For many people, autumn is the best season to travel. The Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of the most popular tourist spots in the U.S. It offers stunning natural scenery that wows all-year-round but with fall brings much more temperate weather, fewer people, and lower room rates. Once you’ve booked your tickets, you start to choose your lodging, plan your itinerary, and then start to make a list of all the things you need to pack. However, many travelers fail to take the proper steps to ensure their eye health. When you’re finally having your much-needed vacation, the last thing you’ll want is an eye problem to ruin your trip. Here’s how to keep your peepers healthy on the road.
1. Schedule an eye exam before leaving town.
If you are someone who requires vision correction, then you know that an outing is not nearly as enjoyable if you couldn’t see the sights clearly. Your ophthalmologist may give you an eye exam to detect eye problems that might cause you a great deal of trouble during your trip. Let them correct or adjust your vision if there are changes to it. You can also get valuable information on eye care while you’re in their office.
In addition, take this opportunity to check your prescription. This may change without you even noticing, so make sure it’s up-to-date before leaving home. With the right prescription, you’ll be able to get contacts or glasses in case of an emergency. And most importantly, it will allow you to take in all the new sights and attractions with clear, crisp vision.
2. Pack your eye care essentials.
When preparing the things you need for the trip, do not forget to pack your eye care essentials.
- Your eyeglasses or contact lenses
- A spare pair of specs if you happen to break your glasses and a backup pair of contacts if you’re traveling to a place where it may be difficult to find a replacement
- Lubricating eye drops – consider bringing allergy-specific eye drops as well
- Eyewash solution – If you have something in your eye – a fleck of dust, an eyelash – you might be tempted to use tap water from the nearest restroom to wash out your eye.
- Googles if you plan to go swimming
- Sunglasses and a hat
- Sleep mask
- Take a photo of your prescription on your smartphone. That way, if you’re in a pinch or lose your luggage, you can get the eyewear you need.
3. Don’t wear contacts for long-haul trips.
If you’re about to get in a car for 10 hours of driving or get on a 15-hour flight, play it safe by opting for glasses from the start. Aim air vents away from your eyes. The lack of humidity and constant temperature fluctuations can also irritate your peepers whether you’re wearing contacts or not. However, you wouldn’t want to get stuck trying to take out contacts in a gas station or airplane bathroom.
4. Take steps to manage eye strain.
Eye strain is a common complaint of travelers. It can get the best of you when you’re tired. Luckily, there are many ways to combat it. Adjust your lighting and limit your screen time. Be sure to take frequent breaks whether you’re watching in-flight movies or working on your laptop. A simple approach is the 20-20 rule. Look away from your screen for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes and focus on something 20 feet away.
5. Be ready to fight allergies.
Itchy eyes may be the result of an allergy. Allergic reactions happen when your immune system responds to a foreign substance such as pollen. Even if you don’t experience allergic reactions at home, you may be exposed to different types of irritants when you’re out and about. Turn to eye drops and oral antihistamines for immediate relief of redness and itching. These are available over the counter.
Be sure to check with a pharmacist for recommendations or better yet, ask your ophthalmologist beforehand. However, since most allergy medications can dry your eyes out, include a lubricating eye drops to your regimen as well, especially if you wear contacts. If you have more severe symptoms, see a doctor.
6. Apply a warm compress to soothe your eyes.
At the end of each leg of the trip, use a warm compress (washcloth damp with warm water) and drape it over your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. This will make your peepers feel refreshed after a long day. If they feel like they have something in them, try an eyewash solution to irrigate your eyes.
7. Invest in good sunglasses and wear them.
Sunglasses protect from harmful ultraviolet rays which are known to cause cataracts. Shades also help drives avoid glare when the sun is shining too brightly over the windshield. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you should invest in glasses that can block 100% of all UV rays.
When you see the term “polarized” when you’re out there shopping, it means the shades can cut glare, not UV rays. Go for sunglasses that are large to provide optimal coverage. If you’re traveling to Arizona, expect some harsh sun. With UV-resistant sunglasses, you can enjoy 360-degree protection for your eyes. You should also get a wide-brimmed hat while you’re at it.
8. Stay hydrated.
Without proper hydration, your vision may start to blur, your eyes will get tired easily, and feel like there is sandpaper in there. Lubricating your eyes is not enough, you have to drink plenty of water. If you are consuming alcoholic beverages, then you’ll have to take in more water. Taking good care of your eyes starts with staying properly hydrated.
With these tips, you can keep your eyes healthy when you’re traveling. A little planning to make sure your eye care needs are met is surely worth it. After all, you can’t fully appreciate the exciting sights with a blurry vision. Give your eye doctor a visit just to make sure you’re all set. And lastly, stay safe and enjoy your trip!