Itching, burning, and red eyes are uncomfortable and painful but avoidable if you use your contact lens solution properly. One of the biggest complications for contact lens wearers is eye infection caused by bacteria or fungus. You can help avoid eye infections by cleaning and storing your lenses with fresh solution every day.
All contact lens solution manufacturers are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put an expiration date on contact lens disinfecting, cleaning and storage solution and rewetting drops. The FDA also recommends manufacturers use a discard date so you know how long you can use the solution after opening it. Never use solution past the expiration date.
What Happens if You Use Old Solution
Contact lens disinfecting and rinsing solution is meant to be used once and then discarded. According to Dr.Bernard Lepri, O.D., M.S., M.Ed., of the the FDA, the solution loses effectiveness for disinfection after the initial use and will not disinfect or keep bacteria or other contaminants from growing.
Bacteria, fungus and other contaminants growing in old solution cause eye infections. Symptoms of eye infections include redness, swelling, itching, discharge, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light.
Considerations and Warning
Most eye infections are easily treated but some infections cause contact lens wearers to not be able to wear their lenses for extended periods of time or in some cases, ever. In severe cases, eye infections caused by poor hygiene and improper use of contact lens solution can lead to corneal transplant or blindness Check with your eye care practitioner if you have any questions about your contact lens solution.