungi.  This conjunctivitis is the result of a bacterial infection which requires antibiotic drops and abstinence from contact lenses until completely healed.

Ulcers could lead to loss of vision

Most detrimental to the eye are corneal ulcers.  Frequent sleeping in contacts could perforate the cornea leading to an infection that leads to permanent loss of vision and even corneal transplants.  Corneal ulcers are extremely painful.  Visible signs are vision changes, tearing of eyes, and yellow colored discharge.  Any or all of these signs warrant immediate attention to see an eye specialist, preferably an ophthalmologist.  A corneal culture will be needed and fortified antibiotics called to a compounding pharmacy, depending on the microbial organism.

These dangers mentioned are not to be taken lightly.  Any long term solutions?  Well, if your eye prescription is stable,  LASIK surgery is a hassle-free alternative to contact lenses.  No fussing with inserting daily lenses, cleaning them, eye irritations, ordering them, losing them and removing them before retiring for the night.  Visual freedom has a price.  Many contemplate LASIK, but the cost is an obstacle.  Factor the cost of contact lenses for the number of years you’ve been wearing them.  Factor the cost of cleansing solution, annual eye exams, and prescription refill costs.   Factor the cost of unexpected eye exams due to painful irritations or eye drops.  Examine all these various fees and you will see, you’ve paid for LASIK many times over.  San Antonio Eye Specialists offers cash discounts and financing options with 0% financing up to 24 months.  Consider also using your HSA to pay for the cost of LASIK in San Antonio.

In the hands of a skilled, experienced surgeon, like fellowship-trained refractive surgeon, Dr. Iskander, LASIK is a beneficial alternative to improved hassle-free vision.  Dr. Iskander received extensive training and helped co-author a book about LASIK.  He personally experienced LASIK 20 years ago and has no regrets with his visual outcome.  Personally meet with Dr. Iskander at your complimentary LASIK consultation to discuss your visual options.