Skip to main content

Stay up to date on our COVID-19 pandemic protocols Read Our Blog Post…

grand-canyon.jpeg
Home »

contact lenses

Contact Lenses Wear & Care Do’s and Don’ts

Contact Lenses & Eye Care in [tokes name='location']

Contact Lenses & Eye Care

Here’s a shocking statistic: According to the CDC, more than 99% of the people who wear contact lenses in the U.S. engage in at least one risky or unsanitary behavior with their lenses!

Contact lenses are a safe and convenient way to correct your vision — as long as they are worn and cared for properly. Engaging in risky behavior when it comes to your lenses can put you at risk of developing eye infections or cause eye damage.

So, if you wear contact lenses, continue reading to learn the correct contact lens protocol. To ask any questions about your contact lenses or schedule a contact lens consultation, call Eye Care Associates in Flagstaff today.

The Do’s of Contact Lens Wear and Care

  • We can’t stress this enough: Do wash your hands! Before touching your eyes or handling your lenses, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. After rinsing, dry your hands on a paper towel or clean lint-free cloth.
  • Do disinfect your lenses when you remove them from your eyes, using only solutions recommended by your eye doctor.
  • Do remove your contact lenses before sleeping, swimming, and showering. Contact lenses and water do not mix due to the risk of infection.
  • Do clean your contact lens case weekly with warm soapy water and replace it every 3 months.
  • Do carry a pair of glasses with you in case you need to remove your contact lenses.

The Don’ts of Contact Lens Wear and Care

  • Don’t overwear your lenses. Replace them as often as your doctor recommends. So, replace your monthlies every month, your weeklies every week, and discard daily lenses before bedtime.
  • Don’t rub your eyes while wearing contact lenses.
  • Don’t use tap water or saliva (ever!) to rinse or rewet your contact lenses.
  • Don’t allow makeup to get into your eyes when wearing contact lenses.
  • Don’t share your contact lenses with anyone — seriously, don’t.
  • Don’t wear your contact lenses if your eyes feel irritated or appear red. Give them a chance to de-stress before inserting them back into your eyes.
  • Don’t skip your annual eye exam. Your eyes will thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions – Contact Lenses

 

Q: What are the latest trends in contact lenses?

  • A: Many contact lens manufacturers are now producing “daily” disposable contact lenses. These are lenses that are inserted in the morning and thrown away at night. This style of contact lens wear is both convenient and healthy. With these lenses, patients buy fewer solutions and don’t have to keep up with how old their lenses are and when to change them. Daily disposables are also beneficial in causing less allergy and dryness while reducing the risks of infection. Daily lenses are now offered in all types of prescriptions from distance vision to astigmatism and multifocal/bifocal prescriptions.

Q: Is wearing contacts better for sports activity?

  • A: Yes, wearing contacts provide a wider field of view thus preventing avoidable injuries. Prescription sports goggles work well but when you’re actively sweating your goggles will fog up and start to move around a lot. I recommend contacts a lot for my active patients.

Wearing Daily Disposable Contact Lenses| Eye Care Associates




Enjoy the benefits and comfort of a brand new, clean, crisp pair of contact lenses the very next morning. Contact lens-related infections and eye conditions that result from improper cleaning and storage are a thing of the past. Now, you can enjoy the simple pleasures of crisp, clean, comfortable vision at the start of every day.

Are Contact Lenses Safe For Young Children?

Here’s a question we often get at our practice: ‘Is my child too young for contact lenses?’ This is an important question, and the answer may surprise you. 

For children with myopia (nearsightedness), contact lenses can be a convenient method of vision correction. It allows kids to go about their day without having to worry about breaking or misplacing their glasses, and enables them to freely participate in sports and other physical activities. 

Some children and young teens may ask their parents for contact lenses because they feel self-conscious wearing glasses. Contact lenses may even provide children with the confidence boost they need to come out of their shell. Moreover, these days, it is very popular for children to wear single-use one-day disposable soft contacts, since there is no cleaning or maintenance involved. 

Some parents may deny their child’s request for contacts due to concerns about eye health and safety. There’s no reason to worry: contact lenses are just as safe for children as they are for anyone else. 

