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Eye Care on Vacation: 9 Things You Need to Know

trip planning with map coffee and photo camera

What can be worse than having irritated, red, painful eyes? Well, having irritated, red, and painful eyes on vacation. More than 25% of Canadians get dry eyes. And you don't want to deal with dry eyes or an eye infection while you are on vacation!

So, reading some tips on the matter can help clear your pre-vacation worries away. Here's what you need to know about eye care abroad.

1. See Your Eye Doctor Before You Leave

Your prescription can change without you noticing. Since you'll want to make sure you can see as clearly as possible on your trip, schedule a visit with your eye doctor.

Your doctor can provide a prescription copy to take with you. He or she can also answer other travel related eye care questions as well as recommend a specific type of eye drops. This will ensure dry eyes are not an issue on your trip.

2. Eye Care Travel Bag

woman pointing to eye

Don't forget to get your eye care travel bag ready. Having the necessary accessories will make a big difference if you run into trouble.

Depending on the weather, humidity levels, and temperature your contacts might need extra care. Grab a pair of prescription eyeglasses to bring along. It's always a good idea to give your eyes a break from contacts. So it’s a good idea to have an extra pair of contacts and glasses.

Better yet, get yourself some daily wear contact lenses. You'll cut out the hassle of dealing with contact solutions and have a clean pair of contacts ready each morning.

If you choose to stick with weekly or monthly contacts, you'll also need the right amount of cleaning solution and an extra case. You can also include artificial tear drops, tweezers, and a cloth for cleaning your glasses. You'll want to moisturize your eyes if you spend a lot of time in the sun, so eye drops are a must.

3. Remember Your Prescription

We've mentioned it before, but only because this step is of utmost importance. Imagine your lenses get damaged and you don't have an extra pair of contacts with you.

Going to an optometrist in a foreign country can be daunting. Unless you have a friend in the region that can recommend a good eye doctor, you might end up waiting for days to get an appointment. One idea is to have a copy of your prescription on your phone. This way you'll have easy access if you need it.

4. Get Prescription Goggles

man swimming with goggles for eye care

Goggles will protect your eyes, so they're just as important to take on vacation as sunglasses. Goggles are important for protecting your eyes from the microbes and chlorine in the water. Make sure your goggles have a good seal.

You should also take your contacts out before or immediately after you swim, to keep any potential infections at bay.

5. Pick the Right Sunglasses

woman with sunglasses blowing kiss

You need a great pair of sunglasses to look stylish. But you also need them for protection.

Sunglasses provide the proper protection from the sun's harmful rays. Your sunglasses will have to block out 99-100% of the UVA and UVB rays. Some contacts do come with sun protection but, on their own, do not offer 100% protection.

Polarized lenses are a great option if you're sensitive to sunlight. These lenses reduce glare and filter out reflecting sunlight on surfaces like water and windows. To tell if they're polarized, hold the lens up to the light source and tilt to the side. They'll change the appearance of the light if polarization exists.

Your kids need sunglasses, too. Up to 80% of lifetime UV exposure happens before a person turns 18. Therefore it's important to protect those little eyes. So, add goggles and sunglasses to your travel list.

When you don't want to wear sunglasses, wear a hat to help protect your eyes. Wide-brimmed hats can also provide protection and shade your eyes from the harmful sun rays.

6. After Swimming Care

It's just as important to take care of your eyes after you swim as it is during swimming. Take your contacts out before bathing in any kind of water. And consider using eye drops (as directed on the product packaging) to help flush out any irritants like salt and chlorine.

Be sure to give your eyes a break. Your eyes will need some relief from wearing contacts all day long. This is especially important if your eyes come into contact with water.

7. Take a Break From Air Conditioning or Heat

Air conditioning can dry out your eyes making them feel uncomfortable and irritated. Try to stay out of the A/C after you cool down to let your eyes regain moisture. Eye drops will also help your contacts and eyes stay hydrated.

Cold weather can be just as hard on eyes as heat. If you decide to go into the mountains for lots of snow, having goggles and a ski mask can be very helpful.

Your eyes need protection from the winter sun as much as they do in the summer. The light that reflects off snow can be blinding and disrupting to your eyesight. And, a dry climate can definitely dry out your eyes.

8. Be Ready for the Sand

beach with palm trees and island in the background

The beach is a beautiful, relaxing place to listen to waves and feel the sand between your toes. That same sand can get in your eyes and this can become very annoying. Be sure you have a bottle of contact solution nearby. You'll be quick to flush out your eyes if a gust of wind or a kid's shovel throws sand in your eyes.

9. Take Extra Time to Clean Your Contacts

You'll need to disinfect your contacts on a regular basis. Sand and other irritants are hard on your eyes, and can easily get stuck beneath the surface of your lenses. You'll need to make sure you remove all these unwanted particles.

All you need to do is take out your contacts and soak them in solution. Do this after a day at the beach, in the pool, or after hitting the slopes.

Safety First

To wrap it up:

The last thing you'll want to be bringing home from a vacation is an eye infection. Keep these eye care tips bookmarked in your phone or tablet when hitting the road. Remember to pick up some extra contact lenses before you go. And, of course, have a fun time on your holiday!

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