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When Do Eye Drops Expire And Are They Safe To Use?

Unfortunately, eye drops do expire. It is important to pay attention to the expiration date printed on the packaging of your eye drops. Using eye drops beyond their expiration date can lead to reduced potency or potential risks. The chemical composition of the eye drops may change, making them less effective or causing adverse effects. 

Once you open a bottle of eye drops, read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper usage and storage. Most eye drops come with instructions on how long they can be used after opening. This duration can vary depending on the specific product. After opening, eye drops can be exposed to bacteria, which may contaminate the solution and increase the risk of infection. 

To help you with these questions and more, Splash Tears created this quick guide. We want to ensure that your eye drops are used safely and effectively to support your eye health. Keep reading to learn more about how to preserve your eye drops so you can get the best out of them.

What happens if you use expired eye drops?

Eye drops expiration date varies from brand to brand. If used and stored correctly eye drops should be effective until the expiration date in their package. Unopened eye drops can last up to two years from their manufacturing date.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology eye drops should be ok to use until their expiration date. The only eye drops that have a short shelf life are preservative free eye drops. Preservative free eye drops can be bought in single use doses to avoid contamination issues. 

After the expiration date fungi and bacteria can begin to grow in the drops especially if it’s been open for some time. To preserve your eye drops shelf life, store them in a cold, dark place away from sunlight. The use of expired eye drops can cause inflammation, irritation, and even infections. So check your medication before using it and protect your eyes from unnecessary diseases.

Why do they expire?

The expiration date on eye drops indicates the last date of the product’s safety and effectiveness guaranteed by the manufacturer. The reason eye drops expire is because their preservatives do. At this point, their chemical composition may change, leading to a decrease in potency or even the growth of bacteria in the product.

To ensure your safety, always check the expiration date before using eye drops. If the eye drops are expired, dispose of them and get new ones. If you have specific concerns or require medical advice regarding eye health, consult with your eye doctor.

How to check your eye drops

For Splash Tears eye drops, you’ll want to take a look at the box. Our eye drops have the expiration date printed on the bottom of the box. Simply look for a year and a month. This means the eye drops expire on the month of said year. If you have any questions about our eye drops or sister eye drops, send us a message and we’ll help you out. In the image below you can see on the second row it reads 06 2024, that means these specific boxes expire in June of 2024. You don’t need to worry about the numbers above and below, those are lot numbers for the manufacturer.

Other eye drops will have a printed date on their box, or bottle itself as well. Always look around and ensure you are using unexpired eye drops so your eyes can stay healthy and free of bacteria.


That’s all we have today on eye drops. We hope this information and tips help you understand eye drops better. If you have any questions about dry eye syndrome or eye fatigue, send us a message on our social media channels. You can find Splash Tears on Facebook and Instagram. For more eye care content, check the rest of our blogs. Grab your bottle of Splash Tears today on Amazon and say bye to dry eye.

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