How sustainable is dry eye disease management? 

Scientists and clinicians from Birmingham have investigated the potential of achieving a net-zero dry eye disease care pathway

A woman wearing a blue face mask and a purple polo shirt holds a seedling in the palms of her hands

Researchers from the University of Birmingham and Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre have examined the sustainability of the dry eye disease care pathway.

Writing in Eye, scientists highlight how seven key areas could be targeted within the care pathway to reduce emissions and pollution – supporting the NHS’ goal of achieving net-zero by 2045.

The authors highlight that dry eye is a chronic disease with an estimated global prevalence of 29.5%, and an environmentally damaging care pathway.

“Moreover, environmental damage is a known aggravator of dry eye disease. Worldwide management of this illness generates copious amounts of non-recyclable waste, utilises inefficient supply chains and involves recurrent follow-up appointments and prescriptions,” the researchers highlighted.

Opportunities identified by the authors to reduce the environmental impact of dry eye care in the UK include: replacing single-dose plastic vials, improving recycling methods, reducing reliance on refrigeration of eye drops, creating longer lasting eye drops and reducing the need for patient travel.

“There are numerous opportunities to improve environmental sustainability of the dry eye disease care pathway that can be explored without jeopardising the safety of patients or the financial position of organisations,” the authors emphasised.