Even having a NAP in your contact lenses 'increases risk of dangerous infection – and could leave you blind'

New research from the American Collage of Emergency Physicians, based on six case reports, has found going to sleep with contact lenses in can lead to infections of the cornea.

The most common is microbial keratitis, a serious eye condition that could leave you blind.

The first signs are usually redness and pain in the eye, watery discharge and sensitivity to light.

Lead author Dr Jon Femling, assistant professor of the department of emergency medicine at University of New Mexico, said: "Sleeping in your contact lenses is risky and can lead to infections, or in some cases, permanent damage.

"Falling asleep, or even napping, without removing your contact lenses can significantly increase the likelihood of serious health problems."

Six cases studies were published in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US (CDC) some one million cases of emergency outpatient visits are for keratitis each year.

In one case, a man evaluated for eye redness and blurry vision reported sleeping in contact lenses three to four nights per week and swimming with them in.

He was treated for bacterial and fungal microbial keratitis.

Another case was an adolescent girl who slept in lenses purchased without a prescription at a high street store.

She developed a corneal ulcer that resulted in scarring on her eye.

One man who wore the same lenses for two weeks was diagnosed with a perforated cornea, bacterial infection and ultimately required a transplant to save his right eye.

"Sleeping in lenses is one of the riskiest and most commonly reported behaviours for adolescent and adult contact lens wearers," said Dr Femling said.

"If you want to avoid infection, and avoid a trip to the emergency department, proper eye care is a must."

Microbial keratitis is a fungal or bacterial infection of the eye.

According to the College of Optometrists it's most often associated with contact lens wearers, especially those who sleep in them.

Reusable contact lens wearers are also at risk if they don't properly clean lenses in between uses.

Symptoms include pain, redness, discharge, blurred vision and a white or yellow spot on the cornea.

The infection can be treated in a number of ways.

Your optometrist may chose to scrape the infection off of the cornea, followed by treatment with antibiotics.

If the infection is severe you may need to be admitted to hospital and in extreme cases an eye transplant may be necessary to save your vision.

If you have any of these symptoms speak to a doctor straight away.


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