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Can you sleep with contact lenses in?

Do not wear contact lenses for at least one full day to allow your eyes to heal. Contact your eye care provider immediately if you notice any symptoms of infection or discomfort.

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Photo by Andy BELLEGARDE from Unsplash.com

Contact lenses are wonderful because they provide a near-normal vision experience without corrective glasses. But they can be easily forgotten. When preparing to sleep, even for a nap, is not the time to forget about them.

To help contact lens wearers understand the implications of sleeping in their lenses, Lens.com published an informative guide.

Can you sleep in contact lenses?

Did you know that sleeping with regular contact lenses can result in severe infection and put you at risk for vision loss? Some contact lenses, like extended wear contacts, are meant to be worn overnight. However, many are not. You can only sleep in contact lenses designed for overnight wear, such as Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus, which is approved for up to six consecutive nights of wear. 

Contact lenses are medical devices that require proper care and handling to avoid severe side effects. Yet, as little as two percent of contact lens wearers report following their eye care provider’s instructions.

What happens if you sleep with contacts lenses in?

It’s important to know the implications of sleeping in contact lenses not designed for extended wear or if they are left in too long.

  • Eye Infections. Eye infections are the most significant risk of sleeping in contact lenses not approved for extended wear. When you sleep in your contact lenses, your risk of contracting eye infections increases six to eight times. The most common infection is called conjunctivitis or pink eye. This common eye infection is mainly caused by wearing contact lenses overnight, but it can also be caused by allergies or coming into contact with someone who has it. Sleeping with your contact lenses makes you more susceptible to pink eye because your contact lenses can leave microscopic tears on your cornea, thus increasing your odds of bacteria entering and getting trapped in your eye and leading to infection.
  • Hypoxia. Oxygen is essential for the healthy function of your eyes. There are no blood vessels in your corneas (the clear tissue at the front and center of your eye), which means they get their oxygen directly from the air. Contact lenses reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your cornea. Now imagine sleeping with contact lenses in your eyes. With our eyes shut and contact lenses, the amount of oxygen is greatly restricted and can lead to hypoxia of the eye. This extreme oxygen deprivation can cause warping, scarring, pain, and vision loss.
  • Corneal Ulcers. If your contact lenses are not taken out and cared for properly, you may cause so much irritation that you cause corneal ulcers, or open sores on the cornea, to form. These ulcers can even become so severe that they require a corneal transplant using donor tissue. Those who sleep with contact lenses not approved for extended wear are five times more likely to develop corneal infections, permanently damaging their vision.
  • Contact Lens-induced Acute Red Eye (CLARE). Tight Lens Syndrome or Contact Lens Overwear Syndrome is usually marked by light sensitivity, redness, tearing, and decreased vision. When a contact lens fits too tightly, it will stick to the cornea like a suction cup, and this will cause the cornea to swell. If not treated, You could be at risk for a severe infection that can cause a corneal ulcer leading to permanent scarring and vision loss. Contact lenses are like tiny sponges; they expand when they are moist and shrink when they dry out.
  • Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC). Wearing your contact lenses for prolonged periods or overnight can cause bumps to form underneath your eyelids called GPCs. If you wear your contacts while you sleep, you have the greatest chance of experiencing this unpleasant condition. These bumps can result in your contact lenses no longer fitting properly. If this happens, your eye care provider may ask you to stop wearing your contact lenses for a week and see if your symptoms subside.

Why does sleeping with contact lenses increase your risk of an eye infection?

After wearing your lenses all day long, napping or falling asleep means your lenses have collected pollutants, bacteria, and dirt that could increase your risk of complications. As your eye and contact lens becomes dehydrated in your sleep, the lens starts to shrink and tear at your cornea, and these microscopic tears allow an entry point for bacteria to get into your eye. Sleeping in contact lenses increases your chance of getting an eye infection six to eight times.

What to do if you accidentally sleep with contact lenses in?