At Eye Care Associates, we provide children, teens, and patients of all ages with a wide variety of contact lenses. If you’re concerned about the safety of contacts for your child, we’ll be happy to explain and explore ways to ensure maximum safety, optimal eye health and comfort. To learn more or to schedule a pediatric eye exam for contact lenses, contact us today. 

What Are the Risks of Having My Child Wear Contact Lenses?

A study published in the January 2021 issue of The Journal of Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics found that kids aren’t at a higher risk of experiencing contact lens complications. 

The study followed nearly 1000 children aged 8-16 over the course of 1.5-3 years to determine how contact lenses affected their eye health. 

The results indicate that age doesn’t have an effect on contact lens safety. In fact, the researchers found that the risk of developing infections or other adverse reactions was less than 1% per year of wear — which is comparable to contact lens wearers of other ages.

But before you decide that contact lenses are right for your child, you may want to consider whether your child is ready to wear them. During his or her eye doctor’s appointment, the optometrist may ask about your child’s level of maturity, responsibility, and personal hygiene. Since many children are highly motivated to wear contacts, they tend to display real maturity in caring for their lenses. That said, in the initial stages, parents may need to play an active role, as their child gets used to inserting and removing the new contact lenses.  

It’s important to note that just as with any other medical device, contact lenses are not risk-free. Anyone who wears contact lenses has a chance of developing eye infections or other complications with contact lenses. However, when worn and cared for according to your eye doctor’s instructions, contact lenses are low-risk and perfectly safe for children and teenagers.

So, go ahead and bring your child in for a contact lens consultation! We’ll help determine if your child is ready for contacts and answer any questions you or your child may have. To schedule your child’s contact lens fitting or eye exam, contact Eye Care Associates in Flagstaff today.  

The Importance of Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Are you planning on wearing contact lenses for the first time? Do you need a new contact lens prescription? Are your current contacts not as comfortable as you wish they were? Your eye doctor will perform a contact lens eye exam to ensure that your vision with contacts is clear, comfortable, and safe, providing you with the right lenses for you. 

What is a contact lens exam?

If you wear or want to wear contact lenses, you’ll need an eye exam for contact lenses, in addition to your regular comprehensive eye exam. Special tests are performed during a contact lens exam to evaluate your eyes and vision with contacts. 

Are eyeglass prescriptions the same as contact lens prescriptions?

No, a prescription for glasses cannot be used for contact lenses. An eyeglass prescription is for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from your eyes, whereas a contact lens prescription is measured for lenses that sit directly on the surface of your eye.

The prescription for contact lenses also includes the brand, lens diameter and curvature, which are not part of an eyeglass prescription.

Contact lenses fitting: One size does not fit all

One contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your corneal shape, you may experience discomfort or even eye damage. Your eye doctor will take certain measurements to determine the best contact lens design and fit for your eyes. 

Corneal curvature

This measures the curvature of your eye’s clear front surface (cornea) so the eye doctor can select the optimal curve and diameter for your contact lenses. If your eye’s surface is somewhat irregular because of astigmatism or other conditions, you may require a special lens. 

Pupil and iris size

The size of your pupil and iris (the colored part of your eye) is also important in determining the best contact lens design.

Tear film evaluation

This test evaluates the quality of your tears, to determine whether they will be able to keep contact lenses and your cornea sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. If you have dry eye disease, standard contact lenses may not be right for you. 

Trial lenses

Following the eye exam, you will be provided with trial lenses to verify that the chosen contact lenses offer clear and comfortable vision. This will allow the eye doctor to make any fine adjustments to the prescription.

Contact Lens Eye Exam Near You

Wearing the correct contact lenses for your eyes allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of wearing contacts, while keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable. 

If you’re already a contact lens wearer, visit your eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the lenses are still providing you with optimum vision and comfort.

Contact Eye Care Associates in Flagstaff to book your contact lens eye exam today!

New To Contact Lenses? Here Are Our Top 5 Tips!

For an estimated 56 million North Americans, contact lenses are the preferred form of vision correction. So if you’ve just started wearing contact lenses — you’re in good company.

Advice About Contact Lenses from Flagstaff Eye Doctor: Dr. Grimh

Here are 5 tips to quickly help you adjust to wearing and caring for your new lenses so you can enjoy the many benefits they offer.

