Caring for your eyes on holiday: 5 tips from a pro

Good morning all! Today I am very pleased to present this  guest post from Kim at Eyes on the Dollar, as part of a blog swap. Kim is an optometrist by day who blogs about her journey to achieve 20/20 financial vision. You can also follow her on Twitter @Eyesonthedollar. And of course, after you read her article, go over at Eyes on the Dollar and read mine, about how to enjoy a cheap European holiday!!


                                              The resort town of Telluride, CO


With the upcoming holidays, many of us will be traveling to see family or for holiday. Ski resorts and tropical destinations can be popular places to visit this time of year. One thing many people forget when preparing for travel is taking care of their eye and vision needs. Whether you are lucky enough to have 20/20 vision without correction or you need a little help with glasses or contacts, nothing ruins a trip more than having eye problems. I have a branch of my optometry practice in the resort town of Telluride, Colorado. Over the years, I’ve seen everything from people accidentally drinking their contact lenses to losing eyeglass lenses in the snow. These are some common issues travelers face if they fail to consider their eyes in vacation planning.


  • Dry Eyes – The recycled air on planes is extremely dry, especially if you wear contacts. If you have a long flight, especially an overnight one, try to remember to bring eye drops or rewetting solution to moisten your eyes a couple of times throughout the flight. Always carry a case and solution if you need to remove your lenses for sleeping. Also drink lots of water to keep well hydrated. If your lenses get too dry, they may stick to your corneas, and peel off tissue when you remove them. Doesn’t make for a fun trip if you have to spend the first couple of days re-growing your cornea!
  • Bring Any Eye Medicines or Solutions in Your Carry On – If you take prescription eye drops or need contact lens solution, make sure to bring it in your liquids container in your carry on. You can buy travel size contact solutions, or better yet, ask your doctor for a sample. Sometimes trial sizes are almost as expensive as the larger bottles, but you need to carry some with you at all times. Your doctor can be a great resource for travel products.


Caring for your eyes on holiday


                                         Skiing with proper eye protection


  • Bring Back Up Contacts AND Glasses –  I am amazed at how many people with poor eyesight go on a long trip with one pair of old contacts that should have been thrown away months ago. Inevitably, they lose or tear one during their trip. In Telluride, we are the only eye doctor. We are not a big box store and do not stock every prescription of lenses. Likewise, you may not be able to get back up glasses made quickly if you are in a remote or smaller place. My suggestion would be to have at least two or three pairs of contacts and a backup pair of glasses when you travel.




  • Take a Copy of Your Prescription –  If you do lose your contacts or break your glasses, a local office might be able to help you if you have a copy of your prescription. In the US, contacts are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Just as you cannot walk into a pharmacy and tell them to give you heart pills, you can’t walk into the optometrist’s office and ask them to give you contacts. By law, we cannot dispense lenses without a written, unexpired prescription, no matter how loud you yell. Having the box doesn’t count. If you are expired on your prescription, and realize you will be traveling, talk to your doctor’s office and see if they will extend your prescription until you get back. Most will, and will give you sample contacts for your trip if you are down to the last pair. If you don’t have this information, you may be able to call and have your doctor fax or email the prescription, but it’s not a guarantee. The only other way to get contacts is to have a new exam. Who wants to go through the time and expense of getting an eye exam on vacation?



                                                        Do protect your kids too!!


  • Protect Your Eyes From the Sun – If you do go on an alpine skiing vacation or to a beautiful beach, remember to take your sunglasses. Snow, altitude, or reflection from the water can cause UV damage really quickly. Most adults are smart enough to wear goggles or sunglasses, but they often forget the kiddo’s eyes. Damage is not immediate, and usually shows up after you’ve gone in for the day. Sun burning your eyes hurts much worse than burning your skin and can cause permanent damage. Think about mountain climbers who have walked off a mountain because of snow blindness. You don’t have to have expensive sunglasses, but make sure they block most of the UV rays.


By taking the extra step of planning for your eye needs, you can have a wonderful vacation without having to track down the local eye doctor to help with what you forgot. The most beautiful destinations become much less fun if you can’t see them clearly!


How do you take care of your eyes on holiday? Ever had one of those emergencies?




A 30 something French girl embarking on a journey towards Financial Independence. I blog about money, travel, simple and deliberate living, freedom and choices. You can find me on Twitter, Google+, or Reach Financial Independence's Facebook Page

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  1. My wife has terrible eye sight so we always have to take a heap of extra stuff to allow her to see things while we are on holidays.

    I remember the first time I went skiing, the sunlight was blinding and I didn’t have any sun glasses. Definitely something you should take with you! Fortunately I didn’t ever get up any speed (due to being on my bum most of the time) so not seeing wasn’t really a big issue.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..6 easy money SAVING tipsMy Profile

  2. Great tips, Kim! I am always paranoid about ripping my contacts so I bring a backup pair with me almost everywhere. When I travel I bring 3 sets of backups plus my glasses. Life is tough for people with vision problems 😉
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Giveaway: iPad Mini + iPad Mini Case + $100My Profile

  3. Great tips Kim! My eyesight is terrible and hate being without something I need. I generally take several backups of my lenses with on a trip as well as travel sized drops. I also bring my backup glasses…which I HATE wearing. :)
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..A Smart Way to Play Interior Designer When MovingMy Profile

  4. Good tips, if travelling I usually just wear my glasses b/c contacts are such a pain in the butt for all the above mentioned reasons.
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  5. Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy says:

    Although I am a contacts-only type girl, I do try to tuck an extra pair of glasses somewhere discreet wherever I go. Ugh, my eyesight is horrendous. (Astigmatism.) Good to know about the cornea tearing with dry eyes, Kim, as I didn’t realize this was a real possibility!
    Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy recently posted..Is Your Significant Other A Spender Or A Saver?My Profile

  6. @Glen. I’ve been down many a ski slope on my backside!

