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A simple swap saves carbon in eye surgery

Trust: Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
Trust Location: East Surrey Hospital, Redhill
Name: Luke Herbert and Guy Negretti, Consultant Ophthalmologists

Evolving care

Evolving care

What's the issue?

The delivery of care, in particular the use of pharmaceuticals, can have a high carbon footprint.

Retinal surgery uses SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride) and other fluorinated gasses in the eye. SF6 has a greenhouse gas effect of approximately 23000 times the effect of CO2 and can last in our atmosphere for thousands of years. Luke and Guy wanted to replace SF6 where possible, and to reduce gas leakage of its alternatives, without reducing the level of care for patients.

Laser eye surgery

The idea

Luke Herbert and Guy Negretti, Consultant Ophthalmologists at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SaSH) decided that they would like to do something to help reduce the carbon impact of retinal surgery.

The team stopped using SF6 except in most unusual cases for this reason, and instead use C2F6 and C3F8 that have lower equivalent carbon emissions.

In addition Luke and Guy decided to reduce the use of 30ml containers of 100% gas that waste to the air approximately 29ml of 100% gas, and instead moved to using in most cases pre-diluted gasses that waste around 4ml equivalent.


As well as lower equivalent carbon emissions, C2F6 and C3F8 have a shorter lifespan in our atmosphere, therefore helping to tackle the problems of climate change. The change does not reduce the level of care for the patient.

By moving to pre-diluted gasses, less gas is going into the atmosphere in simply trying to use it, which also helps to reduce the carbon impact of treatment.

Eye close up

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