Can I Reuse the Dried Out Contact Lens? Things You Have to Know

09.08.2023 | Leah | TTDeye Care

The answer is definitely a NO❌.

We suggest you dispose of the dried-out lens and use a new one. In cases where you’re dried-out contacts were not protected from bacteria, scratches, or cracking, you would never want to re-wear them.

Risks of Using Dried Contact Lenses

Finding a missing contact lens and seeing that it’s clean doesn’t mean it is, no matter the location. Bacteria, dirt, and other debris can still contaminate your contact lens, making it unsafe for your eyes.

Contacts that are improperly cleaned or unprotected from bacteria can add to a host of eye problems or permanent loss of vision, such as:

  • Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pinkeye
  • Keratitis, which is an infection of the cornea
  • Staph infections
  • Introduction of harmful parasites, such as Acanthamoeba
  • Various types of fungi

Upon finding your contact gets dried, avoid the risk and throw it out. The cost of buying new contacts is insignificant compared to the cost of treating an infection caused by a contaminated contact lens.

If your dried-out contacts were not protected from bacteria, scratches, or cracking, you would never want to re-wear them. Contact lens solutions are made for hydrating, cleaning, and disinfecting lenses. If you rehydrate the lens and use it without proper disinfecting, you could risk infection or damage to your eyes.

Dried-out lenses may be damaged, so don’t try to rehydrate and reuse them. Throw out those shriveled-up lenses and put in a fresh pair of contacts. Gas permeable lenses should not be left in solution, but gas permeable contacts can be safely stored in a dry case for months or longer.

How to keep contacts from drying out?

To keep your contacts from drying out, only use them for the recommended amount of time (overwearing contacts can dry out your eyes along with the lenses). When you aren’t wearing them, store them in a sterilized contact lens case topped up with contact lens solution to keep them hydrated and safe for use until the next time you need them.

Can I use water to clean or keep my contacts?

Many people who wear contact lenses do not know that contact lenses and water are a bad combination—even when showering, swimming, or using a hot tub. Tap water contain various microorganisms and bacteria that can cling to your contacts and cause harm to your eyes. Water can cause soft contact lenses to change shape, swell, and stick to the eye. This is uncomfortable and can scratch the cornea, which makes it easier for germs to enter the eye and cause infection.

Contact lenses should never be rinsed or stored in water. It is also important to wash and dry hands well before handling lenses and to clean contact lens cases with a solution rather than water to avoid contaminating the lenses with germs found in water.

If water touches contact lenses for any reason, take them out as soon as possible. Throw them away, or clean and disinfect them overnight before wearing them again. This may help to reduce the risk of infection, but these recommendations are not based on scientific testing. The safest option is to keep contact lenses away from all water.

Simple precautions to prevent infections and other contacts-related problems:

  • Wash and dry your hands before inserting or removing your lenses.
  • Use fresh contact lens solution every day (avoid “topping off” the solution already in the lens case).
  • Replace the case of your contact at least every three months.
  • Do not sleep in lenses that are not designed to be slept in or wear your contacts longer than their recommended replacement schedule.
  • Avoid storing or exposing your contacts to water (e.g., water from a shower, poor, lake, or the ocean).

Final Words

It might seem like common sense to take good care of your contacts, but we feel it's important to add it to the list. Improper contact care has a direct correlation with dryness.

If you sleep in your contacts, leave makeup on, forget to clean out your case, or replace your solution after every use, your lenses will collect bacteria. Bacteria build-up is a major reason for dry and uncomfortable contact lenses.

Make sure to focus on contact cleaning and maintenance. This will maximize their lifespan and prevent them from drying out.

Check this article for more contact lens care tips 👉How to clean and take care of your contact lenses?