Has it ever boggled your mind if your contact lenses have expiration dates do they actually expire? Most might not have thought of it, especially avid contact lens users. Often many are concerned of the usage timeline of their lenses.
If this has peaked your curiosity, this article is definitely the ultimate fact sheet that you must know. So, read on!
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Do Contact Lenses Come with Expiration Dates and Why?
We’ve all come to a point of experience where we ran out of our regular lenses but we urgently need them, maybe for a night out or an event. Always ending up by rummaging through our room to find out if there’s a spare pair hidden away. And when we do find a pair, there’s always this little thought in the back of our head with plenty of questions starting with, can this still be usable or not.
So, do contact lenses come with an expiry date? Generally, the answer is yes and also no. Wait, what?! Okay, let us explain it to you. The piece of soft lens alone typically does not expire. However, the saline that your contact lenses are soaked with in the packaging does. With that being said, due to the expiration of the saline, it leads to unsealed lenses to be unusable after a certain date.
Drawing down to the next question, how and why is it possible that contact lenses comes with an expiry date. During the manufacturing process, the contact lenses are to be sterilised and packed individually together with nothing but the saline solution. They are used to keep each lens sterile, keeping bacteria from forming within the packaging preserving the hygiene of it. However, over a period of time, the saline’s impurity starts to deform. And when it deforms, it becomes acidic or the opposite of it which is more alkaline losing its initial purpose. Hence, leading to the damaging results of the lenses.
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What Happens if You Put On an Expired Pair of Contact Lens?
Thoughts like “the expiry date has only been a month, these contact lenses should be usable” isn’t it? Never look down on particles you can’t see forming on that brand new but expired piece of lens. Just like contaminated filtered water, there’s definitely no way to tell if the saline has been contaminated as it does not indicate it’s expiration just by identifying with your five senses.
Common effects of wearing an expired pair of lenses usually ends up with people walking around with a red pair of eyes and this is just a mild effect of what could happen if you disregard it’s expiration. However, it could be worse than just getting a red eye, it could actually lead to eye infection and worse of all, a lost vision. Find out the list of problems expired contact lenses causes here. You should never take your expired contact lenses lightly, not even for an extra day !
But hey, we all do have days where we rush off overlooking the expiration of it, most times accidentally putting them on. It is best to take your contact lens out immediately. Before doing so, remember to wash your hands clean. Then, observe the comfort of your eyes and if it comes with discomfort, do seek an eye doctor as soon as you can.
Which Number Is It?
Tips on finding out your contact lens expiry date.
There are some who may find themselves confused with the term best before and expiry date just like our edible goods. Many may disregard the expired contact lens and tell themselves, “it’s fine, it should last another week or even a month and then I will dispose of it.” But no, though some brands might or might not have the printed word “Expiry Date” on the box or pack, the lifespan of the contact lenses only lasts up to the date printed on the packaging.
Now that you know contact lenses come with an expiry date, how do you find out when it should be headed for the trash can? Before you read on, quickly grab your pack of contact lens now to know how.
Take a look at the example of the image above. The expiry date on the box is often placed on the last row below the measurements of your eye power and your eye axis. Expiry dates are ALWAYS written with the year followed by the month. You may find them below the measurements of your eye power and axis. However, on the blister or vial pack, the expiry date placement varies. Similar to the box, individual packs have their expiry date written with the year first followed by the month. Now that you know where to find it, it is definitely not difficult to spot. Again, these dates printed on are expiry dates, so be sure to always check on it before unsealing the pack.
In a nutshell, your eyes are as important as the other parts of your body. Make sure to take care of them especially while wearing contact lenses. Hygiene should be a priority for all contact lens wearers. Always check for the expiry dates and wash your hands thoroughly before putting them on. Never risk your vision for anything, not even for an extra day.