How should we dispose of our daily wear contact lenses?
Because of the findings of this study, the investigators want to draw our attention to the question: “Where do our contact lenses go when they are thrown out?”. This is so that both contact lens wearers and the contact lens industry can make sure that we develop ethical conduct on how to correctly dispose of both the contact lenses and their containers. They suggest that we put them with dry, solid waste. A lot more work needs doing on plastic contact lens degradation.
At the moment, we are just becoming aware of the fact that when we throw away our lenses – down the sink or into the toilet – this increases the amount of microplastic in our rivers, lakes and oceans. This debris then enters the aquatic food chain and eventually makes its way back to humans. We will be hearing a lot more about disposable contact lenses in the future, I am sure.
Disposable contact lenses have formed part of our throwaway society for the past two decades. However, we must change our attitude and dispose of them safely to avoid causing harm to marine life and to prevent them from entering the food chain.
I welcome your feedback and ideas on how to dispose of plastic contact lenses. Should there be contact lens collection and recycling? Should there be a levy on contact lens manufacturers to encourage them to collect contact lenses and dispose of them? There are several million contact lens wearers in the UK, and they can all help to solve this problem.
At Clinica London, consultant ophthalmologist and corneal surgeon Mr Sajjad Ahmad looks after patients wearing soft contact lenses and can advise on contact lens ocular surface-related disorders.