Eye spy: Cruelty-free contact lens solution and greener glasses

January 11, 2013

Danube_GRN-1200x482 (1)If you’ve got 20/20 vision, move along. This blog post ain’t for you. But if you’d be squinting at the screen right now if it weren’t for the skills of your local optician, then welcome! This week’s column question in NOW came from a reader named Steph who wanted some direction on low impact eye care choices. I cover everything from cool recycled frames to disposable contacts, as well as laser eye surgery but one thing I didn’t get into was what goes into contact lens solution itself.  Obviously the drops you put in your eyes have to be mild enough to, well, put in your eyes. And guess how companies figure out whether those drops are eye-friendly? Sadly, by testing on animals. It never even occurred to me to look into the cruelty side of contacts until one reader, Lauren, posted the question on the Ecoholic Facebook page. The bad news is that it seems all the mainstream contact lens companies do indeed test their lenses and solution on animals.

The good news is there are a couple indy brands that offer cruelty-free options. Ecoholic readers in the US should be able to find some in local health stores but I’ve yet to see any in Canadian health shops. Make sure to let your local retailer know that you’d like some cruelty-free options (Clear Conscience is one good brand), but in the meantime, you’ll have to order it online.  And if you want to get a clearer picture of your contact lens solutions’ toxic ranking, jump on EWG’s Skin Deep database. They’ve got a couple (but not all) listed there.