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Sustainable ophthalmology: Eye care with a vision for climate-smart surgery
Ophthalmic practice and surgeries generate a staggering amount of waste on a daily basis, including packaging along with single-use disposable surgical devices, medical supplies and unused topical eye drops and ointments. Ocular surgery also has a significant climate footprint, especially cataract surgery, a surgery performed millions of times annually in the United States and globally.

Perioperative health professionals are concerned about the magnitude of OR waste. A survey of more than 1,300 cataract surgeons and nurses found that 93% believed that OR waste is excessive and should be reduced, 79% preferred reusable over disposable instruments, 90% were concerned about climate change, and 87% wanted medical societies to advocate for reducing the surgical carbon footprint.

Recognizing the significant climate footprint of ocular care and surgery, along with the ways that climate change adversely impacts eye health, ophthalmologists are successfully advocating for climate-smart policies in their institutions, their industry, and beyond.

Come to this session and be inspired by ophthalmologists who are making a difference in the fight against climate change and leading the sustainable surgery movement.

Session participants will:

- Learn about the magnitude of waste generated from ophthalmic practice, including pharmaceutical waste
- Understand the barriers, including institutional and regulatory policies, in reducing ophthalmic medical waste
- Discover how ophthalmologists are advocating for climate-smart policies in their institutions, their industry, and beyond
- Gain inspiration from ophthalmologists who are leading the sustainable surgery movement

Sep 22, 2022 11:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Barbara C. Erny M.D.
Faculty Fellow @Stanford Center for Innovation on Global Health Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine
Dr. Erny is a founding member of the Stanford Task Force for Climate, Health and Equity and is the Director of Education, leading efforts to integrate climate change education into medical school curricula and all levels of physician training. She spent many years on sustainability committees at Sutter Health and currently serves on the Physicians for Social Responsibility Environmental Health Committee, the Steering Committee for the Medical Societies Consortium on Climate and Health, and is a member of the Climate Action Working Group of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Dr. Erny is on the board of Acterra, a non-profit working on local solutions for climate change. She is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Climate Change and Health.
David J. Palmer M.D.
Clinical Associate Professor @Department of Ophthalmology at Northwestern Medicine
Assuming leadership roles in ophthalmology societies at the local, state, and national levels over his career, Dr. Palmer currently serves on the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Ocular Instrument Cleaning and Sterilization (OICS) OR Waste Task Force. He also co-chairs the Task Force’s subcommittee on Surgical Pharmaceutical Waste focusing on topical OR medication waste and the use and acceptance of multi-dose eye drop bottles nationally. Dr. Palmer wrote a resolution on topical OR and ER medication waste, adopted by the Illinois State Medical Society and supported by the Illinois Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, which was introduced into the Illinois legislature and signed into law in July, 2021 as Public Act 102-155.
Neelu Tummala M.D. (Moderator)
ENT surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery @The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Neelu Tummala is an ENT surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She is co-director of the Climate Health Institute at George Washington University and co-founder of Surgeons for a Sustainable Future. She has a special interest in advocacy concerning the health effects of climate change and is an avid writer and speaker on this issue.