EP: Sustainability in Ophthalmology


Recorded at ASCRS, Professor Oliver Findl (Austria) and Prof David Chang (USA) discuss their collective dedication to promoting sustainability in the field of ophthalmology. They delve into the various initiatives, best practices, and offer a visionary outlook, ultimately illuminating the path toward a future where sustainable eye surgery thrives.


Professor Oliver Findl (host)
Professor Oliver Findl chairs the Department of Ophthalmology at the Hanusch Hospital in Vienna, Austria. He has authored over 350 articles in international peer-reviewed journals and is currently the president of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) where his tenure has focused on a mission of sustainability.

Prof David Chang (guest)
Prof David Chang is a clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco. He is past chair of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Cataract Preferred Practice Pattern and the Annual Meeting Program Committee. Prof Chang is also past president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and he chaired of the ASCRS Foundation for 9 years. He currently heads the advisory board of EyeSustain, a global consortium of eye societies focused on making ophthalmic care and surgery more sustainable.

Key Takeaways:

  • The healthcare sector accounts for a significant amount of carbon emissions for most industrialised countries, ranging from 5% in most European countries to almost 10% in the US. This realisation has highlighted the paradox that the very profession entrusted with safeguarding public health is contributing significantly to the largest threat to our well-being. To address this complex issue, groups like EyeSustain have emerged, bringing together surgeons and industry stakeholders to find sustainable solutions.
  • A survey conducted by EyeSustain among US surgeons revealed that 95% of respondents believed there is excessive waste in ophthalmic surgery and expressed concerns about global warming.
  • Ophthalmic manufacturers have a responsibility to lead change. Rayner has taken a significant step towards sustainability at industry congresses by actively working to offset carbon emissions, such as participating in tree planting initiatives, adopting a paperless approach and constructing booths from reusable and sustainable materials.
  • Beyond a single event, Rayner, like other companies, are evaluating their own products and making changes such as moving to electronic Instructions for Use (eIFUs), replacing plastic blister packaging with pouches, and even considering the elimination of product boxes.
  • Surgeons and their surgical centers can act immediately in several ways. Prof Chang and Prof Findl suggest:
    1. Reviewing surgical packs to ensure they contain only necessary items.
    2. Consider moving from full body drapes and gowns for patients to using large eye drapes.
    3. Opt for alcohol-based hand scrubs instead of water-based solutions to conserve water and improve efficiency.
    4. Consider reusing multi-dose bottles that are currently being discarded after a single use.
  • Join the movement today by taking the EyeSustain pledge which includes seven actions you can implement to reduce your environmental footprint. It also makes you a member of the community sharing information, learnings and ultimately working together to make ophthalmic surgery more sustainable.

Connect with Professor Oliver Findl on social:
Professor Oliver Findl | LinkedIn