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Still wearing expired contact lenses? These risks can endanger your eyes

If you wear contact lenses, you must have committed many unforgivable sins. Many of us sleep with them, don’t wash our hands properly before inserting them, or worse, reuse them day after day and the expiration date has passed. You might think you’re saving money by extending the life of your contacts, but that might be more unsanitary than you think.

If you are unsure whether to keep expired lenses, check the month and year printed on the box or packaging. For example, if the package says “06/23,” that means the contact lenses can be used until the end of June 2023. If you use them after a month, you risk eye infection or worse.

If you wear expired contact lenses, you should watch for the following warning signs: initial burning, stinging, and redness. “If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately remove your contact lenses and use preservative-free artificial tears,” says Dr. Yuna Rapoport, ophthalmologist at Manhattan Eye. She talks to CNET about the side effects of using expired contact lenses and why it’s best to throw them away as soon as possible.

Infection poses greater risk

If you have expired contact lenses lying around, you may not realize that even though they are sealed, the solution may no longer be effective. Using expired contact lenses or reusing everyday lenses that are used once and then thrown away poses higher health risks.

Expired solutions in contact lenses can contain bacteria and fungi, which can increase the risk of infections such as bacterial keratitis. This infection affects your cornea and can cause symptoms such as eye redness, sensitivity to light, pain, and blurred vision.

“The cornea gets its nourishment from the oxygen in front of it. So if the infection is small and occurs in the periphery, it may not cause permanent damage,” Rapoport explained. However, she pointed out that if it is a central infection, the situation will be more serious. “This can lead to scarring, irregular astigmatism and poor vision, and if it gets bad enough, the patient could experience permanent vision loss or require a corneal transplant,” she warned.

recipe may be out of date

Keep in mind that contact lenses usually expire after a year. That’s why you have to get a new prescription every year if you want to keep wearing them. However, if your prescription changes and you use expired contact lenses, blurred vision, eye strain, and fatigue may result. Instead, make sure you get an annual eye exam to make sure your vision hasn’t changed and that your contact lenses are wearing correctly. Also, you should know that your prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses are not the same. So don’t think you can get away with just using one of these.

Plus, if you’re wearing old prescription contact lenses, your eyes are likely to be overworked, leading to excessive eye strain. This type of straining can cause headaches that can prevent you from concentrating at work or school. It’s worse if you have presbyopia or farsightedness, a condition that occurs with age and occurs when the eyes lose the ability to change focus to see things that are close up. Whether you choose contact lenses or eyeglasses, make sure you always wear the correct prescription.

more likely to have dry eyes

Along with other risks associated with using expired contact lenses, it can increase the risk of dry eye syndrome. Contact lenses lose their clarity over time. So if you use expired lenses, your eyes will feel less moist from the lack of oxygen. Dry eyes may not seem like a big deal, but your eyes need tears to protect them from infection.

The drier your eyes from wearing expired contact lenses, the greater your risk of corneal infection. Therefore, patients with dry eye or other corneal disorders are at higher risk.

“Using expired contact lenses carries the risk of corneal ulceration, infection, keratitis and inflammation,” warns Rappaport. “I do not recommend extending the life of contact lenses, so they should be disposed of properly,” she added . In conclusion, she recommends that the most hygienic way to use contact lenses is to wash your hands immediately before inserting them and to apply a drop of lube before inserting and removing them.

The information contained herein is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about any medical condition or health goals.

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