Chang: We all should care about cataract surgery’s carbon footprint
David F. Chang, MD, was awarded the Philip M. Corboy, MD, Memorial Award and Lecture for Distinguished Service to Ophthalmology at Hawaiian Eye 2023. The U.S. health care sector accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the country and is double that of other wealthy nations, but fortunately, research indicates that ophthalmologists are willing to make meaningful changes, he said. “There has been an alarming increase in [greenhouse gas] emissions just in the past decade. Most of this comes from the operating room, and labor and delivery,” he said. With the expected explosion of the cataract surgery in the next 2 decades, this increase is expected to continue to grow. Chang looked at environmental sustainability lessons that can be gleaned from Aravind Eye Care System. These lessons were the focus of his Ridley Medal Lecture at the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons meeting. Additionally, EyeSustain was created and functions as a partnership with ESCRS, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The mission of EyeSustain is to engage with the ophthalmic community about sustainability to reduce ophthalmology’s carbon footprint. Chang is the chair of the EyeSustain advisory board.