Replacement Toilet Lids and Seats - Why You Should Not Flush Your Contact Lens Down The Toilet Or Sink - This Old Toilet 800-658-4521
What are you going to do with this contact lens? (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
Don't tell me you didn't see this coming. All those contact lens, those little plastic discs, that you flush down the toilet or the sink must go somewhere. Where? Not to the magic contact lens fairy, who cleans up all your messes.
The answer is the environment and then maybe ultimately back into your and everybody's mouthes. Today atthe 256th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston, Charles Rolsky, a PhD student, presented work from an Arizona State University team to help people see what is occurring. Rolsky along with Varun Kelkar, and Rolf Halden from ASU conducted a survey of contact lens wearers in the United States.As Rolsky described in a press release: “We found that 15 to 20 percent of contact-lens wearers are flushing the lenses down the sink or toilet.This is a pretty large number, considering roughly 45 million people in the U.S. alone wear contact lenses, amounting to 1.8–3.36 billion lenses flushed per year, or about 20–23 metric tons of wastewater-borne plastics annually."
And this plastic doesn't just disappear. The team also exposed five polymers commonly used in contact lens to the microrganisms that tend to be present at wastewater treatment plants. They found that these microorgamsims break the polymers down into microplastics. These microplastics then can make their way into the food supply, which then can make it into our meals. So if you want to save this journey, maybe you should just eat your contact lens rather than flush them down the toilet and sink.
All of this shows that you should be careful about what you are sending down into the water supply. Poop may be OK in the toilet (but not the sink. Please don't poop in the sink.) However, that doesn't mean that everything else can go where poop goes. Instead, put your old contacts in the trash, where they can potentially be recycled or at least handled like other plastics.
You also probably don't want to store your old contacts under your eyelid, like one woman inadvertently did for 28 years.ABMJ Case Reportscase report presented details on a woman who saw doctors in Dundee, UK, after she developed left eyelid swelling and drooping. The doctors found a rigid gas permeable contact lens that had been lodged under her eyelid since the New Kids on the Block were hitting the charts with their single "Hanging Tough."