A Quality Vision Plan Can Help You Get Safe, Effective, and Affordable Eyewear
When it comes to vision care, safety always comes first. It’s not only important to have your eyes examined on a regular basis, but you should also ensure your eyewear is suitable for wear.
If contacts are your preference, it may be all too tempting to use an outdated pair. You’re just extending their life, right? How harmful can it really be? Although wearing expired contact lenses may not sound all that bad in theory, the reality is that it can have a negative effect on your eye health.
Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of wearing contacts beyond their expiration date and how the right vision plan is necessary to getting the eyewear you need.
How Do I Know If My Contacts Are Expired?
Vision care experts recommend not using expired contacts. Instead, you should dispose of them and move on to a fresh pair. But how can you determine if your contacts have reached the end of their lifespan? To determine if your lenses are no longer wearable, look for a month and year printed on the outside of the box or pack.
For example, let’s say you find the date is 09/23. This means the contacts are good through September 2023. Should you use them any later than that, you put your eyes at risk of infection or other vision problems.
How Expired Contacts Can Lead to Poor Vision Care
Wearing expired contacts can trigger red-flag symptoms like initial burning, stinging, and redness, which can create larger issues if not properly addressed. If you experience any of these signs, vision care professionals advise immediately removing your lenses and using preservative-free artificial tears.
Expired contacts – or repurposing dailies that are intended for single use – also poses other problems that can impair your vision and cause discomfort. Here are a few ways your eye can be affected:
Increased chance of infection: Even if your expired contacts are still sealed in their package, it’s highly likely the solution is no longer good. Solution that’s past its expiration date can harbor bacteria and fungus, putting you at a greater risk of infection.
Bacterial keratitis is a common corneal infection that can result in eye redness, light sensitivity, pain, and blurred vision. Although a smaller infection in the periphery may not cause lasting damage, a central infection can be serious. This can lead to scarring, irregular astigmatism, and poor vision. In extreme cases, a patient may experience permanent vision loss or need a corneal transplant.
Dry eye issues: Over time, contact lenses become less permeable, making it harder for your eyes to get oxygen. Because of this, your eyes can lack moisture, which they need to stay protected.
The drier your eyes are while wearing expired contacts, the greater your chances of developing corneal ulcers, infections, and inflammation. Patients with existing dry eye or other corneal conditions are at an even higher risk. Vision care providers say it’s a good idea to toss your expired contacts, rather than trying to boost their longevity.
Outdated prescription: Your vision plan allows you to get an annual eye exam for a reason. In addition to evaluating your eye health, your optometrist will determine if your prescription needs to be updated.
By using expired contacts, you could be wearing an old prescription, causing your eyes to work harder than necessary and resulting in blurry vision and eye fatigue. Straining to see may also lead to headaches, keeping you from concentrating on the task at hand. This is even more prevalent if you have presbyopia, or long-sightedness, which happens as we get older and our eyes have a more difficult time focusing on items up close.
Make it a priority to take advantage of vision care services and schedule an eye appointment every year to find out if your prescription has changed. Note that prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses aren’t the same, so you can’t get away with just one!
Seek Out Vision Care Services for Up-to-Date Eyewear
Even if your eyesight hasn’t changed, your vision care provider can renew your prescription, so you have a fresh supply of contact lenses that are safe to use. Your doctor will also be able spot any underlying issues you may not have otherwise noticed. In fact, regular screenings have been proven to reveal non-eye-related health problems, like heart disease, diabetes, and more.
For both eyewear and eye care, a quality vision plan is essential. The doctor’s office has long been associated with high out-of-pocket expenses, because traditional individual vision insurance companies have created complex policies not designed for the end user.
Look for a vision insurance plan alternative that’s easy to understand, flexible enough to fit your needs, and affordable. This ensures you’re able to care for your vision, while getting the best value and biggest savings possible.
For more information, reach out to a national leader distributing individual vision insurance and creating vision plans that just make sense.