Earth Day 2019

Thinking green? Start with contact lenses

Excerpted from page 25 of the April/May 2019 edition of AOA Focus.

Earth Day won't strike many as a marquee health observance for contact lens wear and care education, but that doesn't mean there's nothing doctors of optometry can add to the conversation.

A 2018 Arizona State University study found as many as 1 in 5 contact lens wearers dispose of their lenses down the sink or toilet, contributing an estimated 6-10 metric tons of plastic lenses to U.S. wastewater each year. Furthermore, those lenses break down into microplastics at treatment plants, posing a risk to marine organisms and food supply, researchers claimed.

That's why the AOA's Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS) developed a resource to help doctors educate their patients about proper disposal. Here are three tips:

  1. Inform patients about recycling programs available for contact lenses and packaging, including, or consider turning your practice into a recycling drop-off site.

  2. Most contact lens packages are stamped No. 5 for recycling. Notify patients to remove the foil packaging and ensure the plastic is clean prior to recycling.

  3. It's not only about a healthy environment. Remind patients about healthy contact lens wear and care, including washing and drying hands before application or removal of lenses, only using approved solutions and clean cases, and a healthy replacement schedule.

Educate patients about proper disposal

Click here
to access the AOA CLCS Proper Contact Lens Disposal fact sheet and click here to download an infographic for patient education.

To learn more about the CLCS or become a member, click here.

Celebrate Earth Day every day

Learn about more sustainable solutions to adopt in your practice to focus on a green future. Click here.

Read more about doctors of optometry doing their part to make the planet better on page 36 of the April 2016 edition of AOA Focus.

April 22, 2019

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