Each box of contact lenses you buy has an expiration date based on the manufacture date. The quality of food deteriorates over time. The same is true of contact lenses. Although daily and monthly contact lenses don’t spoil as quickly, they can go bad under certain circumstances. Keeping track of the expiration date of your contact lenses and adhering to the information below is key to avoiding any eye infections or other symptoms from expired contacts.
When do contacts expire?
Let's explore further to find out why do contacts expire? The USA FDA considers contact lenses to be a medical device. In addition, the packaging and solution that they are stored in have an expiration date by which they may not meet regulation quality standards.
The expiration date of the lenses depends on the manufacture date, and these dates tend to be far in advance, typically around five or six years away. Even though five or six years may seem like a long time, life can get busy, and it's easy to lose track of your contacts' expiration date. While this may seem like an oversight, the effects of wearing expired contact lenses can be potentially damaging.
Where do you find contacts expiration date?
The expiration date numbers can be found on the package itself and are listed as year/month.
“The contact lens expiration date doesn’t apply to the contacts themselves,” explains Dr. Wende, Medical Director of ContactsDirect.“That date applies solely to the contact solution, as well as the packaging or sealing.” While you may have always thought contact lenses last if they are unopened, know that the expiration date still matters.
Can you wear expired contacts?
When lenses reach their expiration date, the packaging or sealing of the container may no longer be airtight. Once contacts are exposed to air, it creates an environment susceptible to all kinds of bacteria and fungi, thus, putting you at risk of an eye infection.
However, the possibility of infection from bacteria or fungus is not the only risk of using expired contact lenses. If air gets into the container for a prolonged amount of time, it could throw off the pH of the solution. This exposure can cause the solution to become increasingly acidic or basic. Wearing these contacts can increase the risk of irritation and possible infections.
What to do if you accidentally wore expired contact lenses
If you decide to wear expired contacts or accidentally wear them, keep an eye out for expired contact lens symptoms. The symptoms could include blurry vision, increased dryness, allergic reaction, or general irritation. If any of these symptoms occur, contact your eye doctor or health care provider.
Dr. Wende also warns against using expired contact solutions. “Some people may feel bad about disposing of a barely-used but expired container of contact lens solution,” says Dr. Wende. “However, there are countless health problems that could result from using an expired solution, including eye infections and, in rare cases, blindness.” It’s best to avoid all expired products to protect your eyes from infection. Get your new contacts today from ContactsDirect.