Contact lens safety when traveling

October 11, 2015 - 4 minutes read

Think about your eyes and contact lens safety as your next adventure. If I had the opportunity to advise my patients who wear contacts how to prepare for travel, I would ask them more about the trip. If a patient were going on a long roadtrip or far enough to fly out of the city of Seattle (where Cannon EyeCare is located), I would definitely advise them to bring a spare pair of contacts, a fresh contact lens case, and some cleaning solution. Some contact lens patients also like to have artificial tear drops with them to help with any discomfort, especially if they fly with contacts in.

Contact Lens

Where in the world are you traveling next? Will your eyes have every thing THEY need?It is also crucial for anyone wearing contacts is this: own a good pair of glasses (and bring them with on your trip). Contact lens wearers who are traveling need to have those with them unless their prescription is very mild. By very mild I mean less than one diopter of nearsightedness (aka myopia), astigmatism, or far-sightedness (aka hyperopia).

Contacts can rip randomly (although this is most commonly related to mishandling the lens), pop out (perhaps because of a poor fit or putting them in inside out), or get sucked out of your eye when you crash the surf board or jet ski. Plenty of contact lens patients have traveled to an exotic beach with great surf and snorkeling only to lose a lens and end up closing one eye to see clearly or just sitting on the beach wearing their back-up glasses the rest of the trip. Don’t miss the active adventure opportunities on your next trip – travel prepared by considering contact lens safety. Even if you are in the process of being fit with lenses and don’t have an Rx yet, your eye doctor may be able to provide you with an extra trial lens in case of a mishap while traveling.

Speaking of conversations you should have with your eye doctor, ask them about daily disposable contacts. These lenses are now available in many astigmatism powers, and have recently become available in multifocal powers (for contact lens wearers over the age of 40). The doctors at Cannon EyeCare will often issue a dual contact lens prescription for their patients- one for daily wear that is a monthly replacement lens; plus a second Rx (in similar powers) in a daily disposable version. Having a few strips of daily disposable contacts around for your next trip can make life so much easier.

Bring some sunglasses to be worn over your contacts. Make sure you have some prescription glasses along so you can give your eyes a break from contacts each evening, and just because you need a backup plan. Plus, airplanes are so dry you will be more comfortable with glasses on for the flights. Finally, it is a good call to take a photo of your most recent (not expired) glasses and contact lens prescriptions and then email them to yourself. In the unlikely event that your bags never show up, or worse yet you are robbed and have no glasses or contacts, having these documents accessible via email (or dropbox, etc) would be incredibly useful. Safe travels!

Sincerely, Dr. Mark Cannon, optometrist @ Cannon EyeCare (at Market Optical) in Seattle, Washington

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