How to Tell If Contacts Lenses Are Expired

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If you wear contact lenses on a regular basis, then there is a good chance you have not always disposed of them precisely on their expiration date. Forgetting about the expiration date or squeezing a couple more days of life out of your contact lenses is not uncommon but also not encouraged. Serious health problems can develop if contact lenses are worn too long beyond their expiration. There are several ways you can check to find out if contacts have expired.

Things You'll Need

  • Contact lenses
  • The simplest way to check if your contact lenses have expired is to check the supplier box in which the lenses were packaged. Typically, there are six individual lenses in each box. The outside of the box should have your prescription and expiration date of the lenses printed on it. If the date has passed, do not wear the lenses that were in that box.

  • Determine the kind of contact lenses you use--daily, bi-weekly or monthly lenses. If you have daily lenses, then you should dispose of a new pair at the end of every day.

  • If you have bi-weekly or monthly lenses, you should dispose of a new pair after every two weeks and one month, respectively. If you no longer have the contact lens supplier box with printed expiration date on it, try to determine the date you first began using the contacts.

  • Compare this date to the life of the contact lenses. If the current date surpasses the life of the lenses, do not continue to use these lenses.

  • Another good expiration indicator is dryness when wearing lenses. If you are constantly blinking in an attempt to moisten the contact lenses, then there is a good chance they are no longer of any use. Dispose of them immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • To help track the life of your contact lenses, make a note of when you first began using a particular pair and when they should be disposed of. A simple notepad or calendar reminders, such as in Microsoft Outlook, can be helpful in tracking your schedule.
  • Remember, your contact lenses have two lives. The expiration date on the supplier box and their actual usage. Whichever passes first should be the one adhered to.
  • Please note that continuing to wear expired lenses can cause protein and calcium buildup, and can lead to infections or corneal ulcers.
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