Answered by Jennifer Rapaport on Monday, November 23, 2009
Ophthalmologists don't advise that contact lenses of any kind—even the extended-wear variety—be worn overnight. That's because even the thinnest contact lenses on the market still put nighttime wearers at risk of developing an infection of the cornea. "Wearing contact lenses overnight increases your risk of developing a corneal ulcer by between four and 20 times," says Michael H. Goldstein, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology, cornea and external disease service at the University of Florida College of Medicine. And, says Dr. Goldstein, there's also an increased risk of developing hypoxia, an oxygen-deprivation condition that can temporarily or permanently distort vision. "Everybody's eyes are different, but most people's eyes need at least a six-hour-per-day break from their contacts so that their corneas can recover from the physical stress of the lenses." Showering with contact lenses also boosts your risk of infection, so take that pre-sleep soak as your cue to pop out your contacts.