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Contacts and Guilt

No AoSept means I am wasting more plastic every day.

No AoSept means I am wasting more plastic every day.

I have worn contacts since I was 12. Each new pair would come in a little glass vial. I wore them daily and would disinfect them in a heating unit that plugged into the wall. I wore each pair for months — until they were covered with protein deposits. Then I would start the process over. Very little waste. Very little muss.

Over the years, however, contacts and they way we store and disinfect them has changed. Until recently, I wore lenses that I tossed once a month. I used AoSept to disinfect them every night, and made sure I recycled the used bottles and the case the solution went into. Until, that is, the company that made my beloved solution pulled it from the market, replacing it with something completely different. Something, it seems, my sensitive eyes can’t handle. I figured I would try a few other solutions. Maybe they would work. Nope. I had the same problems: itchy, red eyes and contacts that I had to remove from my eyes after only a few hours. Sigh.

I found myself facing one of two possibilities: switch to glasses or daily lenses. My vanity won out. I went with the daily replaceable lenses, which means I no longer need any solutions or disinfection. I am very happy with them from an eye perspective, but from a green perspective I feel sort of guilty. As you can see from the photo above, the lenses come ensconced in a plastic tray covered with a foil wrapper. I open two lenses every day and will generate 730 of those lens packaging thingys each year. I plan on recycling them, but still…

I did try and find other options so I could stick with my monthly lenses. I researched heating disinfection units like the one I started with and even looked into an ultrasonic unit. They just wouldn’t work, I discovered. The ultrasonic device got mixed reviews on Amazon. Besides, my doctor said it didn’t get lenses clean or germ-free. And I couldn’t find a heating unit. Sigh. I’m stuck with my daily lenses.

As someone who avoids plastic whenever I can I feel really bad. This will be a case, I guess, of trying to make other changes to offset my plastic waste. Is it a perfect solution? No, but I have to see (I am fairly sightless without corrective lenses) and I’m not willing to try LASIK.

Do you wear lenses? Have you found a more natural disinfecting solution? I’d like to hear about it.

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