Before we travel we do things like loading up on vitamin C so we don’t get sick, but we don’t always think about our eyes while traveling. Here’s what you should do to care for your eyes before and during travel.
5 Travel Tips to Keep Your Eyes Healthy
1. Pack accordingly
Pack the following:
- Lubricating eye drops: Consider packing allergy-specific eye drops that are specially formulated for allergies.
- Eye wash solution: If you have something in your eye — an eyelash, a fleck of dust — you might be tempted to head to the nearest restroom to wash out your eye with tap water. Stop. That tap water could contain impurities or minerals which may further irritate your eyes. Use a sterile eye wash instead.
- Sunglasses and a hat
- Goggles if you plan to go swimming
- Sleep mask
2. Don’t wear contacts for long-haul trips
If you’re about to get on an airplane or about to get in a car for 10 hours of driving, play it safe by opting for glasses from the start and aiming air vents away from your eyes.
Constant temperature fluctuations and lack of humidity could irritate your eyes if you’re wearing contacts (or frankly, even if you’re not wearing contacts). Plus, you don’t want to get stuck trying to take out contacts in an airplane or gas station bathroom.
3. Apply a warm compress at the end of each leg of the trip
Once you reach your destination, wet a washcloth with warm water and drape it over your eyes for 10-15 minutes. If your eyes feel like they have something in them, try an eye wash solution to irrigate your eyes.
4. Take steps to manage eye strain
Eye strain is common, and when you’re a tired traveler, it could get the best of you. The Mayo Clinic suggests the best ways to manage eye strain include limiting screen time and adjusting your lighting, so whether you’re working on your computer or watching in-flight movies, be sure to take frequent breaks. A simple approach is the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes look away from your screen for 20 seconds and focus on something 20 feet away.
5. Invest in good sunglasses and wear them
Sunglasses help drivers avoid glare and also protect from UV rays. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you should buy glasses that are 100% UV-resistant. The term “polarized” means they cut glare, not UV rays. AAO recommends buying sunglasses that are large to provide optimal coverage.
3 Eye Care Tips for Arizona Visitors
1. Stock up on allergy medicines
If you’re traveling to Arizona, be prepared for new allergens that don’t frequent your hometown and an allergy season that can extend well past the spring. Pack your go-to, over-the-counter allergy medication in your carry-on and take daily as needed. Or be preventive and just take one each morning before you head out for your day.
However, since most allergy medications have antihistamines that can dry your eyes out, be sure to add lubricating eye drops to your regimen too, especially if you wear contacts.
2. Protect eyes during dust storms
Dust storms, also called Haboobs, can wreak havoc on your eyes. Take advice from Pinal County: stay inside during dust storms. If you must be outside, wear goggles over your eyes and a bandana or mask over your nose and mouth.
Wear sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors
The Arizona sun can be harsh if you don’t protect yourself properly. UV-resistant sunglasses and hats that provide 360-degree protection from the sun are recommended.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
Though you’re on the move and likely preoccupied with reaching your final destination, do take care of yourself. No matter where you’re headed, drink plenty of water, eat well, sleep tight, wash your hands frequently (especially before touching your eyes), and try to incorporate these tips into your routine.
If you have questions or concerns about your eyes, especially while you’re traveling, call 602-603-4247 to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Barnet Dulaney Perkins.