Taking a long-haul flight? Going off the beaten track? Worried about your glasses and contact lenses? Read our top tips to avoid eye-wear hassles when travelling.
Avoiding dry eyes on flights
As anyone who has taken a long-haul flight can tell you, your eyes cop it. The combination of forced dry air, staring at movies and poor sleep make for red, uncomfortable eyes.
- Avoid wearing your contact lenses on flights whenever possible. Even if you don’t have glasses, take your contact lenses out when you get on the flight and leave them out until you reach your destination.
- A baseball cap can be your best friend on a plane. The overhead air-jets blow dry air straight down on your head. The peak of a baseball cap can make a significant difference in how dry your eyes get. Keep it on, even when you sleep!
- Use the eye mask! Yes, even that flimsy little eye-mask supplied by the airline can be your friend. Any physical barrier between your eyes and the environment will protect you from dry, red, sore eyes.
- The in-flight movies can wait. Watching an iPad on your lap is better than looking at the in-flight entertainment system in front of you. Downward gaze will expose less of your eyes (or contact lenses) to the drying effect of the air.
Contact lens solutions – which is best?
Travelling with contact lenses can be a real hassle. And cleaning solutions are usually a big part of the problem. The best solution is usually no solution at all.
- Where possible, use daily disposable lenses – even if you don’t normally use them. They completely simplify hygiene by eliminating the need for cases and solutions.
- If you MUST use a solution, we always recommend a peroxide system as the first choice. Oxysept is free from preservatives and gentle on eyes, but unlike other peroxide solutions, the case (pictured) is lined with Gore-Tex to minimise the risk of peroxide leaking into your luggage. Just don’t forget to add the neutralising tablet.
- If you’re not convinced and still anxious about a peroxide spill, the next option is an all-in-one solution such as BioTrue from Bausch and Lomb. Although further down our recommendation list than peroxide, feedback from our patients is that BioTrue causes less allergic reaction than other all-in-one solutions, in our experience.
Pack the essentials – and that includes your glasses
It’s Murphy’s Law, but the minute you don’t have them is exactly when you’ll need them. Even if you wear contact lenses every day, you should always pack a pair of glasses when travelling. These will come into their own on the flight (as previously mentioned), if you run out of contact lenses or if you develop an eye infection or irritation, while away from home.
Help! I’ve forgotten my glasses / contact lenses / prescription (insert eye-wear here)
At the Eye Practice, we see tourists every week who need to order more contact lenses but have forgotten to bring their prescription. They may have run out of disposable contact lenses or lost a non-disposable contact lens. Either way, they’re in a panic.
The good news is that we can almost always accommodate you. We stock a wide range of contact lenses and can usually see you through for the rest of your trip. You may need to have a short eye test to confirm the numbers, but this doesn’t take long and can usually be done on the same day.
We can also email your optometrist back home to request a copy of your prescription – with your permission of course.