Overview of Operating Room Waste

Waste from operating rooms and labor and delivery units is responsible for 70% of waste from the healthcare sector.

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Waste from Operating Rooms

Ophthalmology has the highest procedural volumes of any specialty, with 29 million cataract surgeries performed in 2019, and an expected 50 million to be performed yearly by 2050. Unnecessary OR waste comes from well-intended regulations to decrease infections and liability, but are not necessarily based on evidence. Aside from the environmental impact OR waste may have, it also has significant economic implications.

Trash Generated by One Day of Cataract Surgery

This powerful video, made by Oliver Findl, MD, beautifully displays the impact made by just a single day of cataract surgery in one ophthalmology department in Vienna, Austria. Each cataract surgery generates two or more large trash bags. If you are someone who does 10 cases a day, your one OR day has generated waste equivalent to that of 2-4 months of a household's trash, much of which must be disposed of in a special way given its regulated healthcare waste status.


Surgical Waste with Cataract Surgery

In this keynote lecture to the Dutch Ophthalmology Society, Dr. David F. Chang discusses why surgical waste is increasing despite the consensus that what we discard is excessive and is often of unproven benefit.

Sustainability in Ophthalmology

In this presentation, Dr. Cassandra L. Thiel discusses the importance of sustainability and presents research on the environmental impact of eye care services.