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The Environment Impact of Contact Lenses

Happy young woman putting on contacts

Have you ever wondered how many contact lenses get thrown away every year?

45 million Americans wear contacts, many of whom use daily disposable contacts. Contacts are small but, if not properly disposed of, can have a huge impact. A study of 400 contact wearers showed that 20 percent of them flushed or washed their contacts down the sink. This is where those little things can cause some big problems.

It is estimated that billions of contact lenses are flushed a year, weighing at least 22 metric tons.

A study done by the Center for Environmental Health Engineering at Arizona State University showed the journey of contact lenses through wastewater treatment plants. Even after going through all the treatment plants, some fragments of contacts make it through. These fragments can be found in the ocean being swallowed by fish and coral or being spread out in fields. It is estimated that billions of contact lenses are flushed a year, weighing at least 22 metric tons. The environmental impact of these little lenses is bigger than you would expect.

Glasses are always an alternative to wearing contacts. They have a smaller impact on the environment. LASIK is also an option, for those who are eligible. You can get rid of the waste that you accrue and contribute every year. Schedule an appointment to get a free consultation to see if you’re eligible to have LASIK and read more of the New York Times article highlighting this story.

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