Those of us without the coveted 20:20 vision who enjoy faking it like we do with our contact lenses, know it can sometimes get a bit tedious keeping up the prescribed level of care for our eyes while travelling. Bringing along extra solution, trying to stick to the 12 hour wear time, not jumping into the pool for fear of contamination can all get pretty tiresome when you’re trying to live your best vacation life. But fear not. As a veteran lens wearer and prolific holiday goer, I’ve put together a few of my favourite tips and tricks to make your nomadic contact lens life that much easier.
My regular lenses are monthlies – the ones you take out every night, clean and store ready for wearing the next day. But I have to say, dailies really are a gift from our good Lord. If you’re heading off on a jam packed vay-cay, the last thing you want to be hassled with is caring for your lenses each night. We’re also pointedly told we shouldn’t get water (especially pool water) into our lenses as all manner of things can latch on and grow (eww). However, I don’t know many people who would book a pool side getaway and not take a splash the entire time they’re there. Sticking to glasses is of course an option, but I prefer my scenery in HD and not 240mp blurry.
That’s why I recommend switching to dailies while travelling. My optician confirmed this is the safest way to wear lenses if you intend to be around a lot of water as you dispose of them at the end of the day, removing all opportunity for anything to ‘latch on and grow.’ This is also great for jam packed city breaks as you can just take them out and dump them at the end of the day – no cleaning or storage necessary!
Travel in Your Glasses
This tip is especially apropos if you’re taking a long haul flight. The temptation might be there to go in you lenses and take them out when it’s time to sleep, but have you ever tried to do anything in an airplane bathroom? They were not designed for easy contact lens manoeuvre and that’s without any unexpected turbulence while you’re in there.
Also, cabin pressure makes the air on a plane quite dry. Standard contact lenses are around 70% water and need to maintain that level of hydration to stay comfortable. Due to the dryness of the air on planes, you tend to find the wear-ability of your lenses decreases considerably, leading to dryness and irritation, even the special ones you’re allowed to sleep in.
My tip is to save yourself the irritation and commit to wearing your glasses until you at least touch down at your final destination. Your eyes will thank you.
Get a moisturising eye drop
Speaking of dryness, my next tip is to invest in a good quality moisturising eye drop. A sudden change from a cool climate to a dryer one can especially cause havoc with our eyes. I’ve experienced first hand dry eyes and blocked ducts over the summer when England had that very unprecedented heat wave. My eyes couldn’t cope and I was prescribed some over the counter drops. Game changer.
I’ve never had dryness as severe as that before, but since using the lubricating eye drops, there is no going back. On all future exploits to humid lands I’ll be taking my drops with me to help my eyes adjust to the dryer climate. And the best part? You can use it with your lenses – bonus!
Before you take your next trip, it might be worth speaking to your optician for recommendations on the best drops for you to combat potential dry eyes.
Carry travel size solution
This tip follows on from the previous one. When I’m going to be exposing my eyes to a new environment, I like to make sure I’ve got some travel sized solution on me just in case I need to pop my lenses out to clean them or to rinse my eyes.
The worst feeling is a spec of dust caught in your lenses that is just swirling and irritating your eyes, but because you don’t have any solution you end up stuck, uncomfortably rubbing your eyes all day. Save yourself the heartache and invest in a little purse friendly (or pocket friendly) sized bottle of solution so you’re always covered.
Give your eyes a vacation too
Once you’ve touched down at your destination, it might be worth taking a break of a day or two from wearing your lenses so your eyes can rest and recuperate. Airplanes aren’t known for the best quality of sleep and the amount you get on long haul flights as a result is sub-optimal. This can really take it’s toll on our eyes and rushing to insert lenses after our eyes have been under so much strain might not be the best thing for our eye health.
That’s why it may serve you well to get a good 8-10 hours of sleep after landing, take a day off wearing your contact lenses, and also hydrate with lots of water. These simple steps can make all the difference to your contact lens experience while you’re away.
So there you have it, my top five tips for contact lens wearers abroad. Did I miss any? Are there any tricks you know of to make a contact lens wearer’s life that little bit easier? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