Eye Health Care: How to protect your eyes when travelling
While we travel, we tend to neglect our eyes a little. We expose them to the harshness of the sun’s UV rays, the glare from sandy beaches, crisp white snow and the deep blue of the ocean. There are a few things we can do to make sure that we take care of our eyes, even while travelling and taking in the stunning views from our vacation destination.
Sunglasses are essential for eye health care
Always carry and wear high quality and comfortable pair of sunglasses. They offer you protection from UV rays, glare, wind, rain and anything that might be carried into your eyes by the climate or a strong gust of wind. To properly wear your sunnies, it’s best to make sure they are comfortable.
Pick a pair of sunglasses that are lightweight and curve a little towards your face. Plastic and acetate are an excellent option for those of us who are a bit clumsy or are likely to get our glasses a little wet. The plastic won’t rust or degrade with a bit of wear and tear. It’s also hygienic as most modern plastic sunglasses frames are hypoallergenic and resistant to scratches, meaning there won’t be any crevices for bacteria or dirt to cling to.
If you need prescription lenses, then make sure your prescription is up to date and accurate. Once you know your order, you can find some great deals for prescription sunglasses online. You should also take care to make sure that your sunglasses match the correct prescription. If they’re not accurate, you’ll be putting the unneeded extra strain on your eyes, which is never a good idea!
You also need to ensure you care for your sunglasses correctly; this video gives you some great tips on how to clean your glasses.
6 Tips for choosing the right sunglasses
Here is a recap with our top tips for selecting the right type of sunglasses:
- Lightweight: look for acetate or plastic frames that aren’t super bulky, as they won’t be massive.
- Comfortable: do the frames curve a little towards the face, this curve will allow the frame to sit more comfortably and securely for long periods. Wraparound frames are a great example of this, and the fact they’re often used for sports shows how practical they are!
- UV Protection: look for sunnies that have a high UV protection rating and block both UV and UVB rays. Lenses are rated from 0 – 4. It’s advisable that you choose lenses with a score of 3 or 4 as they provide the best protection.
- Sturdy: plastic and acetate frames will handle little careless handling so that they will last longer.
- Polarised Lenses: spending a little extra on this is a significant investment, as reducing harsh glares protects your eyes in the long run.
- Prescription: if you need prescription lenses to check that the frames you like are available in the correct order too.
Nutrition and Eye Health – The best foods for eye health
Even on holiday, there are foods you can eat to protect and care for your eyesight. You should try to eat healthily somewhere amongst your indulgent vacation treats.
Top Vitamins for Eye Health
Ensuring you get enough Vitamin A is especially important for our vision and reduces the risk of night blindness. Some great sources of vitamin A are carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, kale and cod liver oil.
Making sure you get Vitamin C is essential for a few reasons: it helps maintain the collagen in your cornea, the capillaries in your retina and reduces the risk of cataracts. Vitamin C also has a complementary effect when taken together with flavonoids. Eat red or green sweet peppers, broccoli, oranges, kiwis and plenty of berries.
Vitamin E helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, while selenium helps your body to absorb it. It’s important not to take too much vitamin E because in high doses it can thin the blood and prevent it from clotting. The best sources for vitamin E and selenium are nuts (mainly brazil nuts), but also seafood, whole grain cereals, sunflower seeds and spinach.
Essential Fatty Acids like Omega-3 are vital to our health, and because our body can’t produce them itself, we have to get them from the food we eat. Omega-3 helps drain intraocular fluid from our eyes, reducing the danger of high eye pressure and glaucoma. Fatty acids also help to prevent dry eyes, something which can be a bit of a hazard during travel.
The best sources of Omega-3 and fatty acids are fish, particularly salmon, mackerel and sardines. You can also get them from seeds like chia and flax though. You can get a few extra ideas on what foods will benefit your eyes and help keep your body healthy too from this article on Health.
How to care for dry eyes while travelling
While we travel the changes in our climate and the excessive air-conditioning on aeroplanes and hotels can make our eyes dry, itchy and sore.
Common symptoms of dry eyes include scratchy sensations, contact lens discomfort, burning, tired eyes and sensitivity to light. Dry eyes can be a consequence of allergies. When you’re travelling to new countries and experiencing new environments allergies can be triggered. So make sure you pack antihistamine tablets you already know work for you. Furthermore, pack some eye drops to combat the allergies.
If your idea of a perfect getaway isn’t the beach but is a new city, then you might need to be careful about caring for your eyes because of the other pollutants in the air.
Eye drops should help ease any discomfort felt. Wearing contact lenses while you travel require extra care, always make sure you carry additional pairs should you lose one or need to change them. You should also avoid sleeping with your contacts in, even after a long and tiring day exploring a new city or a day spent hiking. Moreover avoid swimming or snorkelling, getting water in your eyes as this will increase the risk of infections. Especially in foreign countries where the water isn’t safe to drink, the risk is higher.
In areas where the is an excessive amount of air-conditioning or a need to use heaters day and night your eyes will also begin to feel dry. It’s a good idea to make sure you travel with eye drops. A portable humidifier in your hotel room will also help.
There are also plenty of countries where smoking is still prevalent indoors yet, so be careful of your environment and try to avoid bars or restaurants where you can smoke inside.
Seven tips for beating dry eyes when travelling
- Eat a healthy diet of foods that nourish your eyes like Omega 3s and foods rich in Vitamin A. Always make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, as this will ensure you stay hydrated.
- Always make sure you are taking proper care of your contact lenses and putting them incorrectly.
- Wear glasses on a windy day to protect your eyes from becoming dry or irritated. You should also make sure your sunglasses are polarised to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and the harsh glare off of different surfaces.
- Use a humidifier where you can, i.e. your hotel room or apartment.
- Avoid areas where there is lots of smoke from fires or cigarettes, as smoke can irritate and make dry eyes feel sore.
- Make sure you pack lubricating eye drops and medicate eye drops if you require them so that you can treat your eyes immediately when they begin to feel dry.
- Pack allergy medication that will combat any allergies to new pollens or allergens.
These tips will help you take good care of your eyes while travelling.
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If interested in eye care you may also be interested in how to properly prepare for a long-haul flight.