Optical Express, the UK’s leading private provider of laser eye surgery, has made a £10,000 donation to environmental charity Ocean Generation, which works to change human behaviours that pollute marine environments. The donation comes ahead of World Ocean Day on 8 June, which raises the profile of the issues affecting marine life, and encourages organisations and businesses to help protect and restore the ocean.
The donation follows a campaign by Optical Express that provided free laser eye and lens replacement surgery to optometrists and pre-registration optometrists in the UK and Ireland. All those who received surgery were encouraged to make a donation to Ocean Generation, supporting its educational programmes for young people, which help them make more responsible choices on the use of single-use plastics.
The campaign was designed to encourage patients and professionals to learn more about the environmental benefits of vision correction surgery compared to alternative solutions, such as glasses and contact lenses. Discarded plastic contact lenses and their packaging are a major contributor to microplastic pollution in the ocean, harming marine wildlife and contaminating the food chain.
Ocean Generation was founded by filmmaker Jo Ruxton, who became concerned about the damage caused by ocean plastic when filming her award-winning documentary, A Plastic Ocean.
Optical Express founder and CEO, David Moulsdale, said:
“We’re delighted to make this donation to Jo and Ocean Generation, who are doing so much good work to raise awareness of the issue of single-use plastic, and to help people to change their behaviour. In eye care, the environmental impact of our industry is often overlooked, but Optical Express wants to lead the decarbonisation of the industry and make it fully sustainable. The economic and health benefits of vision correction surgery are already obvious, but patients should also be aware of how their eye care solutions impact the environment.
“As Ocean Generation knows, for both patients and professionals, education will be key to helping people make more sustainable choices.”
Jo Ruxton, Founder, Ocean Generation, and film-maker behind ‘A Plastic Ocean’ documentary, said:
“We’re so grateful to Optical Express for their support over the last few years, and for this donation. As an eye care provider, they stand out because they have realised the danger from people buying lots of glasses, as well as from people flushing contact lenses without even thinking about where they end up. Optical Express have made a huge effort to tackle this. One of the ways they’ve done it is through eye surgery, which is not only an instant way to tackle poor eyesight, but it means the person lucky enough to have the treatment is not going to be a part of the plastic pollution problem.
“Everyone involved in eye care should understand what happens to glasses at the end of their life, and what happens to contact lenses. People should be made very much aware of where those lenses should be disposed of, and the alternatives solutions that are available. There are so many people who don’t realise they’re harming the environment, and that’s one message that could be given out in all eye clinics.”
Optical Express offer recycling facilities in all of their clinics across the UK and Ireland where discarded contact lenses and their packaging can be properly recycled in order to avoid them ending up in landfill or polluting the ocean. They also provide free vision correction consultations where you can find out more about the alternative, more sustainable options available.
For more than 30 years Optical Express have supported hundreds of humanitarian and philanthropic projects, donating over £33 million and counting to worthwhile causes in the UK and abroad.