Can you sleep with contact lenses in? With extended wear contacts you can! Here’s your need-to-know guide.
If the idea of removing contact lenses every night doesn’t appeal to you, extended wear lenses might be a better option. These soft contact lenses are designed to be worn for longer periods. It depends on the type you have but some are designed to last a week up to a month.
“These are lenses you can sleep in,” says Bupa optometrist Karen Makin. “Some people like that convenience of putting them in and not having to worry about them for a set period of time.”
Extended wear contact lenses are made of silicone hydrogel, meaning they allow more oxygen to pass through to your cornea to keep it healthy. They work well for people with active lifestyles or unpredictable schedules, such as shift workers or those who travel regularly.
“Some people who get extended wear contact lenses still wear them on a daily basis, taking them out each night. But they like the reassurance that if something happens where they need to sleep in them – they get called in for work or go camping, for example – they can.”
Extended wear contact lenses might be more cost effective than daily contacts, as you don’t need to buy as many lenses, however only your optometrist can advise on the best option for you, Makin points out. Not everyone can successfully wear extended wear contact lenses.
You still need to be willing to commit to regular handling of your lenses. Extended wear contact lenses usually need to be cleaned on a regular basis – around once a week, depending on your optometrist’s advice – to avoid eye infections.
“You will need to clean them when you take them out and put them into disinfecting solution, and ensure you throw them away when the month is up” Makin says. “The cleaning process is hugely important. It takes about the same time as brushing your teeth and it just becomes routine.”