During your decluttering process from time to time you come across items that just seem a waste to throw away, but you just don’t know what to do with them. One such item for me is the box of unused and unexpired contacts that are perfectly good to use, they just aren’t the right prescription for me anymore. I am in this situation every year or two when I go for my annual checkup and find my eyesight has changed again. It never fails one eye if not both changes ever so slightly and deems my contacts useless. As expensive as these contacts are it drives me crazy to just throw them out so what do I do? I persuade myself to keep them for “emergency” purposes, yet even in an emergency I won’t be able to see (smile) so I might as well just let them go. Recently, I went on a quest to figure out why places don’t accept donated contact lenses and why they expire. I mean aren’t they just sitting in some solution. Does the material degrade over time or something. I really wanted to know so I looked it up. Here is what I learned.
First, I was pleased to find that there are a few locations that will accept your unused and unexpired contact lenses. I have listed those locations on our resources page. I also found out why soft contact lenses have expiration dates. Technically, soft contact lenses are packaged medical devices that are sealed to prevent contamination of the saline solution that your contacts are sitting in. These seals can degrade and over time can allow the saline solution to become degraded. For this purpose, you will find the expiration dates for contact lenses are usually four or five years out. Now, Gas Permeable lenses are treated differently because they are usually shipped dry from the manufacturer so they don’t have an expiration date on them. So based on this research I understand why some places won’t accept soft lenses, but still not sure why they don’t accept gas permeable lenses. I used to fall in that category, but since I now use soft lenses I will be checking my lenses for expiration dates and making a determination from there.
While you are at it, if you have recently had lasik surgery and find you no longer need your eye solution or other eye care items and they are unopened and unexpired. Consider donating them as well. Make sure to review our Resource Guide to get more detailed information.