If you have the patience, then doing many back-ups is a fool proof way of making sure those special images are saved.
I had an external drive fail a couple of years ago. It would not switch on & I feared the worst as it had the lion's share of my photographs in it. However, whilst the hard drive would not work, the disc inside still had all the data. My local pc shop (where they build computers to order) soon transferred all the pictures etc into a new external hard drive and all was well. Now I have two external drives plus quite a few RAW files and complete record of places & faces I'll probably never see again. I have no idea what the life span of a DVD or CD might be, but the way all things soon become obsolete, then we'll all be backing our images & files to some new "must have" system before our current way of working ceases to function. I doubt if many now use floppy discs for example and after all, they could not now really cope with the huge size of picture files.