How safe is it to use the expired contact solution? What do experts say about this? Let’s look at this important question.
What is the Risk of Using Expired Solution for Contact Lenses
Since you utilize your contact lenses without being overseen by a physician, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) manages them as medical gadgets. This ensures that contacts are used safely and effectively (Medscape). One part of this regulation requires companies to include expiration dates on contact solution bottles.
Companies determine expiration dates based upon tests carried out by the FDA. If a contact solution has been checked and authorized as effective for 2 years, the expiration date with be no later than 2 years in the future. Being “efficient” means that the solution will maintain a stable pH (level of acidity) and not “spoil” by becoming acidic or alkaline (fundamental) — similar to how food or white wine spoils (fda.gov). Exposure to the sun or heat can also speed the breakdown of solution.
Chemical Changes in Expired Solution
When contact solution “spoils,” the chemicals that kill bacteria do not work correctly, enabling impurities to construct up on the lenses. This can make using contacts exceptionally uneasy. You might feel guilty for discarding a full bottle of solution, however do NOT be tempted to use solution that is ended so it’s not wasted. Expired solution could be contaminated and result in serious bacterial or fungal infections, vision loss or in extreme cases, even loss of sight. If you’re a person who buys wholesale, make certain you inspect expiration dates before you purchase or open a new solution bottle.
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Expired solution can trigger serious eye inflammation. If you start to experience any concerns with your contacts, keep these tips in mind from Andrea Thau, O.D., an associate medical professor at the SUNY College of Optometry and representative for the American Optometric Association.
- Eyes should “look good,” meaning they’re clear and white, NOT red and inflamed.
- Eyes need to “see good,” implying you can see clearly. Any variation from your normal vision is cause for issue.
- Eyes need to “feel good,” suggesting there’s no discomfort or pain.
Another method to prevent inflammation is to replace your contact lens case every 3-6 months. Keep in mind to never ever complete the solution leftover from the night before when you keep your contacts at night.