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What Happens If I Wear My Contact Lenses Too Long?

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Below, you'll see a few photos of an eye that developed neovascularization (blood vessels) on the cornea (clear front of the eye that your contact lens sits on).

This is what can happen when you wear your contact lenses 24/7, never give your eyes a break by wearing your glasses, and ESPECIALLY if you sleep in your contact lenses.

Contact lenses sit on your cornea. Your cornea has no blood supply and only gets its oxygen from the air. When you wear contact lenses too much, you deprive your corneas of oxygen. They then send “distress” signals out to the white part of your eye to start sending oxygen to the eye by way of blood vessels that start growing on the cornea.

These vessels can create an irregular surface. In some cases, the lack of oxygen damages the cells of the cornea (limbal stem cells) and can create a situation where you never see well with soft contacts or glasses again because of limbal stem cell deficiency. In these cases, patient may need scleral lenses to attain the clearest vision possible.

To keep your eyes healthy and avoid neovascularization on the cornea, it's always a good idea to remove your contacts at the end of your day and give your eyes at least two hours of good amount of oxygen before going to bed. See short videos on how to remove your lenses here.

If you are interested in learning more about how specialty lenses could help your limbal stem cell deficiency, or if soft contacts and glasses are not working for you, see our frequently asked questions linked here or schedule a specialty contact lens consultation today.

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