  1. Learn How to Tell if Your Contact Lens Is Inside Out

This is a common mistake many beginners make when inserting soft contacts. Place the lens on  your index fingertip and look carefully at its shape. The edge of the lens should be pointing upwards, like the rim of a teacup. If the edge is flared outward like a blooming flower, the lens is inside out.

Some contact lenses have tiny laser markings of numbers or letters. If the numbers/letters read correctly when you hold the lens on your fingertip, they are properly oriented and the lens is ready to be inserted.

  1. Never Use a Substitute for Contact Lens Solution

Your eye doctor will recommend the appropriate contact lens solution to suit your eyes and lenses. Some people have sensitivities and not all lens solutions are the same. 

Even if you run out of contact lens solution, don’t be tempted to rinse your lenses with water, and never use saliva to moisten or clean them.

Using substances other than the recommended contact lens solution to rinse or rewet your contacts can introduce harmful microbes to the eye and cause a serious infection. That’s why it’s best to remove your contacts before showering, swimming, or any other time they might get wet.

  1. If Your Contact Lenses Feel Uncomfortable, Take Them Out!

Some newcomers mistakenly think that if their contacts feel uncomfortable or gritty, they simply need to “get used to them.” Contact lenses are supposed to be comfortable, so if you are experiencing discomfort there may be something wrong.

With clean fingers, remove your contacts and rinse them, inside and out, with the solution or rewetting drops as recommended by your eye doctor. Dust or dirt could have gotten stuck between the lens and your eye, causing irritation. Flushing the lenses with contact lens solution will help remove the irritant.

If your eyes still feel irritated, don’t place the contact lenses back in your eyes. Instead, wait until they are no longer red or irritated, and try inserting them again. If the problem persists, contact your eye doctor.

  1. Wear Contact Lens-Friendly Makeup

Wearing makeup around the eyes can be a source of irritation and infection whether you wear contact lenses or not. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to eye makeup and contact lenses:

  • Choose hypoallergenic makeup.
  • If using a cream-based product around your eyes, choose a water-based formula instead of an oil-based one. 
  • Keep your eye closed during application to avoid makeup particles entering your eye. 
  • Don’t apply eyeliner or eyeshadow to the inner rims of your eyelids.
  • Replace eye makeup at least once every 3 months to minimize the growth and spread of bacteria.
  • Never share eye makeup with friends or family.
  • Remove your contact lenses before removing your makeup.
  1. Stick to the Hygiene Guidelines

We can’t emphasize this enough — always thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses.

Try to avoid washing your hands with oily or heavily scented hand soaps, as they tend to cling to the surface of the lens and could irritate the eye. Additionally, if you touch moisturizers or lotions before handling your contact lenses you run the risk of some residual product adhering to the lens and clouding your vision.

After washing your hands, dry them using a lint-free towel. It’s harder to grasp contact lenses with wet hands, and — as mentioned above — lenses shouldn’t come into contact with tap water.

Bonus Tip: Get an Eye Exam

While all this advice can be very helpful, it doesn’t replace an in-person exam with your eye doctor.  Your eye doctor will advise you when to return for your next contact lens consultation. Following this schedule is the best way to ensure you can enjoy the freedom of contact lens wear.

If you are new to contact lenses (or not!) and have any questions or concerns about your eyes or vision, call 928-774-7949. Eye Care Associates will be happy to schedule you for a contact lens exam and fitting.

With the help of Dr. Grimh, you’ll be an expert in contact lens wear and care in no time!

Don’t Do These 11 Things If You Wear Daily Disposable Contacts!

Countless people around the world wear daily disposable contact lenses or dailies. These popular single-use lenses are removed and discarded at the end of each day, and a new, fresh pair is inserted the next morning. Used properly, dailies promote eye health, and they’re comfortable and convenient.

 

Despite the many advantages associated with wearing daily disposables, there are plenty of ways you can damage your eyes and vision — some you may never have considered.  

 

1. Don’t Touch Contacts with Dirty Hands

Before touching your lenses, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.  By touching your contact lenses with dirty hands, you transfer bacteria to your lenses, which can lead to an infection. Preferably dry your hands with a disposable paper towel rather than a cloth towel, and ensure that no remnants of the towel remain on your fingers.

