Eye emergencies can be really scary, especially if something unexpected happens when you're traveling away from home. Certain eye emergencies can make it really hard to do basic tasks, but this is compounded when you're in an unfamiliar environment. We can't stress the importance of proper preparation enough. Not to mention, we want you to enjoy your planned trip to the fullest. Here are a few eye care tips to keep you and your eyeballs safe and comfortable while traveling:
Tip #1 - Bring Backups (contact lenses and glasses)
This one is essential! If you wear glasses or contact lenses, please bring a backup of BOTH. For regular contact lens wearers, be sure to pack plenty of extra, as well as a backup pair of glasses in the event something goes wrong. We have seen issues where patients find themselves in environments where their contact lenses become uncomfortable (i.e. saltwater, hot springs with silica, super dry climates). This is when you can pull those bad boys out and give your eyes a chance to rest. For regular eyeglass wearers, be sure to pack your backups. No one wants to be stuck in an unfamiliar city when they suddenly realize their glasses are still on the last tourist attraction they just got off of. Be safe, overpack extras.
Tip #2 - Bring Backups in your carry-on!!!
To piggyback on tip one, we want to remind you to keep some of those extras on your carry on. Although no one wants it to happen to them, airlines often misplace luggage. We have had cases where patients only have the contact lenses they're wearing and all of their extras in their checked bag. This creates a serious issue if the airline cannot get you your items back in the appropriate amount of time!
The same goes for contact lens solution. Be sure to pack some on your carry on. The sample solution your doctor hands out is TSA approved.
Tip #3 - Dry Eye does not care that you're on vacation!
There is a multitude of things that cause dry eye, and maybe it is something you're dealing with already, but there are many things that increase these issues while traveling. Many people's eyes dry out on airplanes (the cabin air is insanely dry!). Take out your contact lenses if you are going to sleep for several hours and/or bring lubricating drops for your eyes. As mentioned above, you sometimes find yourself in new environments that bother your eyes differently than at home. We had a case where one of our patients' eyes got so dry that her contact lens popped out. She didn't have backup lenses OR drops on her; which created quite the pickle to be in. Unfortunately, the country she was in only sold drops in pharmacies and none were open at the time! Be prepared by talking with your doctor before traveling. They can often give you a sample for lubricating and/or allergy drops to be prepared.
Tip #4 - Enjoy your trip
This is the most important tip of all; enjoy the freaking trip. We often only set aside so much time in life to get away for a bit, don't let some of these issues interfere with a great time. Be prepared and stay healthy!