Do Contact Lenses Expire? Do Colored Contacts Go Bad?

18.03.2024 | Lydia | TTDeye Care

We've come across some questions about contact lens expiry dates like:

"Do contact lenses go bad?"

"Do colored contacts expire?"

"Do sealed contact lenses expire?"

"Can I wear out-of-date contact lenses?"

"What will happen if I wear expired contact lens?"

Let's tackle the first question: YES! Contact lenses, including colored ones, do expire. It's NOT advisable to wear expired contacts, whether they've been opened or not! Always check the expiration date on the packaging and adhere to the wearing guidelines to ensure the safety of your eyes!

Do Contact Lenses Expire After Opening?

Yes, contact lenses expire after opening. The length of time they last depends on the type of contact lens.

For regular users, daily contacts are good for 8-16 hours and should be thrown away after each use. However, if you're new to wearing contacts, limit wearing them to less than 6 hours a day. Remember, NEVER wear contact lenses overnight!

Monthly contacts are designed to last for 30 days or less. Dispose of them within 30 days from the first-time opening, even if you don't wear them daily.

Although labeled as 1-year contacts, they are typically usable for only 8-10 months. Accumulated protein and deposits can increase the risk of eye irritation and infection. Therefore, it's recommended to replace your lenses between the 8th and 10th month of use.

📌 Related Reading: Daily Contact Lenses vs Monthly vs Yearly: How to Choose?

Do Contacts Expire in Solution?

Yes, contact lens solutions have an expiry date.

Soaking contact lenses in expired solution can damage both your contacts and your eyes.

Expired solutions won't make the lenses safer to use or extend their expiry date. Instead, once lens care solutions expire, they can create an environment conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungi in contact lenses.

Contact lens solutions have an expiry date.

Do Contact Lenses Expire If Not Opened?

Yes, contact lenses can expire even if they remain unopened.

The expiration date applies to the contact solution, packaging, or sealing, rather than the lenses themselves.

Tiny gaps in the packaging can allow air and bacteria to enter, contaminating the lenses. Additionally, the solution can become more acidic or alkaline after the expiration date, potentially damaging the lenses.

Contact lenses typically expire 3-5 years after packaging. You can find the expiration date on the package, listed as year/month. It's important to AVOID wearing contacts after their expiration date as they may become less permeable, making it difficult for oxygen to reach your eyes!

Contact lenses can expire even if they remain unopened.

How Long Are Contacts Good for After Expiration Date?

Contact lenses should NOT be used after their expiration date.

The expiration date indicates when the container should be free of contamination and the lenses are safe to wear.

Even unopened contacts can develop deposits and become unsafe to wear after the expiration date. Bacteria, fungi, and amoebae on expired contacts can cause severe eye infections that may lead to blindness.

Don't wear expired contact lenses

What Will Happen If You Wear Expired Contact Lenses?

Wearing expired contact lenses can cause a number of eye problems, including:

  • Eye redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye strain and fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Partial or total loss of vision

You should seek medical assistance from your eye care professional immediately if you think you have an eye problem or infection of any kind.

What to Do With Expired Contact Lenses?

Throw them away! And get a new pair of natural colored contacts at TTDeye!

The best way to dispose of expired contact lenses is to throw them away in a trash bag. Do not flush contacts or wash them down a drain. Contact lenses are denser than water and can be ingested by aquatic life.

You should also throw away any contact solution that's past the expiration date, as the active ingredients that make it work are all dead.

Final Words

Do contacts expire? Yes, contact lenses expire regardless of whether the package is opened or not, and using lens solution won't extend their duration.

It's crucial to adhere to the expiration date and follow the lens care routine.

Store your lenses in fresh solution after each wear and replace the solution regularly, especially if your lenses are infrequently worn. The exception to this rule is daily disposable contact lenses, which are designed for single-use only!