Traveller eye care habits to protect your vision during trips

Paradise Beach, Bahamas

Those who have eye sensitivity, glaucoma or have recently had surgery should be especially careful, faithfully following their doctor’s instructions. This is because, according to ophthalmologists, for millions of people, the arrival of summer is synonymous with travel, vacations, outdoor activities and a general lifestyle change.

Ultraviolet light (UV) radiation is known to cause eye damage without proper protection. Light is reflected on surfaces such as water or sand and can cause burns to the superficial structures of the eye (the conjunctiva and cornea). In addition, when exposed to ultraviolet radiation for a long time, damage to internal systems, such as the crystalline lens or the retina, has been described.

According to ophthalmologists, the case of glaucoma is often also sensitive to light, while the feeling of blur due to the reduced sensitivity of contrasts (contrast sensitivity) that these patients usually experience can worsen the general sense of sight. These symptoms can be significantly improved by wearing good quality sunglasses and a hat to ensure a shady environment at eye level.

In the particular case where the patient has undergone surgery relatively recently, it is imperative to ask the ophthalmologist for his opinion. It is also recommended – as with any medication – that patients bring their eye drops with them during travel or vacation to avoid gaps in their treatment, especially in case of delays, longer flights or lost luggage.

What can you do during your trips

  • When you’re swimming and diving in the water, always wear suitable swimming goggles.
  • When you get out of the water, immediately rinse your face with fresh, clean water. This will remove any sand or chlorine residue (depending on where you swim) from your eyelids and lashes.
  • Use artificial tears. If you often swim in a pool with chlorinated water, put on artificial tears before and after swimming. This way, you will maintain the layer of tears on the surface of your eyes.
  • Remove contact lenses before swimming, especially in lakes or rivers. If you dive into the sea wearing your flashlights, wait at least 15 minutes after getting out of the water to get them out.
  • Always wear sunglasses while outdoors. “We do not know exactly how much UV exposure is required to cause short-term or long-term damage to the eyes, so sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat are essential.” Get your glasses from optical stores and not from itinerant or uncertified sources. Please make sure they fully absorb UVA and UVB radiation. Wear sunglasses even if it is cloudy. Prefer large sunglasses, which cover a large part of your face around the eyes.
  • Do not forget the face sunscreen. It is necessary to apply it to the areas around the eyes (and eyelids).
  • Take a shower without getting tap water in your eyes.
  • Do not use tap water to rinse your contact lenses.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Adequate fluid intake is essential for the production of tears that moisturize the eyes.
  • Do not rub your eyes. If you have not disinfected your hands, you can infect your eyes and body with any kind of pathogen, including the new coronavirus.

If you have persistent symptoms in the eyes, such as redness, pain, blurred vision, tearing, swelling, discharge, high sensitivity to light, consult or see your ophthalmologist immediately. The ophthalmologist will be the one who will suggest to you the effective ways to deal with these problems, with his valuable experience and knowledge. If, for example, you are in the Southampton area, you can visit the Aris Vision Correction Clinic to provide a solution to your stressors.

About Simon Petersen 505 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.