Here's What Happens When You Wear Expired Contacts

1st Mar 2024

From a technical perspective, the lenses themselves do not reach their expiration date. They are not yoghurt or last night's takeout. Certainly, they may dry a little, but the real problem is contamination. Throughout their manufacturing procedure, lenses are continuously kept clean. By the end, they are positioned in a saline solution as well as enclosed tightly within a blister package.

Contact Lens Packaging: Then and Now

Back in the day, companies used rough glass vials to keep contact lenses. However, it proved to be inefficient and expensive both in space as well as price. Furthermore, glass tends to break when it strikes a hard floor, making the entire thing a safety danger. These days, contact lenses are kept in plastic packages. This helps you to save money as well as space, and the seal is perfect. Although it merely endures approximately four years.

Do contact lenses expire?

While the contact lenses themselves do not expire, it is the solution that expires. Since the lenses come stored in these solutions, this is what causes the lenses to expire because wearing such lenses can lead to eye infections with both long- and short-term effects.

Effectively a contact lens manufacturer first sterilises the lenses and then seals them in an air-tight blister filled with the contact lens solution. They also have to mention the maximum time the lenses can be stored in the solution in a sealed condition. While this is usually between 1 to 4 years, depending on the lens type, using contact lenses past the expiry date is not recommended. This is because:

The solution present undergoes chemical changes, and its pH value also changes so it becomes either more alkaline or acidic, thereby damaging the texture of the lenses

There is a high possibility that the seal weakens after the expiry date, thereby letting in oxygen and microorganisms and contaminating the lenses further.

So what happens if you wear expired contact lenses?

Expired contact lenses can lose their sterilising properties turning into breeding grounds for harmful bacteria or fungi, which can potentially cause eye infections from mild conditions like conjunctivitis (pink eye) to more severe infections like keratitis (corneal infection).

The material used to manufacture your contact lenses also degrades when it expires resulting in a less snug fit and decreased breathability for the eye, even if stored in an unopened blister pack.

Contact Lens Conditions: What happens after several years?

During that point, the problem does not lie within the contact lens but rather the packaging's seal. After approximately four years, it concerns coming loosely, whether from natural degradation or perhaps from the misuse a four years old contact lens has likely taken. As soon as you damage the seal's condition, putting on the lens is not recommended. A pair of human eyes are amongst the most permeable membranes on your body. It is also one of the most prone parts to get an infection. When oxygen enters a damaged seal, bacteria can produce and develop upon the lens. Place that small petri dish in your eye, and all the filth developing on the contact is now upon your eyeball.

Out of date Expired contact lenses could lead to a hole in your eyeball. A bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa can grow on contact lenses. It is rapid-acting, and if you do not find it instantly, it can consume a hole right within your eye, which will make you blind-- permanently. An additional concern with out-of-date contact lenses is fungal infections. Although saline solution maintains lenses moist, it's not bactericidal. This indicates it generally does not hinder fungal development when spores come into contact with the contact lenses. Spores make their way into a small hole in the seal, and they begin to multiply in the dark and moist surroundings. They develop a healthy microscopical nest on the lens.

Always Check Expiration Dates

You should remember that contact lenses are a wonder of technology and science. Contact lenses result from an exact restorative lens that sits on the top of your eye. It is amazing, but it's not riskless. Still, brand-new contact lenses bring a chance for bacterial/fungal infection and keratitis if they are not cleaned correctly. Making use of aged, outdated contacts provides that risk and increases it. Your eyes and vision are not worthy of any of those risks, especially if you are wearing them just to save a dollar or two on contact lenses. The next time you come across outdated contact lenses, simply put your glasses on right away

Instead of a daily or weekly lens, try a monthly contact lens. This is going to help in keeping costs low by providing you with a lens you put on more times. Next, purchase your contacts from an established online retailer instead of directly from your optometrist. You must always be sure to attend your annual eye exams. However, you will frequently see considerable markups in terms of equipment like glasses and contacts. You can get the same lenses at a better price through an authorised contact seller like