Folks, this is about my "consumption" of plastic over the next year. I'm looking at what I have, what I buy, and why I seem to need this hundred and fifty year old man-made concoction more than my mother's fried chicken.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Week 2: An eye for plastic

Jeepers, creepers--I can't see out my peepers. It's a wonder I don't have more bruises from running into things (which I tend to do regularly). I envy the bats with their fancy-pants echolocation. I'm more like a mole, with my pseudo-eyes serving as a set of photoreceptors. So, I remedy this with plastic contact lenses and my plastic/glass spectacles.

Reportedly, da Vinci is credited with the first concept sketches of contact lenses in the early 1500's--he was interested in how the cornea acts when you stick your head in water. Anyway, long story short--folks experimented with liquid tubes & horse collagen capsules... surely poking a lot of eyes out in the process. Then almost 400 years later, a German glassblower named Muller and a physiologist named Fick made the first glass contact lenses (they were brown, ick). Fick tried them out on rabbits and then on himself and put some dextrose in between the glass & the cornea. Polymethyl methacrylate (Plexigas) comes along on the 1930's and by 1949, the first lenses were developed that you could wear for 16 hours at a time. The FDA approved the first soft lenses in 1971. In 1987, disposable contact lenses became available, and around that same year, I realized that it wasn't normal to keep asking my friend in history class what was written on the blackboard.

It's hard to believe that I have been inserting plastic in my eyes for 21 years. Granted, my plastic lenses don't take up too much room on this earth, but I did some rough caluclations on collective contact lens use and it's a little disturbing.

7 comments:

Sunnye said...

silly Vimeo.
I'm annoyed that the end cuts off--bottom line? They would go around the earth 29 times. And that's just around the equator...it would be more going through the poles...
Also,
23 billion + 23 billion = 46 billion, not 43, so I had that number wrong.

AUROVILLE OR BUST! said...

What happens when you do not know plastic:

http://www.thepedestriancrossing.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/albatross02.jpg

Lili said...

wow it's really amazing what you're doing, and it is almost incredible the math you did, we use way too much plastic everyday. I don't use contacts, but a lot of friends of mine does and I used to think that it wasn't a lot of plastic because i only can see the little thing, but i never thought about all the people all around the world who uses daily or monthly contacts.

i also find this interesting because we know that plastic is a problem for the nature but we're really not doing anything to solve it, so with this blog u can make a huge change:) if u need help or something i'll be glad to help you!

Sunnye said...

thanks Lili! I know--it was really kind of overwhelming to realize how something so tiny can make an impact.It really motivates me to think about those larger plastic items in my life and how I could either cut them out entirely or at least reduce how much of it we demand. If you want a few rays of light--try googling "plastic ban" in Google News...it definitely gives me hope that some of us are doing something to change...

Lili said...

it's horrible, even in baby bottles plastic is dangerous. the goverment should make a law against this or the companies should stop producing this and try with an onther material

earthlygirl said...

Funny how BP-A has been known to leach out of plastics for years, and lately figured to be linked to cancers and other serious health problems...but only recently been made a BIG DEAL in the main stream (watched it on Nightly News, actually this month) media.

Why the slow response? Oh...and to respond to a previous post, Camelback and other brands are now making water bottles AND sippy-cups BP-A FREE! However, they still hang around for more than a lifetime. :-(

lili said...

Hi!(: your blog is very interesting, i havent thought in the contact lenses plastic, i use contact lenses since i was 13 years, so i have been using it for 4 years, but i change my lenses each month, it makes me think that we use lots of plastic in little things, but if you put together all these plastic, you'll see that we use so many plastic.
We should do something to reduce our use of plastic so we can make the earth a better place (:
Gladys :D