    @DC. It’s even tougher if you go on a trip with one pair of contacts and lose one!

    @John. Usually if you have them, you won’t need them. It’s when you leave without them that something always happens.

    @Catherine. I’m kind of to that point myself.

    @Jennifer Lynn. It’s lots worse if you go somewhere that is at altitude. We see folks from Texas coming to Telluride all the time who have eye troubles almost right off the plane.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..How To Have a Cheap European HolidayMy Profile

  7. Great tips, Kim! I’ve been wearing contacts since I was 11 (for sports!) and I live by these rules!
    L Bee and the Money Tree recently posted..Broken Heart, Broken Wallet Part IIMy Profile

  8. Tackling Our Debt says:

    Great post Kim! I’m fortunate in that I only need glasses for driving. I use to ski quite a few years ago, but not enough to worry about wearing glasses at the same time.
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..Try These Easy and Delicious Classic Cakes – Grab Free eCookbookMy Profile

  9. Great ideas! I’ve only recently had to wear my glasses frequently, so I’ve never fully thought through things before. Usually the call has been whether or not to take glasses with me at all on backpacking trips (2 no, 1 yes). Unfortunately, now it’s not a question but a necessity.
    Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted..Gift Giveaway: iPad Mini and Cash!My Profile

  10. Dry eyes and everything from planes is the worst!
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  11. @L Bee. Sometimes eye people’s family members are the worst. We forgot my husband’s glasses on a big trip once and had to (gasp) pay retail at Lenscrafters to have a quickie pair made up.

    @Sicorra. Lucky you, but still wear the goggles!

    @Anne. That is a huge blow to the ego. I grew up wearing glasses, so it’s not even something I have to consider if I want to see.

    @Mrs. PoP. I agree. My dry eyes almost make me want to move to Florida!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..How To Have a Cheap European HolidayMy Profile

  12. I always buy good quality sunglasses and ski goggles to protect my eyes. I met a guy skiing in the alps who was 60% blind due to sun damage of the retinas… scary stuff!
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  13. @Savvy Scot. You can’t repair that damage either. It is very scary.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..How To Have a Cheap European HolidayMy Profile

  14. Kim,

    What kind of eye drops do you recommend for airplane travel and other normal uses?
    Terry recently posted..The right way to handle tenants who are moving outMy Profile

  15. @Terry. Usually a good moisturing drop is best, some good brand names are Refresh, Systane, and Genteal.If you don’t have severe dry eye, a store brand can also work. Look for something with the main ingredient listed as cellulose or similar. Also if you wear contacts, usually your multipurpose solution can serve as a rewettting drop. I would try to avoid things like Visine or anything that is to “get the red out” or has phenylephrine in the ingredients. Usually eyes are red due to dryness and these only constrict your vessels to make eyes look better. They actually make your eyes more dry, so you are not contributing to the root cause of the problem. Wow I get wordy on eye topics!

  16. Thanks, Pauline, for giving me the opportunity to post on your incredible blog. I’d love to do it anytime.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..How To Have a Cheap European HolidayMy Profile

  17. Bringing extra glasses is a good idea. When I was in 10th grade my glasses flew off of our boat and ended at the bottom of the lake. Luckily we weren’t on vacation when it happened, and I had an old pair at home until they could be replaced. I’ll start bringing my backup with me on vacation now though. Thanks.
    justin@thefrugalpath recently posted..Your Small Business Needs an Emergency Fund TooMy Profile

  18. Great tips. My hubby always brings extra contacts with him but he only has one set of glasses. Great suggestion on having a second pair.
    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter recently posted..Less Obvious Things That You Need To Buy Before Moving OutMy Profile

  19. @justin – great tip having an extra pair of glasses handy! I guess I never thought about it for some reason but I imagine it’s the sort of thing that if you don’t prepare, you’ll be SOL if something does happen!

  20. Thank you so much for this post! There is some really helpful information here. Keep up the awesome work on this blog!

  21. Thanks for sharing these tips on keeping your eyes healthy! I have a long 20 hour fight to Europe, and I want to make sure that I keep my eyes healthy on the trip. I’ll be sure to get some eye drops that will help keep them moist. I’ll also be sure to bring my backup glasses in case anything happens to my contacts!

  22. Thanks for sharing this advice on protecting your eyes while traveling! I agree that it is a good idea to bring contacts and glasses just in case something happens to either of those. However, I never thought to bring a prescription with me on vacation! That makes sense, though– you can visit an optometrist where you’re vacationing if something bad happens to your contacts!

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