Recycling and Contacts Don’t Mix: 3 Things Contact Lens Wearers Should NOT Recycle
Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. We all know the three r’s and why we should try to conserve water and not waste things that can be re-purposed.
But, when it comes to your contact lenses, recycling can be downright dangerous. Here’s what NOT to recycle when it comes to your contact lenses!
1. Don’t Recycle Contact Solution
When asked, many contact lens wearers have admitted to reusing their contact solution. In other words: they take their contact lenses out of it one morning and put it back in the same solution that evening.
Sure it may feel like you can save a few pennies that way, but let me assure you that the risks of eye infection and other eye issues are serious. Re-using the same solution is like soaking your lenses in a sea of bacteria. When you put that contact lens back in your eye, you are putting all those little germs right in there too.
If you hate contact solutions and the cleaning process, ask your optometrist about switching to daily or weekly disposable contact lenses that don’t require that kind of maintenance.
2. Don’t Recycle Your Contact Case
If you can’t remember the last time you got a new case or cleaning case for your contact lenses, then it’s time for a new one. Or, if you have a contact lens case hanging out in the bottom of that shaving kit or make-up bag that looks like it’s been used, throw it away!
Contact lens cases should only be used for three months, tops.
And, experts say, washing your case with water isn’t a great idea either. Water and contact lenses don’t mix for a variety of reasons. So, if you feel your case needs a cleaning within that three month time period, use your contact solution to clean it, not tap water.
3. Don’t Recycle Old Contact Lenses
Throwing things away is difficult for a pack rat like me. I sometimes keep my old lenses in the case I last cleaned them in even after I open and start wearing a new pair of lenses. I tend to save them “just in case,” then I forget about them.
But, after soaking used lenses in contact solution for months (or longer) those lenses may no longer be suitable for wear. For one thing, if it’s been a long time, you won’t be able to know if the lenses have actually expired. (When you originally purchase lenses the package is stamped with an expiration date.) But for another, the contacts may start to lose their shape and grow bacteria as the solution sits in the enclosed case and loses its effectiveness.