Attempt to remove your contact lenses as soon as you’ve discovered that you’ve fallen asleep with them in your eyes. Make sure you follow your standard hygiene practices. If you cannot remove them easily, stop! Tugging at a dehydrated lens attached to your eye can cause tearing. Instead, place several drops of sterile contact solution on your eyes or lubricating drops. Blink several times. And try again.

After successfully removing your contact lenses, pay attention to how your eyes feel. Do not wear contact lenses for at least one full day to allow your eyes to heal. Contact your eye care provider immediately if you notice any symptoms of infection or discomfort. The signs of an eye infection are blurred vision, redness, excessive watering, and discharge from the eye. If you think you have an eye infection, your eye doctor may want to test your contact lenses, so be sure to take those with you when you visit.

Always practice safe habits following the guidelines your eye care professional provided and check with them whenever you’re in doubt.

If you are guilty of sleeping or taking naps in your contact lenses, it’s time to change your eye care routine. You may want to consider taking out your contact lenses after dinner and switching to eyeglasses so you don’t forget them before bedtime. If you are a fan of naps or have an unpredictable schedule, visit your eye care provider and ask if extended-wear contact lenses are for you. You can browse all the contact lenses you sleep in at Lens.com.

Why are some contact lenses FDA-approved for overnight or extended wear while others aren’t?

The simplest reason why not all contact lenses are FDA-approved for overnight wear is that contact lens manufacturers have to apply for FDA approval. Applying for FDA approval is a lengthy process that requires submitting studies and research documents and passing clinical trials. If a manufacturer wants FDA approval, they’d have to spend considerable time and resources.

Another reason is that contact lenses designed for overnight wear are made of thinner material compared to daily wear contact lenses.

Many contact lens brands that are FDA-approved for overnight wear are made with silicone hydrogel, which is significantly more breathable than standard hydrogel. Silicone hydrogel allows for much better oxygen transmissibility, which is essential when wearing contact lenses for extended periods.

Which contact lenses can you sleep in?

You can only sleep in contact lenses that are designed for overnight wear. Popular contact lenses rated for overnight usage include:

  • Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus can be worn daily for two weeks or continuously for up to six nights and seven days, after which they must be removed, disposed of, and replaced with a new pair of lenses. These contact lenses feature Acuvue’s innovative Hydraclear Plus. Inspired by how the eye’s tear film works, this wetting agent keeps the contacts wet and smooth for all-day comfort. These contacts block more than 99 percent of UVB and 95 percent of UVA rays – some of the highest levels you’ll find on the market today.
  • AirOptix plus HydraGlyde combines two unique technologies into one lens: SmartShield Technology and HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix technology. SmartShield Technology creates an ultra-thin protective layer to help shield your lenses from deposits and provides long-lasting comfort. HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix, on the other hand, attracts and maintains surface moisture on the lens for up to 16 hours. SmartShield Technology and HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix technology make Air Optix plus HydraGlyde very comfortable.
  • Biofinity contact lenses bring a remarkable balance of comfort and breathability in a monthly disposable lens. They are FDA-approved for extended wear, meaning they can be worn continuously for up to six nights and seven days before they need to be replaced. These contacts feature CooperVision’s patented Aquaform® Technology, which locks in water so you can enjoy all-day comfort. They also have smooth, rounded edges, enhancing comfort by minimizing interaction between your contact lenses and eyelids.
  • PureVision 2 HD contact lenses are another popular brand rated for night and day wear. Featuring Bausch + Lomb’s innovative High Definition™ Optics, these contact lenses help you see enhanced contrast, sharper details, and reduced glare, even in low light conditions. They reduce halos and give a crisp, clear vision while using digital devices or in low-light conditions. They’re made of a silicone hydrogel lens material that allows plenty of oxygen to reach your eyes, which they need to stay white and healthy.

Curious to see all the contact lenses you can sleep inVisit Lens.com to learn more.

The lenses above have been approved by the FDA for use while asleep. If you already wear these contact lenses, ask your eye care provider before using contacts during sleep. Each individual’s eye health is different and your eye care provider needs to evaluate the overall health of your eye before approving overnight use.

