The Environmental Impact of Contact Lenses

Are you one of the 45 million people worldwide who wear contact lenses? If so, have you ever stopped to think about the environmental impact of your tiny daily habit? It’s probably not something that crosses your mind as you pop your lenses in each morning, but it’s an important topic to consider.

The Problem

So what’s the issue with contact lenses? Well, they’re made of plastic, and they’re small. Really small. When you multiply that by 45 million people wearing contact lenses every day, you’ve got a recipe for a huge amount of plastic waste. In fact, one study estimated that in the US alone, around 1.8 billion contact lenses end up in the trash every year. That’s a lot of plastic sitting in landfills, where it can take hundreds of years to degrade.

The Solution

But there’s good news! There are a few simple things you can do to reduce your environmental impact as a contact lens wearer.

Firstly, don’t flush them down the toilet or sink. This might seem like an obvious one, but a surprising number of people still do it. Instead, dispose of them in the trash.

Secondly, look into recycling programs for contact lenses. Some optometrists or eye care centers may offer these programs, where you can bring in your used lenses and have them properly recycled.

Lastly, consider switching to contact lenses with less packaging. Some brands come in individual blister packs, which is a lot of unnecessary waste. Other brands offer multi-packaged lenses, which can cut down on packaging waste.


In the grand scheme of things, the environmental impact of contact lenses might seem like a drop in the ocean. But every little bit counts, and by being mindful of our small daily habits, we can all work together to create a more sustainable future. So, next time you pop your lenses in, take a moment to think about the impact of your choice. And then go ahead and rock those contacts with confidence!

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