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Do Contact Lenses Expire?

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A woman putting on a contact lens on her right eye.

When it comes to contact lenses, it’s important to know when they need to be replaced. Wearing expired contact lenses can cause serious eye infections and other health risks. That’s why it’s important to understand how to properly care for your contacts and when to get new contact lenses. 

Contact lenses do expire, and the expiration date of contact lenses is typically printed on the packaging. It’s important to note that the expiration date is not the same as the date of manufacture. The expiration date is the date after which the contact lenses should no longer be used. It’s crucial to stick to the expiration date on the packaging because contact lenses can get contaminated with bacteria and other microorganisms as time goes by.

It’s also important to note that contact lenses may need to be replaced more frequently than the expiration date suggests. Depending on the type of contact lenses you use, you may need to replace them every 2 weeks or every month. During an eye exam, we can help you determine the right replacement schedule for your contact lenses. 

Understanding the expiration date of your contact lenses and replacing them when necessary can help protect your eyes from infection and other health risks.

What Is the Shelf Life of Contact Lenses?

When it comes to contact lenses, it’s important to know how long they last. After all, you don’t want to be stuck with lenses that are past their expiration date. The shelf life of contact lenses varies depending on the type of lens and the manufacturer. 

Generally speaking, soft contact lenses have a shelf life of 1–4 years, depending on the brand and whether they’ve been opened, while rigid gas-permeable lenses can last 2–3 years, depending on how they’re cared for. 

Before opening any new lenses, it’s important to check the expiration date on the packaging to make sure you’re using lenses that are still safe to wear. It’s also important to note that depending on the type of lens and your particular eye health, you may need to use new contacts every month or even every day. 

Contact lenses can accumulate bacteria and other debris over time, which can lead to eye infections and other complications. To help your eyes stay healthy, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and replace your lenses as often as recommended by your eye doctor.

Why Are Contact Lens Expiration Dates Important?

It can be easy to overlook the fact that contact lenses have a limited shelf life and need to be replaced regularly. The expiration date is clearly marked on the packaging, and it’s crucial to stick to it. Wearing expired contact lenses can lead to serious eye infections and other health issues.

Also, let’s not forget about following the instructions for cleaning, storing, and wearing contact lenses. Proper cleaning and storage practices for contact lenses can help extend the life of the lenses and reduce your risk of eye infections. And, of course, it’s equally important to follow the recommended wearing time and frequency.

Understanding the expiration date on contact lenses and following the instructions for cleaning and wearing them helps ensure your eyes stay healthy and comfortable.

Signs Your Contact Lenses Are Expired

An intense close-up of the upper half of a woman's face. Both of her eyes have redness.

Here are some signs your contact lenses may be expired: 

  • Your vision becomes blurred or hazy
  • You experience pain, burning, or redness in your eyes 
  • You develop a discharge from your eye 
  • Your contact lenses feel uncomfortable to wear and they irritate your eyes  
  • Your contact lenses start to tear or break more easily 

You should schedule an eye exam and replace your contacts if you experience any of these symptoms. Some of these symptoms may be signs of other eye conditions, and getting a clear diagnosis is vital for getting relief. 

Regular eye exams are also important for maintaining a proper contact lens fit and confirming that your eyes remain healthy while you wear contacts.

Get Professional Advice on Contact Lens Expiration

At Orillia Optometry, our experienced optometrists can help you determine when your contact lenses should be replaced. We’ll provide you with the support you need to help ensure your contact lenses are safe and effective. We can also help you find the right contact lenses for your lifestyle and individual eye health. 

We understand that contact lenses are an important part of your life. That’s why we strive to provide you with advice and care that meets all your needs. Book an appointment today to speak with us about your unique contact lens needs.

Dr Moore

Written by Shawn Moore

Dr. Moore began his career in Barrie, moved to Orillia, and purchased what is now Orillia Optometry in 2001. Dr. Moore thoroughly enjoys primary care optometry, but his areas of interest are vision therapy, concussion management, contact lenses / multifocal contact lenses, and dry eye.

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