Can you nap while wearing contact lenses?

Generally, no, you should not nap or sleep with contact lenses. This applies to all contact lens brands and types, unless specified. Falling asleep with your contact lenses could lead to infection and irritation. While modern soft contact lenses have incredible technology to ensure enough oxygen passes through the lenses in daily wear, having your eyes closed while you sleep reduces available oxygen and prevents tears from washing your eye under the contact lenses. This can potentially cause problems to your eyes through hypoxia of the eyes unless you use specific lenses designed for extended wear, as directed by your eye care professional.

Everyone faces different challenges when getting through each day, but some days are occasionally a tad more exhausting than others. Whether you are a new parent, finishing up work for a deadline, studying for an important exam, or going through health issues that keep you lethargic all day long, there’s one thing we can all agree on, and that is a nap. Studies have shown that naps boost productivity by improving alertness, performance, and mood.

Rather than avoid taking naps, consider talking to your doctor about changing your prescription to an extended-wear contact lens.

What if I fall asleep with the contact lenses for just 10 minutes?

The duration does make a difference, but it is not the only factor to consider. In general, the more time spent sleeping in contact lenses, the greater the risk that you will develop symptoms of infection or inflammation and suffer from the more severe consequences. For example, if you sometimes fall asleep during your work transit or take naps between 10 and 40 minutes long, you are likely not exposing yourself to any long-term health-related risks. You might, however, still experience blurred vision and dry eyes for a short period. If you’re asleep for an extended period of one or more hours, then your contact lenses can dry up in your eyes, which can lead to discomfort or a scratching sensation in your eyes when you open them.

The type of contact lenses you wear matters, too. Silicone hydrogel lenses allow more oxygen to the cornea, so your eyes won’t get sore. On the other hand, hydrogel lenses might cause some redness, irritation, and burning when you wake up– which could even damage your cornea. With shorter naps, these issues are less likely to occur.

The state your eyes are in before falling asleep also matters. If you have been using your contacts only for a few hours before going to bed, then there is a lower risk of your eyes getting irritated than if you have been wearing them all day. This is because contact lenses accumulate dirt and dust, such as when worn for extended periods or throughout the day. However, if you fall asleep with your contacts in the evening and stay in your eyes all night, this is more problematic.

How do you wear contact lenses safely?

Your eye health is just too important to take a chance. Consider speaking with your eye care professional about switching to contact lenses approved for extended wear when in doubt.

If you’ve accidentally slept in your contact lenses for brief periods or rarely, here are tips to help:

  • Attempt to remove your contact lenses as soon as you realize you’ve slept in them. But do not sidestep your regular hygiene process, such as washing your hands.
  • Always have a backup plan. Carry a spare set of lenses or a pair of eyeglasses. It’s also a good idea to keep contact solution or eye drops in your purse, backpack, or office.
  • If you’ve fallen asleep on an overnight trip and realize you didn’t bring your contact lenses or cleaning supplies, find a pharmacy as soon as possible so that you can remove and clean your lenses. At the very least, put in eye drops so your lens can rehydrate and reduce the pressure on your cornea, and it is imperative to remove your lens as soon as possible.
  • Never put your contact lenses in your mouth to moisten or clean them. Saliva is not sterile and will increase the risk of an eye infection.
  • Before wearing your contact lenses again, ensure they are thoroughly cleaned and inspect them for small tears or other imperfections. If you notice any irregularities, throw them away. And start with a fresh pair. It’s always a good idea to go at least one day without contact lenses if you’ve slept in them; this will give your eyes a chance to recover.
  • If you experience any symptoms of an eye infection or discomfort, seek care from your eye care professional.

Always practice safe habits and check with your eye care professional whenever you doubt.

NewsMakers

How to help children build a growth mindset

Consider these three tips to help children build a growth mindset.

