Is it safe to use contact lens solution past the expiration date?
Question: I wear soft lens, which are lens you wear at night, also known as eye braces. I want to use my Boston lens solution with daily protein remover and conctact lens disinfectant (all one solution). The date was april 2009. Is it safe to use?
Answer: This depends a lot on your personal hygiene habits, and how you plan to “use” it. I also wear soft lens contacts (quarterlies) and have on several occasions, used expired solution without ill effects. But that was under specific conditions, and I would not recommend this practice to others.
Like many OTC products, the expiration date has a built in margin of safety – but this can be compromised depending on handling practices. The expired products I used were from containers that had been recently, or never opened before. And I never let the tips of the bottles touch anything to avoid contamination.
I don’t even trust 2 week old opened bottles of unexpired multipurpose sol’n to properly disinfect my contacts. Multipurpose sol’ns were created for convenience, but do not clean, disinfect, or condition your contacts as thoroughly as doing these steps separately. I use it most of the time to store & condition my contacts. But at least once a week, I will rub my lenses with a cleaner, use enzyme tablets to remove protein, and soak them in peroxide overnight to kill germs.
This takes more time, but eyes can definitely tell the difference. If it were me, and I knew the bottle was opened recently, I would still use sol’n dated April 2009 as long as I was disinfecting my lenses properly in a separate step. But when in doubt, I throw it out. Or I’ll buy a smaller bottle of fresh sol’n for storage, and used the expired stuff as a rinse. An eye infection is not worth saving a few dollars.