2. Don’t Expose Your Contacts to Water

Any source of water, whether tap, pool, or lake water, can change the shape of your lenses and cause micro-abrasions on your cornea. Plus, the water may contain bacteria that can wreak havoc on your eye health and cause you to experience temporary vision loss or even permanent blindness. 

If you must get in the water with your contacts on, make sure to wear waterproof goggles. If you do get water on your contact lenses, dispose of these lenses and insert a new pair. Exposing contact lenses to chemicals like chlorine binds to the lens and cannot be cleaned off. It then leeches onto the cornea and causes irritation.

The next time you’re tempted to swim or shower with your lenses on, think twice before doing so.

3. Don’t Reuse Your Contacts

Daily disposable contacts are designed to be thrown away after every single use, and people who reuse them risk painful and risky outcomes. Dailies are thinner, more fragile, and don’t hold moisture as well as other contacts. 

Users sometimes attempt to increase the lifespan of these lenses by cleaning them in a disinfecting solution and wearing them for several days or even weeks at a time. This is problematic, as the lens material doesn’t allow for repeated disinfecting. In fact, the process of cleaning the lenses tends to be not only ineffective but also breaks down the lens itself, increasing the risk of the lens falling apart while in the eye. The risk of complications and infection is not worth the few saved bucks.

4. Don’t Insert a Dropped Contact In Your Eye

One of the perks of daily lenses is that they are less expensive (per lens) than other types of contacts. So if you find yourself dropping a lens into the sink or on the floor, don’t bother placing it back in your eye. Doing so can cost you your eye health. 

5. Don’t Ever Put Contacts In Your Mouth

It seems like a funny concept, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t believe the number of people who do this. If you drop a contact lens, avoid rooting around the floor trying to find it, and if you do, definitely don’t put it in your mouth to lubricate it. Your mouth contains bacteria that can infect your eyes once you reinsert your contacts.

Play it safe by carrying around an emergency pair of glasses or an extra pair of daily disposable contacts in your bag, your car, or at work. 

6. Don’t Overwear Your Daily Lenses

Wearing your lenses for long periods of time can damage your eyes, even if they’re daily contacts. The maximum recommended daily use for any contact lens is 14-16 hours, though Dr. Grimh will determine the exact number of hours you should wear your lenses. Your eyes, just like any other part of your body, need to rest. Your corneas receive oxygen from the air, not from blood vessels, and while it’s healthy to wear contacts during the day, wearing them for extended periods can significantly reduce the amount of oxygen your eyes receive, which can lead to complications. If you don’t give your eyes the rest they need, your corneas might get swollen, which can lead to corneal abrasion and even bacterial infection. 

7. Don’t Sleep With Your Lenses

Daily lenses should never be worn overnight. You’re risking your sight by sleeping in a lens that’s not approved for overnight use, as it can lead to ocular irritation, swelling and corneal ulcers. 

8. Don’t Insert Contacts Before Completing Your Morning Routine

Avoid inserting your contacts before you shower or wash your face, since you risk exposing your lenses to tap water and the bacteria that come with it. We also recommend that you insert your lenses after blow-drying and styling your hair, especially if you’re using hairspray or other aerosols, as these products can dry out your contacts. Additionally, the spray can coat the lenses and leave a film that not only irritates the eyes, but can make it difficult to see. If you’re at the hairdresser’s and cannot remove your lenses, shut your eyes when spray is applied.

9. Don’t Get Makeup On Your Contacts

Insert your contacts before applying makeup, because any makeup residue on your hands, such as mascara, can easily transfer to your lenses.

It’s not uncommon for people to get concealer, eyeliner or mascara on their contact lenses. If that happens, immediately remove the lens and clean the makeup with solution (while making sure to dispose of the lens before bed). Otherwise, simply replace with another lens. Avoid wearing waterproof makeup, since it can’t always be removed from your lenses, even when rinsed with solution. 

To prevent makeup from getting on your lenses, don’t apply mascara all the way from the base of your lashes up. Instead, apply it from the midway point. It’s also important not to apply eyeliner on the inner lid of your eye, but rather to the skin above your lashes. 

