It happens now and again to every contact lens wearer; you forgot to close the cap all the way on your case, the lenses fell out, or you misplaced them. So, how long can contacts last out of the solution? The time contact lenses can stay without being immersed in solution varies based on the conditions in which the lenses have dehydrated and if they encountered environmental germs.
For example, if you leave your lenses enclosed in their case without contact solution for a few minutes, odds are they will not yet have dried out. However, if you leave them out of the solution for a half hour or more in an area that is dry with low humidity, the lenses will have already started to dry out and become rigid and brittle.
The easiest fix to a dried-up contact lens is to throw it out and use a new one, but you may not be able to do that. Fortunately, there are ways to rehydrate a contact lens that’s dried out.
Can you leave your contact lenses without solutions?
Leaving the lenses out of solution for more than 15-20 minutes in a low humidity environment will cause the lenses to dry out.
To keep your lenses in good enough condition for them to be safe to wear, keep a strict care regimen, which includes storing and sanitizing your lenses after you wear them in contact solution.
What happens if you leave your contacts out of the solution? The contact solution keeps the lenses clear of impurities that may cause infection while hydrating them, so they remain soft, flexible, and safe for your eyes. So leaving lenses outside of the solution is an open invitation for an eye infection or for your lenses to dry out, cause discomfort, or even scratch your corneas!
What happens if you leave your contacts out of the solution?
Can I leave my contact lenses without solution? It depends on how long. If you forgot to put contacts in the solution overnight, it’s possible to rehydrate contact lenses that have dried out, but be careful. While a fully hydrated contact lens can remain strong, a dried-out lens is fragile and may crumble when you pick it up. Look for cracks, splits, scratches, or noticeable flaws in a dried-out lens. These indicate that the lens is unsalvageable, as they could expose your eyes to irritation or infections.
To rehydrate your contact lenses, soak them in a contact case filled with fresh solution for at least 24 hours. Ideally, this should revitalize a lens that has been left out and dried up. Carefully reinsert the lens into your eye. If you feel discomfort or irritation, it’s time to get rid of it. A lens may look normal to the naked eye, but that doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you.
Proper contact lens care is key to maintaining eye health and keeping your contacts safe. Here are some steps to take to prolong the life of your lenses:
- Be sure to wash your hands whenever you’re going to handle your contact lenses
- Use the right contact solution for your lenses to clean and disinfect.
- Keep your contact lenses in a closed case in a fresh solution.
There are many advantages to wearing contact lenses, so speak with your optometrist to find the right kind for you and your lifestyle. You may want to consider disposable lenses to reduce the likelihood of dryness, damage, and infection.
At ContactsDirect, we help you find the perfect contact prescribed by your eye doctor. Whether you’re looking for monthly lenses or contacts that work for dry eyes, we have what you need. Visit our website today to learn more!