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UK Gets Nationwide Contact Lens Recycling Program

It’s available to all soft contact lens wearers.

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LONDON — Johnson & Johnson Vision announced that it is launching the Acuvue Contact Lens Recycle Programme, the United Kingdom’s first free nationwide program that “enables consumers to easily recycle their contact lenses and the blister and foil packaging after use.”

The program is available to all soft contact lens wearers, regardless or which contact lens brand they use, according to a press release.

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The program aims to reduce plastic waste in landfills and waterways by providing a simple and practical alternative to the UK’s 3.7 million contact wearers, according to the release. That includes the 20 percent of wearers who reported that they currently dispose of their lenses by flushing them down the toilet or the sink.

“The end result will see the recycled contact lenses, blister and foil packaging turned into new products such as outdoor furniture and plastic lumber,” the release explained.

“Seventy-seven percent of British contact lens wearers said they would recycle their contact lenses if they could and we share their interest in reducing the amount of plastics in the environment,” said Sandra Rasche, area vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Vision Care, Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH. “As a business, we are committed to doing our part to combat climate change, protect our planet’s natural resources and reduce waste, and this new UK recycling programme represents the next step in our company’s sustainability commitment.”

Consumers will have the option of either having their contact lens material collected, or dropping it off through a network of recycling bins at public drop-off locations at optical stores across the UK, including retailer Boots Opticians Ltd. The recycling partnership with Boots Opticians and a number of independent stores aims over time to provide over 1,000 public drop-off recycling locations for contact lens waste across the UK.

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Johnson & Johnson Vision is collaborating with TerraCycle, a leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste, to run the program.

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State Bill to Expand Optometry Scope Fails in Committee

It came up two votes short.

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An Arkansas bill to grant optometrists the right to perform certain surgeries has failed in committee.

The proposal needed 11 votes to clear the 20-member House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

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It came up two votes short.

It would have allowed optometrists to “give injections, remove benign lesions and perform certain types of laser surgeries,” according to the newspaper.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jon Eubanks, said it would let ODs more fully utilize their training and give patients more convenient access to care.

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Eubanks said he’s not yet sure whether he’ll bring the proposal back to the committee.

Some other states, such as Louisiana and Oklahoma, allow optometrists to perform procedures that were previously limited to MDs.

Read more at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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Smoking May Cause Loss of Color Vision, Study Suggests

The findings indicated significant changes in red-green and blue-yellow color vision.

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Smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day can damage your vision, researchers have found.

The study included 71 healthy people who smoked fewer than 15 cigarettes in their lives and 63 who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day, were diagnosed with tobacco addiction and reported no attempts to stop smoking. The participants were between the ages of 25 and 45 and had normal or corrected-to-normal vision as measured by standard visual acuity charts, according to a Rutgers press release.

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The researchers looked at how participants discriminated contrast levels (subtle differences in shading) and colors while seated 59 inches from a 19-inch cathode-ray tube monitor that displayed stimuli while researchers monitored both eyes simultaneously.

The findings indicated significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow color vision, which suggests that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall color vision loss. They also found that the heavy smokers had a reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colors when compared to the non-smokers.

“Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful to health, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking, and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision,” said co-author Steven Silverstein, director of research at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

“Previous studies have pointed to long-term smoking as doubling the risk for age-related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing and inflammation. Our results indicate that excessive use of cigarettes, or chronic exposure to their compounds, affects visual discrimination, supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction.”

The research appears in the journal Psychiatry Research.

Although the research did not give a physiological explanation for the results, Silverstein said that since nicotine and smoking harm the vascular system, the study suggests they also damage blood vessels and neurons in the retina.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 34.3 million adults in the U.S. currently smoke cigarettes and that more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease, many of which affect the cardiovascular system.

Silverstein said the findings also suggest that research into visual processing impairments in other groups of people, such as those with schizophrenia who often smoke heavily, should take into account their smoking rate or independently examine smokers versus non-smokers.

The study was made available online in November 2018 ahead of final publication in print in January 2019

The study was conducted by researchers from the Perception, Neuroscience and Behavior Laboratory in Brazil with Silverstein as a consultant.

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Blue Light Filters Disappoint in New Study

They didn’t reduce the symptoms of digital eyestrain.

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A new study suggests that blue light filters aren’t particularly useful in quelling the symptoms of digital eyestrain.

Researchers compared the effectiveness of blue-blocking filters and equiluminant neutral density filters, Healio reports. They published their study in the journal in Optometry and Vision Science.

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They found no difference in the effectiveness of the two at reducing symptoms of digital eyestrain.

“These results do not support the use of blue-blocking filters for the treatment of digital eyestrain,” study co-author Mark Rosenfield was quoted saying.

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Healio reports that blue-blocking filters “were not shown to reduce any apparent symptoms” of digital eyestrain.

Rosenfield acknowledged that there is “no physiological mechanism at the present time that links blue light with eyestrain.” But he said blue light may interfere with circadian rhythms and disrupt the ability to fall asleep.

Read more at Healio

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