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.
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?