What Happens When You Wear Your Contacts Too Long

When you don’t have perfect vision, contacts are one way to restore your sight, although there are other optical options. However, it’s essential to follow the recommendations of your doctor and the manufacturer for how long a single pair of contacts should be worn.


While some people have a bad habit of wearing their contacts long past the recommended time frame, this can have some seriously negative effects on your eye health. Here’s what happens when you keep your contacts in for too long.

Consequences of Over-Wearing Contacts

When you wear contact lenses, you need to give your eyes a chance to breathe after having the small, plastic film over them all day. If you don’t take your contacts out on time, it could lead to eye issues that are irritating or painful.

Dry Eyes

Since contacts create a barrier over your cornea, preventing them from getting fluid and enough oxygen, you may notice that your eyes feel itchy and dry the longer you wear them.

Pink Eye

When you don’t take your contacts out and clean them as recommended, you run the risk of getting a bacterial infection in your eye — a common one being pink eye, or conjunctivitis. The common signs of this ailment include visible puffiness and redness of your eye, oozing liquid, and itchiness.


Although similar to pink eye, this ailment can cause internal damage to your eye and lead to vision loss as your cornea becomes infected. It’s important to note that sleeping in your contacts can put you at a much higher risk of developing this infection.

Corneal Neovascularization

As mentioned, wearing contacts for too long blocks off oxygen from your eye. When this happens for an extended period of time, your eye can begin to grow new blood vessels in an attempt to increase oxygen flow in the eye. If this happens, the new growth can block light from going through the cornea, leading to potential vision loss.

How to Protect Your Eyes When Wearing Contacts

Wearing contacts is entirely safe as long as you take proper measures to keep your lenses clean and give your eyes a break. You can do so by:

  • Removing your contacts each night before going to sleep

  • Clean them every day using a specialized solution

  • Throw out and replace old contacts after the recommended time period — replace daily lenses after one day, bi-weekly lenses after two weeks, etc.

  • Keep up with regular eye exams to ensure your contacts are not poorly affecting your vision.

Dallas Eye Doctors & Surgeons

At Key-Whitman Eye Center, your vision, eye health, and quality of life are our top priorities. That is why everything we do is focused on you. As a recognized leader in eye care for half a century, the goal of our Dallas eye doctors and friendly staff is to help you restore and enjoy your best possible vision, eye health, and lifestyle.


Contact us today to schedule an appointment at any of our nineconvenient locations.