Pollution Solution: How to Keep Those Little Contact Lenses from Becoming a Big Problem

Published by Drew Dickson, MD on April 9, 2024

In the realm of personal care products, contact lenses are a marvel, offering clear vision without the need for glasses. However, the convenience of contacts comes with an environmental cost that’s not immediately visible to the naked eye. When contact lenses are improperly disposed of, they can become a significant pollution problem. Let’s dive into what happens to these lenses and explore sustainable disposal methods, including a permanent solution like LASIK vision correction surgery.

The Journey of Flushed Contact Lenses

Every year, billions of contact lenses are flushed down toilets or washed down sinks in the United States alone. These lenses then journey through wastewater systems to sewage treatment plants. Unfortunately, contact lenses do not break down easily. Made from a type of plastic designed to be durable and moisture-retaining, they can contribute to the growing issue of microplastic pollution in waterways and oceans. The consequences extend to aquatic life, which can ingest these plastics, causing harm to the food chain and ecosystem integrity.

The Trash Problem

Throwing contact lenses in the trash might seem like a better option, but it simply shifts the problem to landfills. Here, lenses pile up, adding to the non-biodegradable waste. As they slowly break down, they release microplastics into the soil, potentially contaminating groundwater and harming terrestrial ecosystems.

Sustainable Disposal Recommendations

To mitigate these environmental impacts, contact lens wearers are encouraged to follow more sustainable disposal practices. Manufacturers and vision care providers often offer recycling programs for contact lenses and their packaging. Participating in these programs ensures that lenses and plastic packaging are recycled properly, reducing landfill waste and preventing them from entering waterways.

Additionally, consider switching to daily disposable lenses to reduce the amount of packaging waste, or opt for glasses as a more sustainable alternative for vision correction.

A Permanent Solution: LASIK Vision Correction Surgery

For those looking to eliminate the need for contact lenses altogether, LASIK vision correction surgery presents a viable, permanent solution. By reshaping the cornea, LASIK can correct vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, potentially freeing individuals from the need for corrective lenses. Not only does this reduce the environmental impact associated with lens disposal, but it also offers the convenience of clear vision without the daily need for contacts or glasses.

While contact lenses offer a convenient solution for vision correction, their disposal poses a significant environmental challenge. By adopting more sustainable practices and considering permanent correction options like LASIK surgery and other vision correction procedures offered at Kugler Vision, contact lens wearers can significantly reduce their environmental footprint. Let’s embrace these solutions to ensure our vision for a clearer future does not blur the health of our planet.

As modern vision correction specialists, we at Kugler Vision are committed to serving Omaha LASIK patients’ needs on the journey to a life free from visual barriers. Take the first step with a thorough eye analysis to determine if you qualify for Modern LASIK. Omaha-area patients who aren’t candidates for LASIK may be candidates for one of our 6 other advanced vision correction treatments. Book online at LASIKOmaha.com.

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