Is It Safe To Reuse Disposable Contact Lenses?

Contact lenses are a remarkable invention that can not only show your style but help you ditch your glasses. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that almost 45 million Americans currently wear contact lenses as of 2021, the majority of whom are females. 

Interestingly, the contact lenses you see today were not always the same feather-light, compact designs. According to the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA), back in the 1880s when the first glass contact lenses were introduced by Paris-based opticians, these visual aids were comparatively heavier and covered almost the entire white region of the eyes

Now, thanks to the more advanced and clinically modified versions, contact lenses have become a must-have accessory for everyone. One popular form among those who are new to wearing contact lenses is the disposable contact lens. They are either designed for single-time use — also known as dailies — or should be discarded within 2 weeks (via All About Vision)

Wearing disposable contact lenses requires immense care, and following proper safety protocols can help you avoid compromising your eye health. Experts emphasize that daily disposable contact lenses should be used only once and the wearer should avoid reusing them the next morning.

Should you reuse disposable contact lenses?

According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Optometry, if the daily disposable contact lenses are reused more than once, there's a high risk of contamination. After gathering over 20 cultures of daily disposable contact lens and their solution after overnight storage, researchers found staphylococcus bacteria in both items, known to cause eye infections with severe inflammation and itchy patches (via Healthline).

The study stated that the most common reasons for contamination are the failure to wash hands before applying or removing the disposable contact lenses and reusing the old solution to store the lenses. The researchers concluded that it's vital to follow the necessary cleaning and disposing protocols with such contact lenses to avoid harsh reactions.

While daily disposable lenses are a fashion blessing, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind. Eye specialists at Advanced Eye Clinic advise against washing with tap water — only use the provided cleaning solution to prevent changes in the lens' structure. They also recommend against wearing the daily disposable contact lens for more than a day, as doing so may cause eye abrasions.