Can You Wear Expired Contacts?

Last updated on June 7th, 2017 at 07:16 pm

You must discard soft contact lenses when they end. Soft contact lenses are medical devices that must be disinfected and packaged in sealed containers before being offered to optometrist and consumers. Considering that they touch the eye, they have the prospective to damage the eye if they are contaminated.

Expired Contact Lenses: Usage and Cautions

Just as packaged foods display an expiration date, so do packaged medical devices, as a customer defense measure.


Can You Wear Expired Contacts?

Contact Lens Expiration Date

Though soft lenses are sealed in an airtight container, it’s possible that over time the seal of the container can become jeopardized, potentially resulting in contamination of the saline option and lens inside.

The expiration date on the lens plan suggests the last month and year that the container ought to be thought about devoid of contamination and the lenses inside safe to use.

It is not uncommon for the expiration date of a soft contact lens to be 4 years from the date the lens was made and packaged.

Usually, contact lens expiration dates are written in a yyyy/mm format. For instance, an expiration date of 2015/12 implies the lens should be considered safe for wear till completion of December 2015.

Soft Contact Lens Packaging

Most soft contacts sold today are packaged separately in small, plastic “flat pack” containers with a sealed foil cover. The containers generally are filled with non-preserved buffered saline (seawater) and a wetting representative to keep the lens fully hydrated.

For cost and weight factors, these plastic containers are much more typical now than the conventional glass vials that when were the predominant packaging approach for soft lenses.

The foil cover of soft contact lens containers generally shows the following info:

  • Contact lens trademark name
  • Lens product name
  • Name of producer
  • Base curve of lens
  • Lens diameter
  • Lens power
  • Lot number
  • Expiration date

Other information likewise may be included, such as the CE mark (compulsory for lenses offered in nations of the European Union and European Economic Area) and the location where the lens was made.

Gas Permeable Contact Lens Packaging

Unlike soft contact lenses, stiff gas permeable contacts normally are delivered dry from the producer to the eye doctor. Likewise, gas permeable (GP) lenses are made-to-order and tailored to the user’s eye shape and prescription with a lathe-cutting procedure.

For these reasons, there is no risk of GP lenses becoming contaminated from being kept in a fluid-filled container for extended periods of time. For that reason, gas permeable contacts generally don’t need an expiration date.

Contact Lens Prescription Expiration Date

The expiration date on your contact lens prescription is the last date that your eye doctor has actually licensed you to buy new contacts with the prescription.

Contact lens prescriptions generally end in one year. This is since you should have a yearly eye exam if you use contact lenses to make sure your eyes are staying healthy and your refractive mistake is unchanged.

Dr. D.Roberts / author of the article
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Comments: 1
  1. Alan Hyde

    I when wore my lenses constantly for almost 2 months (forgot to alter them) and nothing occurred although if they begin irritating your eyes then its most likely best to take them out, i do not know whether different brands of lenses have various lives or somethhing so its not worth risking your vision.

    To be sincere, i have friends who wear their regular monthly lenses for 4-5 months and absolutely nothing occurs … Though i never risk that!

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