Consider This Before Flushing Those Contact Lenses

BREAKING NEWS: Researchers have found that flushing disposable contacts down the toilet or washing them down the drain may contribute to the growing problem of microplastic pollution.

More than 45 million Americans wear contacts, many of which are made to be disposable. Yet these convenient, daily-use contacts need to be disposed of properly and all too often are not. In fact, according to one recent study, 20 percent of more than 400 randomly surveyed contact wearers reported that they flushed their used contacts down the toilet or washed them down the sink, rather than putting them in the garbage. Those numbers really add up over time. Believe it or not, it is estimated that billions of contact lenses - weighing at least 22 metric tons - may be flushed in the U.S. every year.

“Contact lens manufacturers typically don’t tell users how to dispose of them,” said Sandy T. Feldman MD, Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center San Diego. “Maybe it’s time to add labels recommending that contacts be put in the garbage, not in our water systems.”

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Tiny bits of plastic from any number of sources have been spotted in oceans and other bodies of water, where they are frequently ingested by fish, coral and other organisms. These plastic fragments can carry high loads of pollutants absorbed from their surroundings, so any living creatures that eat them get a toxic dose of these substances as well - as do the humans or other animals that consume them.

“Contact lenses are medical devices that are not designed to be easily biodegradable. Even if disposed of properly, contacts are a waste product that will inevitably endure in our environment for a long, long time,” said Dr. Feldman. “Perhaps that’s yet another good reason to consider LASIK to correct your vision. It’s better for the planet!”

WHO CAN TELL YOU MORE: Sandy Feldman MD, Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center in San Diego.

CONTACT ME: I can arrange an interview with Dr. Feldman to discuss sleep and the eyes or any other eye-related topic. Contact Diana Soltesz at [email protected] or 818-618-5634.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Sandy T. Feldman, MD is the Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center - voted best LASIK center in San Diego by the San Diego Union Tribune (2016 and 2017) and CityBeat Magazine two years in a row. Her numerous awards include “Top Doc San Diego” and the Goldline Award, an honor granted to only 10 laser eye care providers in the U.S. each year. She has also been profiled in Forbes, Newsweek, and other respected publications. Dr. Feldman is a fellow of the prestigious American College of Ophthalmic Surgeons, as well as a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. She has successfully performed more than 20,000 refractive procedures. For more information, visit clearvieweyes.com.

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