Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
I just recently slept in my contacts. When I woke up the next morning my eyes felt swollen and looked bloodshot. I went to the doctors to get a prescription for my eye yesterday and it already feels better but my eye lid is still puffy and purple. I have prom in two days—do you think my eye will be less puffy and red by then?

Answer:
It is very important to maintain communication with your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.). When doctors start you on medicine, you should start to get better; and if you do not start to get better at the speed you're expected to, or have new symptoms, you should call your doctor. You may be developing uncommon complications, or need to be on a different medicine, or perhaps the recovery period is longer than you expected.

Perhaps this is unrelated to sleeping in the contacts. Purple and puffy lids are never normal. It may be secondary to allergy (allergic conjunctivitis), but it can be secondary to an infection of the lids (preseptal cellulitis), which can be very serious and require oral or intravenous antibiotics.

Sleeping in your contact lenses can cause all sorts of problems, from new blood vessels in your cornea (corneal neovascularization), to allergic reactions to contacts (giant papillary conjunctivitis), to deep infections (corneal ulcers) in the eye which are painful and diminish your vision. So don't sleep in your contacts, and you will have a much better chance of long-term comfortable contact lens wear!

Answered by: Anne Sumers, MD Dr. Anne Sumers 

Categories: Eye Conditions, Eye Infections, Vision Correction

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Answered: Jun 12, 2013

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