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A new year is a perfect time to consider the habits you want to keep and the ones you’d like to develop. One resolution to consider is helping your children develop a growth mindset this year.

“We know one of the greatest boosts to parents’ confidence over the past year came from knowing their children’s whole selves are being nurtured, and we want to see that trend continue,” said Carter Peters from KinderCare Learning Center’s education team. “A growth mindset helps children try new things despite fear of failure. It’s the kind of thinking that allows inventors and creative thinkers to get excited about trying something new and ensures they have the cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills to work through hurdles.”

Adults can often easily spot when children are engaged in creative thinking and prideful of their work, but that confidence may be lost as failures turn into insecurities. By nurturing a growth mindset and showing children they can learn and develop new skills in any area, it better sets them up for long-term success.

Consider these three tips to help children build a growth mindset:

Photo by Markus Spiske from Unsplash.com

1. Praise effort

It’s easy to fall into the habit of praising successes. However, praising effort encourages children to try new things without the fear of failing. It also teaches children personal growth and achievement are possible, even if their overall effort wasn’t a success.

“Young children often get excited to try something new,” Peters said. “By praising effort and showing children they’ll still be loved and valued despite the outcome, you can reframe how they approach challenges and teach them that difficult doesn’t mean impossible.”

2. Encourage the process

People often withhold praise until there’s a result, which leads children to hurriedly scribble a picture to hold up for a “good job” instead of taking time to focus on their efforts. When children know adults will encourage them during the process, instead of only upon the achievement, they’re more likely to try new things or master a new skill. For example, try providing encouragement such as, “I can see you’re focused on drawing that tree. It looks so lifelike because you’re putting so much thought into what you’re doing.” Once their project is finished, continue the encouragement by hanging up their artwork or school projects in a prominent place.

3. Model a growth mindset

You can model a growth mindset for children by narrating your actions when you are facing a challenge: “I am having a difficult time putting this shelf together, but it’s OK. I’ll take a break then read the instructions again.” Remove negative words from your vocabulary, such as “I can’t” or “I’m stupid.” Even when you are joking, children may not be able to tell the difference. You can also ask your children to join you in problem-solving. Take time to hear their ideas and try them even if you think they won’t work. This not only supports the development of their growth mindset, but the quality time and encouragement reinforces their sense of self-worth and builds confidence.

For more tips to help children develop a growth mindset, visit kindercare.com.

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NewsMakers

Signs of a Healthy Marriage

Although there are many different ways to define a healthy marriage, these three qualities are essential for any lasting and fulfilling relationship.

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A healthy marriage is built on trust, respect, and communication. Couples with these qualities in their relationship tend to be more satisfied with their marriage and overall life. They also report feeling closer to their partner and having stronger well-being. With 2.3 out of every 1000 people in the US experiencing divorce in 2022, it is important to frequently check in on the health of your marriage.

Although there are many different ways to define a healthy marriage, these three qualities are essential for any lasting and fulfilling relationship.

Signs of a Healthy Marriage

A healthy marriage is built on trust, communication, and mutual respect. If you and your partner can effectively communicate and share a mutual level of respect, then your relationship is off to a good start. Trust is also important in a healthy marriage, as it allows you and your partner to feel secure in your relationship and rely on each other.

Many other signs can indicate whether or not a marriage is healthy. For example, couples who can spend quality time together and enjoy shared activities usually do well. Couples who can openly discuss their relationship with each other and work through difficulties together are also more likely to have a happy and healthy marriage. Finally, marriages, where both partners feel like they can be themselves without judgment from their spouse tend to be the strongest and most lasting.

Freedom to be yourself

In a healthy marriage, partners feel free to be themselves. They don’t have to put on a facade or pretend to be someone they’re not. They can be open and honest with each other and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings, and desires.

Both partners should pursue their interests and hobbies without compromising or sacrificing for the sake of the relationship. There’s no need to agree on everything – in fact, it’s healthy to have some separate interests – but overall, both partners should feel like they’re able to be true to themselves within the relationship.