10. Don’t Wear Contact Lenses If Your Eyes Are Irritated

As the saying goes, “if in doubt – take them out!” If your eyes feel irritated, uncomfortable, or if you notice any pain or redness, don’t power through. If your symptoms last a while, contact Dr. Grimh at Eye Care Associates. You don’t want to let a serious infection go unchecked.

When your eyes feel more rested and are free of discomfort, put in a fresh pair of contacts.  

11. Don’t Rub Your Eyes

If your eyes feel itchy or dry, or if a lens feels out of place, you may be tempted to rub your eyes. But rubbing, whether with contacts or without, can lead to long-term ocular issues. This may cause you to experience blurred vision, and may even damage your cornea. Instead, Dr. Grimh can recommend eye drops to relieve any discomfort. Make sure to apply them only when contact lenses are removed. 

Above, we have delved into things you should never do with daily contact lenses. Fortunately, if you do make a mistake, you can remove the lens and replace it with a fresh one. The few dollars you might save by not opening a new pack aren’t worth the damage a mistake can cause. 

 

If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about contact lenses, contact  Eye Care Associates in Flagstaff today. Dr. Grimh will be happy to explain how to care for your eyes and maintain your vision. 

Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, health professionals are demanding that people limit their personal risk of contracting the virus by thoroughly washing their hands, practicing social distancing, and not touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that the eyes play an important role in spreading COVID-19. 

Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets can easily enter your body through the mucous membranes on the face, such as your nose, mouth, and yes — your eyes. 

But First, What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, causes mild to severe respiratory illness associated with fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically appear within 2 weeks of exposure. Those with acute cases of the virus can develop pneumonia and other life-threatening complications. 

Here’s what you should know: 

Guard Your Eyes Against COVID-19 

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. Although we all engage in this very normal habit, try to fight the urge to touch your eyes. If you absolutely must, first wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Tears carry the virus. Touching tears or a surface where tears have fallen can spread coronavirus. Make sure to wash your hands after touching your eyes and throughout the day as well.
  • Disinfect surfaces. You can catch COVID-19 by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it, such as a door knob, and then touching your eyes. 

Coronavirus and Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, refers to an inflammation of the membrane covering the front of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is characterized by red, watery, and itchy eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing, too.

According to a recent study in China, viral conjunctivitis may be a symptom of COVID-19. The study found conjunctival congestion in 9 of the 1,099 patients (0.8%) who were confirmed to have coronavirus. 

If you suspect you have pink eye, call your eye doctor in Flagstaff right away. Given the current coronavirus crisis, we ask patients to call prior to presenting themselves at the office of Dr. Grimh, as it will allow the staff to assess your condition and adequately prepare for your visit.

Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses?

Many people who wear contact lenses are thinking about switching to eyeglasses for the time being to lower the threat of being infected with coronavirus.

Wearing glasses may provide an extra layer of protection if someone coughs on you; hopefully that infected droplet will hit the lens and not your eye. However, one must still be cautious, as the virus can reach the eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms around your frames. Unlike specialized safety goggles, glasses are not considered a safe way to prevent coronavirus.

Contact Lenses and COVID-19

If you wear contacts, make sure to properly wash your hands prior to removing or inserting them. Consider ordering a 3 to 6 month supply of contact lenses and solution; some opticals provide home delivery of contact lenses and solutions. At this stage there is no recommendation to wear daily lenses over monthlies.

Don’t switch your contact lens brand or solution, unless approved by your optometrist or optician.

Regularly Disinfect Glasses 

Some viruses such as coronavirus, can remain on hard surfaces from several hours to days. This can then be transmitted to the wearer’s fingers and face. People who wear reading glasses for presbyopia should be even more careful, because they usually need to handle their glasses more often throughout the day, and older individuals tend to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. Gently wash the lenses and frames with warm water and soap, and dry your eyeglasses using a microfiber cloth. 

Stock up on Eye Medicine

It’s a good idea to stock up on important medications, including eye meds, in order to get by in case you need to be quarantined or if supplies run short. This may not be possible for everyone due to insurance limitations. If you cannot stock up, make sure to request a refill as soon as you’re due and never wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy. 

It is important that you continue to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications.

