At Brinton Vision, we are dedicated to changing lives through the priceless gift of sight. As the leading provider of LASIK in St. Louis, we understand that laser vision correction is more than just a medical procedure. It is an investment in your quality of life and in the world around us. In this article, we will discuss the environmental benefits of LASIK and how this simple procedure can make a positive impact on the planet.
What is LASIK?
Before we dive into the environmental factors of LASIK, it’s important to understand what LASIK is and how it works. LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a type of refractive surgery that corrects common vision problems such as near-sightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. During the procedure, a laser is used to reshape the cornea, allowing light to focus properly on the retina and improving vision.
Be more green!
While LASIK is a popular and effective method of vision correction, it is often overlooked for its potential environmental benefits. Traditional vision correction methods, such as glasses and contact lenses, require ongoing production, transportation, and disposal, which can have a negative impact on the environment. LASIK laser eye surgery, on the other hand, is a one-time procedure that can significantly reduce the environmental impact of vision correction.
What are the environmental impacts of glasses and contacts?
Glasses and contact lenses are a staple for many people who require vision correction. However, these methods of vision correction come with significant environmental costs. According to a study by the American Optometric Association, millions of disposable contact lenses are discarded every day in the United States alone. When these lenses end up in landfills, they can take up to 500 years to decompose. This is because contact lenses are made of materials that do not readily break down, such as silicone and hydrogel.
Glasses also have an environmental impact. The production of glasses requires significant resources such as water, energy, and raw materials. Additionally, glasses can break or become outdated, leading to the need for new frames or lenses. There are also things like lens cleaners, packaged in plastic cases, that go with glasses. This ongoing production and disposal of glasses and contacts can contribute to waste and pollution, making LASIK surgery a more environmentally sustainable option.
How are contact lenses causing a negative environmental impact?
Approximately 45 million people in the United States alone wear contacts. It is a relatively safe and effective way for a large number of people to improve their vision. Most people who wear contact lenses today do not know how harmful they are to the environment.
There has been a great deal of research and studies performed that show that contact lenses are harming our waterways. The plastic that a contact lens is made of is composed of hydrogen peroxide and does not break down very well. Essentially they are not biodegradable at all. This means that when they are disposed of, they leave behind undesirable consequences.
Even worse, a lot of contact lenses are disposed of carelessly. About 20% of people who wear contacts flush them down the sink or toilet, which sends these small plastic pieces into our rivers and eventually the ocean. If you do the math means that 9 million pairs of contact lenses are flushed into our waterways on a regular basis, particularly with daily disposable lenses. This can cause a lot of health and environmental issues.
In total 6 to 10 metric tons of these lenses end up in wastewater every year in the U.S. alone. This is making the issue of microplastic pollution significantly worse.
Plastic contact lenses are small and clear, which makes it hard for fish to see them. Even though sewer plants have a lot of filters, they are so small and flexible that they can easily get through them.
Contact lenses are heavier than water, so they tend to sink to the bottom of the water, where bottom-feeding animals eat them because they think they are food. They also make it easy for bacteria and fungi to spread, which makes the situation even worse. Some of these tiny microplastics even get into the food chain.
Since contact lenses are made of plastics that are softer than those used for everyday things like fabrics, they may present another problem: how wastewater treatment affects them. Through study, it was found that long-term exposure to these chemicals weakens the plastic polymers used in many contact lenses. When this happens, the polymers break down physically, which makes the already small contact lenses even smaller. At this rate, it will be hard to get rid of it. When these are dumped into the water and eaten by crabs, fish, and other small marine animals, some of them end up in our stomachs as food. In the end, we are also in danger.
How does LASIK help with resource conservation?
The conservation of resources is an important factor in environmental sustainability. LASIK can help conserve resources in several ways. First, LASIK eliminates the need for new glasses and contacts, on a yearly or monthly basis, reducing the ongoing production and transportation of these items. This can reduce the amount of energy required for manufacturing, transportation, and disposal.
In addition, LASIK can also conserve water. The production of contact lenses, for example, requires significant amounts of water for cleaning and sterilization. LASIK eliminates the need for contact lenses, reducing the overall demand for water.
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How is LASIK a more sustainable option for vision correction?
LASIK is a one-time procedure that can eliminate the need for glasses and contacts, making it a more sustainable option for vision correction. By reducing the ongoing production and disposal of glasses and contacts, LASIK can significantly reduce the environmental impact of vision correction. In addition to reducing waste, LASIK can also help conserve resources such as water, energy, and materials.
People often think that things that are environmentally friendly are too expensive to buy. “Going green” can be hard in many ways, especially when shopping for clothes. But LASIK is a simple way to help save the environment without spending a lot of money.
Is LASIK more cost-effective than contact lenses or glasses?
In addition to its environmental benefits, LASIK can also be more cost-effective than glasses and contacts over the long term. While the initial cost of LASIK is higher than the cost of glasses or contacts, the ongoing expenses of glasses and single-use plastic contacts can add up over time. Glasses and contacts require regular replacement and maintenance, which can be costly. In contrast, LASIK is a one-time expense that can provide long-term vision correction, potentially resulting in cost savings over time.
LASIK not only provides environmental benefits, but it can also improve the quality of life for patients. Patients who undergo LASIK often experience improved vision, reduced dependence on glasses and contacts, and an overall increase in confidence and convenience. LASIK also has a shorter recovery time than traditional vision correction methods, with many patients returning to normal activities the day after the procedure.
At Brinton Vision, we are committed to providing the best LASIK St. Louis has to offer while also making a positive impact on the natural environment. LASIK can provide significant environmental benefits by reducing the ongoing production and disposal of glasses and contacts, conserving resources such as water and energy, and potentially resulting in long-term cost savings for our patients. In addition to its environmental benefits, LASIK can also improve the quality of life for patients by providing improved vision, increased convenience and freedom. After learning about the environmental cost of contact lenses, if you are interested in LASIK or have any questions about the procedure and how it contributes to a lower environmental footprint, please contact Brinton Vision to schedule a LASIK consultation with one of our experienced LASIK surgeons. We have the latest, most advanced laser technology and the experienced staff to go along with it. Call us today to start your journey to better vision!