You’ve undoubtedly asked, “How long can I keep my contacts in solution?” whether you’re new to contact lenses or have been using them for years.
Here’s the answer to that question, as well as a lot more useful information regarding caring for your contacts in lens solution.
Depending on your contacts’ recommended replacement schedule (or wear cycle), you can store them in contact solution in a firmly closed contact lens container for up to 30 days. Keeping your contacts in solution, on the other hand, will not lengthen their wear cycle.
For example, if you open a pair of monthly contacts but only wear them for two weeks (wearing glasses and storing them for the other two), it’s better for your eye health to discard them and start over.
Clean and disinfect your contacts with a new contact solution before inserting them into your eyes. If you experience any odd discomfort, it’s preferable to toss the old contacts and start again with a fresh set.
That is the basic norm; certain eye physicians and contact solution and lens manufacturers may have different recommendations. To find out what your doctor recommends, speak with your doctor and consult the patient instruction booklet that came with your contact lenses and contact solution.
Do contacts deteriorate in solution?
While soft contacts do not “go bad,” contact solution may become a breeding ground for viruses over time. Toss lenses that have been sitting in solution for more than 30 days to reduce your chance of eye infection. The best strategy is to stick to the lens’s recommended replacement schedule, whether it’s monthly, weekly, or daily.
Soft contacts that have been immersed in a solution for an extended period of time may gradually dry out when the fluid evaporates. If your lenses have dried out, don’t try to rehydrate and reuse them. Replace those shrivelled-up lenses with a new pair of contacts.
Although gas permeable lenses should not be stored in solution, gas permeable contacts can be properly maintained in a dry container for months or longer. Before inserting gas permeable lenses into your eyes, clean them with a lens cleanser and rinse them with saline.
Can I wear contacts that have been in solution for an extended period of time?
If your monthly disposable soft contacts have been in solution for fewer than 30 days, clean and disinfect them with fresh solution before inserting them into your eyes.
If they’ve been in solution for several months to a year or more, it’s best to discard them and start anew with a new pair.
How frequently should I replace the contact solution in my contact lens case?
If you keep your contacts in a case, you should replace the disinfecting solution at least once every 30 days.
That’s the very least — and it may need to be more frequent depending on your contact replacement frequency — so consult with your eye doctor to determine what’s best for you. In the meanwhile, to be safe, you should alter the solution every week or two.
How long do unopened contacts last?
Soft contact lens packets have an expiration date stamped on them, and they’re valid for that month and year as long as the packaging is intact.
Soft contact lenses normally have an expiry date of four years from the date of manufacturing. After that period, the package’s seal may fail, possibly exposing the sterile lens to contamination.
So throw away any lenses that have beyond their expiry date.
Is contact lens solution required?
If you wear contact lenses, contact lens solution may be required to rinse, clean, and disinfect your lenses.
You don’t require contact lens solution if you wear daily disposable contacts that must be thrown after each usage.
If you have sensitive eyes, you should acquire an FDA-approved saline solution to rinse the lenses before inserting them into your eyes. It is not necessary to clean or disinfect daily disposable lenses
If you wear other types of soft contact lenses or gas permeable contact lenses, an FDA-approved multi-purpose solution for washing, disinfection, and storage may be required. To eliminate buildup, you may also use an enzymatic cleaning.
Inquire with your eye doctor about the type of contact solution and cleanser you require for your lenses.
How can you preserve contact lenses if there is no solution?
Without the proper contact lens disinfection solution, you cannot properly store contact lenses.
If you don’t have any solution on hand, you’ll have to buy some or throw away your contacts and start over.
The only safe way to keep contact lenses is in a contact case that is completely filled with new contact lens disinfecting solution. Never store contact lenses in water (bottled, distilled, or tap), homemade saline solution, saline nasal spray, eye drops, or any other liquid that is not explicitly designed for cleaning and storing contact lenses.
It should go without saying, but most contact lens patient instruction guides also caution against storing your lenses in saliva (yes, really!). Also, never keep your contacts in anything other than a clean contact lens container, such as a drinking glass or a jar (which needs to be replaced every three months).
Incorrect contact lens storage can result in severe corneal infections and even blindness. It’s worth a short trip to the pharmacy to save your eyes!
Should you replace your contact solution on a daily basis?
It is critical to use fresh contact solution while disinfecting and storing your contact lenses. Never reuse or “top off” contact solutions from your contact case.
If you keep your contacts for a lengthy amount of time, be sure to clean and disinfect them with a new contact solution before inserting them into your eyes.
Leaving contacts in solution for an extended period of time is dangerous, so use the same approach to your contacts as you would for food safety: if in doubt, throw it away. Then, grab a new set of contacts to keep your eyes secure and your vision sharp.
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