Health Conditions / Eye Health

You’ll Never Be Tempted to Sleep in Contacts Again After Watching This Unsettling TikTok

You’ll Never Be Tempted to Sleep in Contacts Again After Watching This Unsettling TikTok

If you’ve ever worn contact lenses, you’ve likely heard the warnings: Never sleep in them; bad things will happen if you do. I’ve been wearing contacts since the fourth grade, and, I confess, I’ve spent more than a night or two in mine. It usually happens when I’m reading a book in bed at the end of the day—sometimes it’s simply too hard to force myself out from under the covers just to pluck them out. But thanks to a video that recently went viral on TikTok, I won’t be making excuses anymore.The video, which has garnered more than 21,000 views, shows California-based ophthalmologist Katerina Kurteeva, MD, removing not one, not two, but 23 contact lenses (yes, 23!!) from under a person’s eyelid. Dr. Kurteeva had already removed about two lenses from the person’s right eye before she started filming the process.“There’s a whole wad…We may have to count them. I think I’ve already counted more than 10 or 12,” she said in the video, while gently prodding the lenses out from under the eyelid with a cotton swab. “Oh, come on. I can’t believe you,” the person said. Dr. Kurteeva even joked that her patient could be in a Guinness World Records book.After watching the video, there are two questions that may immediately come to mind: Why were the lenses green? And how did the person in the video not realize so many were jammed under their eyelid?Dr. Kurteeva recently spoke with ABC7 Eyewitness News in Los Angeles to clarify what happened. First, the contacts weren’t actually green—they just appeared that way thanks to a stain Dr. Kurteeva put in the eye to help her easily identify the lenses. And as for how this happened, Dr. Kurteeva says this type of situation isn’t actually that strange.When a person wears contacts for a very long time, their cornea can become desensitized to them, she explained. “This is essentially a protective feature because otherwise you’d be really bothered by everyday contact lens wear,” she said. “After all, it is a foreign body in your eye. So when the cornea loses sensitivity, it’s sort of an adjustment, but at the same time you don’t feel when something is wrong as acutely.”Dr. Kurteeva also noted that her patient’s age may have exacerbated things here, explaining that as people get older, the pockets of their upper eyelids become deeper because you naturally lose fat around your eyes over time. “All those contact lenses were able to hide like a stack of pancakes really far deep inside in the least sensitive part of the eye,” she said.The lesson here, of course, is to always take your contacts out at night before you go to sleep. In addition to potential redness and irritation, sleeping in contacts can also up your risk of developing an eye infection, per the Cleveland Clinic. Warning signs to look out for include decreased or blurred vision, redness, excessive watering, and discharge. If you start experiencing these, you should see a doctor ASAP.Luckily, the person in the viral TikTok didn’t have any long-lasting eye damage—but that can easily happen if you don’t handle your lenses appropriately, Dr. Kurteeva said. “It doesn’t always end this well,” she explained. “I’ve been in practice for almost 20 years, and I’ve seen some cases really go south, where people develop vision-threatening infections from even, like, a day of overnight contact lens wearing.”In other words: It doesn’t matter how tired you are at the end of the day—you really need to take those contacts out before you fall asleep, switch out your contacts at the recommended time if you’re using an extended-wear option, and always handle your lenses with clean hands.Related:

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