Lots of good communication

In a healthy marriage, partners can communicate effectively. It means expressing needs and wants and listening and responding to what the other person is saying. There are mutual respect’s opinions, even if there are disagreements. Couples in a healthy marriage feel comfortable communicating with each other about both the good and the bad.

Good sex life

A good sex life can be a major sign of a healthy marriage. A lack of sexual activity can be an early warning sign that something is wrong in the relationship. Often, couples who have a good sex life are more connected emotionally and physically. They are also more likely to trust each other and communicate openly.

Trust in each other

In any relationship, trust is essential. Without trust, there is no foundation for the relationship to grow. In a marriage, trust is even more important. Trusting your spouse means you feel confident in their ability to support you emotionally and financially. It also means that you feel safe sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with them.

When you trust your spouse, you know they have your best interests. You feel comfortable being yourselves around each other and sharing your hopes, dreams, and fears. Openness and honesty in your relationship allow you to be vulnerable with each other. This vulnerable honesty creates a deeper level of intimacy in your marriage.

When you trust each other, you can be more forgiving when mistakes are made. You know that everyone makes mistakes and that nobody is perfect. You also understand that your spouse is human and capable of making mistakes like anyone else. If they make a mistake, you are more likely to forgive them because you know they are sorry and will try not to make the same mistake again.

Trust is one of the most important foundations of a healthy marriage. If you want your marriage to thrive, build trust in each other.

A successful, strong marriage takes work, but with communication, trust, respect, vulnerability, and affection as its core components, you can together create a partnership that will be long-lasting.

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NewsMakers

Obesity linked to macular degeneration

Immune cells are also activated when the body is exposed to stressors such as excess fat in obesity, making being overweight the number one non-genetic risk factor for developing AMD, after smoking.

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A Canadian study published in the prestigious journal Science elucidates a new molecular mechanism that may cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The research at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosement, in Montreal, shows how life stressors such as obesity reprogram immune system cells and make them destructive to the eye as it ages.

“We wanted to know why some people with a genetic predisposition develop AMD while others are spared,” said Université de Montréal ophtalmology professor Przemyslaw (Mike) Sapieha, who led the study by his postdoctoral fellow Dr. Masayuki Hata.

“Although considerable effort has been invested in understanding the genes responsible for AMD, variations and mutations in susceptibility genes only increase the risk of developing the disease, but do not cause it,” Sapieha explained.

“This observation suggests that we must gain a better understanding of how other factors such as environment and lifestyle contribute to disease development.”

AMD is a major cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and affected approximately 196 million people in 2020. It comes in two forms:

  • dry AMD, characterized by the accumulation of fatty deposits at the back of the eye and the death of nerve cells in the eye,
  • and wet AMD, which is characterized by diseased blood vessels that develop in the most sensitive part of the sight-generating tissue, called the macula.

Contact with pathogens

It is already known that the immune system in the eye of a person with AMD becomes dysregulated and aggressive. Normally, immune cells keep the eye healthy, but contact with pathogens such as bacteria and viruses can make them go awry.

At the same time, immune cells are also activated when the body is exposed to stressors such as excess fat in obesity, making being overweight the number one non-genetic risk factor for developing AMD, after smoking.

In their study, Sapieha and Hata used obesity as a model to accelerate and exaggerate the stressors experienced by the body throughout life.

They found that transient obesity or a history of obesity leads to persistent changes in the DNA architecture within immune cells, making them more susceptible to producing inflammatory molecules.

“Our findings provide important information about the biology of the immune cells that cause AMD and will allow for the development of more tailored treatments in the future,” said Hata, now an ophthalmology professor at Kyoto University, in Japan.

The researchers hope their discovery will lead other scientists to broaden their interest beyond obesity-related diseases to other diseases characterized by increased neuroinflammation, including Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

About this study

“Past history of obesity triggers persistent epigenetic changes in innate immunity and exacerbates neuroinflammation,” by Mike Sapieha and Masayuki Hata, was published in Science.

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