Digital Devices and Eyestrain

At times like this, people tend to use digital devices more than usual. Take note of tiredness, sore eyes, blurry vision, double vision or headaches, which are symptoms of computer vision syndrome if they are exacerbated by extensive use of digital devices, and might indicate a need for a new prescription in the near future. This usually isn’t urgent, but if you’re unsure, you can call our eye doctor’s office.

Children and Digital Devices

During this time your children may end up watching TV and using computers, tablets and smartphones more frequently and for more extended periods too. Computer vision syndrome, mentioned above, can affect children as well. We recommend limiting screen time to a maximum of 2 hours per day for children, though it’s understandably difficult to control under the circumstances. 

Try to get your child to take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, and stop all screen time for at least 60 minutes before sleep. 

Children and Outdoor Play

Please follow local guidelines and instructions regarding outdoor activities for your children. If possible, it’s actually good for visual development to spend 1-2 hours a day outside.

 

From all of us at Eye Care Associates in Flagstaff, we wish you good health and please stay safe. 

Visiting Your Optometrist During COVID-19

Is your eye doctor’s appointment coming up? Are you worried about going to the eye clinic during the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Rest assured, keeping our patients and staff are safe is our top priority. 

We anticipate that this outbreak will continue for a while, and do not want our patients to neglect their eye care needs during this critical time. Our optometric clinic is prudent and has adopted specific measures to protect our patients and staff from potential exposure to COVID-19 during this time of uncertainty. 

That said, guidelines for slowing the spread of this epidemic are rapidly changing. Please pay close to attention to local regulatory changes to get the most up-to-date information on whether practices can still remain open/ accept non-emergency cases. 

Here Are the Precautions Our Eye Clinic Is Taking to Limit COVID-19: 

We employ a strict office policy that mandates that all eye doctors, opticians, office staff, and patients not enter if they are feeling unwell or have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, or have been exposed to a known case of COVID-19 or traveled outside of the country within the last 14 days.

The staff may ask you to wait outside rather than in the waiting area in order to protect yourself and others from any circulating germs. Furthermore, we are trying to schedule our appointments in such a way that our waiting room remains as empty as possible.

During your eye exam: 

  • The eye doctor may use a special plastic barrier called a slit-lamp breath shield to block the exchange of breath between patient and doctor. 
  • The optometrist may wear a mask with a plastic shield over the eyes. 
  • The practitioner will wait for your slit-lamp eye exam to be over before speaking with you or answering any questions you may have. 
  • We sanitize all equipment and patient contact surfaces after every use and at the end of the day. 
  • We sanitize all surfaces and equipment (front desk counters, telephones, pens, door handles, waiting room chairs) with antibacterial wipes. 
  • All staff members wash their hands after contact with each patient and throughout the day.
  • Our office is equipped with several sanitizing stations.
  • We request that patients sanitize their hands prior to and after trying on frames. We also make sure to clean frames that have come into contact with patients with soap and hot water.
  • If we don’t shake hands with our patients during this time, please don’t take it personally.

Please call Eye Care Associates at 928-774-7949 with any questions or concerns you may have. If you feel it’s best for you or a member of your family to reschedule your appointment, we encourage you to do so.

To stay abreast of the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the following official health organizations:

  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at www.CDC.gov
  • World Health Organization (WHO) at www.WHO.int 

Thank you and stay safe!  

Eye Care Associates works to reduce local contact lens waste… By KAITLIN OLSON, Sun Staff Reporter

one by one chris

Photo credit, of Chris McQuivey, OD holding disposable blister packs, goes to Jake Bacon of the Arizona Daily Sun.

Even contact lenses can – and should – be recycled, says Dr. Chris McQuivey of Eye Care Associates.

The local practice has partnered with Bausch and Lomb, a Canadian eye health products company, to become an official ONE by ONE recycling center for contact lenses and their packaging in Flagstaff – one of only two local practices to do so.

Whether thrown away or discarded down a sink or toilet, contact lenses are polluting landfills and waterways because they are too small and durable to be processed by typical recycling facilities. The Bausch and Lomb program allows lens wearers to recycle both lenses and their packaging (blister packs) for free through participating eye care providers or by mail.

