New research published in Eye journal has highlighted ways to reduce emissions and pollution in the management of dry eye disease for improved environmental sustainability.
‘To achieve net-zero in the NHS dry eye disease care pathway, all parties involved must contribute. It is essential to act now, minimise the environmental damage and protect the wellbeing of current and future generations, the report stated.
Measures suggested in the report, Achieving net-zero in the dry eye disease care pathway, included replacing single dose plastic vials with multidose preservative-free eye drops and introducing biodegradable plastics for single dose dispensers.
It highlighted the success of several UK and US initiatives enabling citizens to recycle primary contact lens and eye drop packaging, and suggested introducing more cardboard packaging with eco-friendly coatings, which is easier to recycle.
Alternative methods to chilling for preventing microbial contamination of eye drops included photochemical pathogen inactivation, lyophilization and freeze drying.
The project commended alternative eco-friendly therapies to treat meibomian gland dysfunction, such as thermal or intense light pulsation and meibomian gland probing, and longer-lasting eye drops for reducing waste.
It also highlighted the importance of NHS England targets for achieving care closer to home, including optimising the community optometry workforce, to safely reduce the number of inappropriate hospital referrals.
The full report is available here.