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What if you accidentally used expired contact lens solution?

Eye Health

structure image Can You Rehydrate Dried Contacts?


Are you freaking out because you realized you’ve accidentally used expired contact lens solution to soak your new contact lenses? Don’t ignore the expiration date. You can’t use expired contact lens solution to clean your lenses, so it’s not a good idea to try wearing those lenses anyway. If you wear biweekly or monthly contacts, you may be thinking "Do I need to buy other contacts online to replace these?" Not yet. Pour out the expired solution and replace it with fresh solution that is still within its expiration date.

Can contact lens solution expire?

Everything from food to medication has a “use by” date, and that includes both your contact lenses and your contact lens solution. How long do contacts last? Although lenses and solutions have a relatively long shelf life, unlike expired milk, you can’t use the “sniff test” to decide if your contact lens solution is past its prime.

Keep in mind, the expiration date of your solution, or any medication evaluated by the FDA, is not an arbitrary date. The expiration date is determined by detailed tests performed by the FDA to determine how long the product is able to properly maintain its function. So, in the case of your contact lens solution, the expiration date represents the amount of time the contact solution is able to maintain its pH level before losing its potency.

So, if your contact solution is past its expiration date, it means that it is no longer capable of cleaning the bacteria from your contact lenses as effectively. Meaning that the next time you put them on, bacteria and other impurities may have built up on the lens. This can lead to severe bacterial or fungal infections in your eyes and even permanently damage your vision. Still thinking about using that expired solution?

What if you use expired contact lens solution?

We get it, you feel guilty about wasting unused contact solution and want to get the most out of the product that you paid for. But getting an eye infection from using expired solution isn’t doing anyone any favors either. If you’ve been using expired solution to clean your contacts, do not rinse them off with water from the tap. Instead, pour out the old solution and replace it with fresh solution. To make sure that the lenses are adequately cleaned and covered with the new solution, rinse the lenses well with the new solution.

If you’re currently wearing contacts that have been sitting in expired solution, you may be asking yourself, "Can you use new contact solution as eye drops?" We wouldn’t recommend it. The chemical compounds of the solution, while they work well to eliminate organic material from the lens, should not be used to rinse out your eyes. Additionally, peroxide-based solutions would burn your eyes causing permanent damage.

To sum up, using contact lens solution as eye drops may cause damage to your eyes and may actually do them more harm than good.Instead, just make sure to soak your contact lenses in fresh cleaning solution when you’re done wearing them.