Any contact lens wearer, not just patients at the practice, can drop off their old lenses and blister packaging to the Eye Care Associates office during regular business hours. The process is simple: separate the blister foil from the plastic and place both pieces in the green ONE by ONE box, along with any old lenses.

one by one contact

Eye Care Associates has partnered with Bausch and Lomb to become an official ONE by ONE recycling center for contact lenses and blister packaging in Flagstaff. Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun

 

All contact lenses, no matter the type or brand, can be recycled through this program. The cardboard boxes in which the contact lenses arrive should be recycled through local recycling services, not the Bausch and Lomb program. Old lens materials can also be mailed directly from home by printing a free shipping label from the ONE by ONE webpage.

Though small, and nearly imperceptible when worn, contact lenses have produced exponentially more waste throughout the years as they became more disposable. Annual lenses were phased out, and daily disposable lenses became a popular replacement, bringing with them 728 more disposable blister packs per year. OOGP, Eye Care Associates’ contact lens distributer, revealed that 58 percent of the practice’s contact lens sales were daily replacements.

“We probably have 10,000 blister packs just sitting right here,” McQuivey said of the practice’s in-office supply of sample disposable lenses, which include daily, biweekly and monthly varieties.

More and more optometrists are encouraging patients to switch to daily disposables because they are safer, cleaner and overall healthier options for the eye than their longer-term counterparts. The amount of generated waste, though, has been a concern for some of McQuivey’s patients.

This recycling program is designed to combat those concerns. Since the program started in late 2016, Bausch and Lomb reports recycling more than four million lens items totaling over 25,000 pounds. There are currently more than 2,000 participating practices throughout the country; locally, Eye Care Associates is joining Flagstaff Eye Care to offer this service.

McQuivey said, because contact lenses are so small, wearers often do not consider the ramifications of throwing away – or worse, flushing – their old lenses, which often end up in landfills or waterways. The lenses are small enough to be eaten by fish and other wildlife, who are later consumed by humans.

 

one by one recycling

Eye Care Associates has partnered with Bausch and Lomb to become an official ONE by ONE recycling center for contact lenses and blister packaging in Flagstaff. Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun

“It’s nonbiodegradable plastic. It can’t be biodegradable because it’s in your eyeball,” McQuivey said. “They’re too small, they go through all of the separators. And the little foil packs are recyclable, but most municipalities won’t recycle them.”

Bausch and Lomb is working with TerraCycle, a company which specializes in recycling the “non-recyclable.” According to its website, “TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste.” This partnership allows the recycling program to be completely free to all consumers and practices.

Once the materials have been collected, TerraCycle will separate the lenses from their blister packs and clean them. The foil is recycled separately, while the lenses and blister packs are melted together to form other products.

“I hope everyone does it,” said Rebecca McQuivey, marketing manager at Eye Care Associates. “It’s a simple way to save on a whole lot of waste that is bad for the environment and for us.”

There is a limit to the number of practices that can participate in the recycling program, based on the quantity of waste that TerraCycle can recycle at one time. Eye Care Associates started earlier this month, after being waitlisted for about month. All interested practices can register online, but are also encouraged to speak with their Bausch and Lomb representative if they would like to participate.

As part of the program, for every shipment of 10 pounds or more from practices and two pounds or more from consumers, Bausch and Lomb will donate $1 per pound of donated materials to Optometry Giving Sight, a nonprofit that provides basic eye care services to people without access to them.

Eye Care Associates is located at 940 N. Switzer Canyon Drive, Suite 101, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001. For more information on contact lens recycling locations, or to print a free shipping label, visit www.BauschRecycles.com.

one by one az daily sun

Eye Care Associates works to reduce local contact lens waste KAITLIN OLSON Sun Staff Reporter

Kaitlin Olson can be reached at the office at kolson@azdailysun.com or by phone at (928) 556-2253.

BOD 6123 ONE by ONE Social Post Earth

Help save the world one contact lens at a time!

Your efforts to recycle contact lenses and packaging via traditional ways typically won’t work—often, the blister packs are too small, get filtered out, and end up as landfill waste. Recycle used contact lenses and blister packaging at our practice—learn more at BauschRecycles.com.

BOD 6123 ONE by ONE Social Post Earth

Eye Care Associates is Flagstaff’s official contact lens recycling center. Help save the world one contact lens at a time!