Millions of people around the world wear contact lenses, but did you know that they can shed microplastics when exposed to sunlight for a long time? A pilot study by researchers from the universities of Nanjing and Hohai found that lenses exposed to sunlight over time can shed tiny fragments of plastic, though the health impact is unclear. To determine the number of microplastics in contact lenses, the researchers designed an automated system that took microscopic images of the samples and quantified any microplastics that were present. The researchers estimate that more than 90,000 microplastic particles per year could be shed from some lenses if worn for 10 hours a day. While the human health impact of direct exposure of microplastics to eyes is not currently known, the researchers say their findings indicate that more studies in this area are urgently needed.

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