It’s the smallest plastics that do the most harm to the environment. And, the contact lenses you use contribute to the problem. In fact, a study by Arizona State University researchers estimates that about 1 in 5 people who use contact lenses flush them down the toilet each year, adding an estimated 6 to 10 metric tons of plastic to the country’s wastewater every year.
Understanding the Problem
Now, you may be thinking, “What about the sewage treatment plants?” It is true that their filters would normally be able to catch the plastics in the water, but the problem is some of the contact lenses get broken down into microplastics before they reach the filters. There’s no estimate on these microplastics yet, but with around 269,000 tons of microplastics already floating in the world’s oceans, any shred of microplastic that makes it past the filters is one too many.
You may already be aware that fish and other aquatic creatures may end up eating those microplastics, which may then be passed onto you, especially if you’re fond of seafood. But these microplastics are more dangerous as there’s a high chance they have absorbed pollutants from seawater.
Minimizing Plastic’s Environmental Impact
Considering the said negative effects on your health and the environment, it would be a good idea to make sure you dispose of your contact lenses properly. Instead of flushing them down the toilet or sink, dispose of them in solid waste bins.
And, the next time you go see one of your local eye doctors to get new contact lenses, consider switching to lenses that last a month instead of two weeks. That way, you’ll help reduce the overall amount of plastic waste.
Don’t Have an Optometrist Yet?
Insight Vision Center offers a wide range of eye care services, including orthokeratology services and contact lenses. To set up an appointment with one of our eye specialists, call (714) 988-6179, or fill out this form. We serve homeowners in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, CA.