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Innovative approaches may reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact of surgery

Innovative approaches may reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact of surgery
Ocular Surgery News Europe Edition, July 2016
Richard B. Packard, MD, FRCS, FRCOphth

In the cover story on the high carbon footprint of cataract surgery as performed in the developed world, we are made aware of a growing problem for the planet. It appears to be a combination of waste from packaging of things such as IOLs and disposable gowns and single use of pharmaceuticals but also transport to and from the hospital for patients and staff and the items used in cataract surgery. A number of studies are cited to demonstrate how the carbon footprint figures are arrived at and how in some institutions, such as the Aravind group of hospitals in India, this might be significantly reduced.

There are many issues raised about the use of reusable instruments at a time when in many hospitals single-use instruments are becoming the norm. There have been economic studies done comparing reusable and single-use instruments for cataract surgery, which have come down in favor of the latter, but no account will have been taken of the carbon footprint.

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