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Preventing Dry Eyes by Wearing Glasses During Flights
Traveling by air can be an exciting and transformative experience. However, it can also bring about some uncomfortable side effects, such as dry and irritated eyes. This is a common issue for many passengers, but it can be easily prevented by wearing glasses instead of contacts during flights. In this article, we will explore the reasons why dry eyes are a common problem during flights, the benefits of wearing glasses, how to choose the right glasses for your flight, and other tips to ensure your eyes stay comfortable and moisturized throughout your journey.
Why Dry Eyes are a Common Issue During Flights
Understanding why dry eyes occur during flights is essential in finding the right preventive measures. Cabin pressure and low humidity are two main factors that contribute to this problem. Let’s delve into each.
Understanding the Effects of Cabin Pressure
As the aircraft climbs to higher altitudes, the cabin pressure decreases. This change in pressure can lead to the evaporation of tears, causing the eyes to become dry and uncomfortable. Additionally, the reduced pressure can affect the function of the tear ducts, leading to inadequate tear production.
The Role of Low Humidity in Airplanes
Airplanes are notorious for having low humidity levels, often below 20%. This dry environment can quickly deplete the moisture in your eyes, leaving them dry and irritated. Without the proper moisture, your eyes may feel tight, itchy, or even develop a burning sensation.
The Impact of Air Conditioning on Eye Moisture
Air conditioning is a common feature on airplanes, providing passengers with a comfortable temperature during the flight. However, the cool air from the air conditioning system can exacerbate dry eyes by further reducing the humidity levels. The combination of low humidity and air conditioning can strip the eyes of their natural moisture, leading to discomfort.
The Benefits of Wearing Glasses Instead of Contacts
For individuals who wear contact lenses, choosing to wear glasses during flights can provide several benefits that promote eye comfort and prevent dryness.
Reducing Eye Irritation and Discomfort
Contact lenses can sometimes cause eye irritation, especially in dry environments like airplanes. Wearing glasses eliminates direct contact between your eyes and the dry cabin air, reducing the potential for discomfort and irritation.
Preventing Dryness and Itching
Contact lenses can absorb moisture from your eyes, leading to dryness and itching. By wearing glasses, you create a barrier that prevents the evaporation of tears, keeping your eyes moisturized and comfortable throughout the flight.
Avoiding the Risk of Contact Lens Infections
Maintaining proper hygiene while wearing contact lenses during flights can be challenging, increasing the risk of infections. Glasses eliminate the need for handling and cleaning contact lenses, reducing the likelihood of bacterial or fungal growth that can cause eye infections.
Eliminating the Need for Contact Lens Solution
When traveling, carrying contact lens solution can be inconvenient and potentially problematic if it exceeds the liquid limit for carry-on baggage. Opting to wear glasses relieves the need for contact lens solution altogether, making your journey more hassle-free.
Minimizing Eye Strain from Adjusting Focus
During a flight, your eyes may need to constantly adjust focus between different distances, such as reading a book or looking out the window. Wearing glasses can help minimize eye strain by providing the necessary lens prescription to maintain optimal vision at all times.
Choosing the Right Glasses for Your Flight
Now that you understand the benefits of wearing glasses during flights let’s explore the factors to consider when choosing the right glasses for your journey.
Opting for Anti-Reflective Coating
When selecting glasses for air travel, consider opting for lenses with an anti-reflective coating. This coating reduces glare from cabin lights, preventing further strain on your eyes and improving overall comfort.
Considering Polarized Lenses for Glare Reduction
Furthermore, polarized lenses can be a great choice to further reduce glare not only from cabin lights but also from the sun’s reflections on clouds or other aircraft. Polarized lenses provide enhanced visual clarity, which can help reduce eye strain.
Choosing Lightweight and Comfortable Frames
Since you’ll be wearing your glasses for an extended period during the flight, it’s vital to choose lightweight and comfortable frames. Avoid frames that put excessive pressure on your temples or nose, as this can lead to discomfort over time.
Determining the Right Lens Prescription Strength
Ensure that your glasses have the correct lens prescription strength for your vision. It is essential to have an updated eye exam before your flight to ensure your prescription is accurate and that you’ll have the most comfortable visual experience during your journey.
Ensuring Proper UV Protection
Although you’ll be inside the aircraft for most of the flight, it’s still crucial to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Ensure that your glasses provide proper UV protection, even if you’re not sitting next to a window. UV rays can penetrate windows and cause eye damage, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Ensuring Proper Fit and Comfort
Once you’ve chosen the right glasses for your flight, it’s important to ensure they fit properly and ensure maximum comfort while traveling.
Getting an Updated Prescription Before the Flight
Before your journey, schedule an eye exam to get an updated prescription from your optometrist. Having an accurate prescription ensures optimal vision, reducing any potential eye strain or discomfort during your flight.
Adjusting the Frames for a Secure Fit
Ill-fitting glasses can cause discomfort and irritation, especially during long flights. Adjust the frames to achieve a secure fit that doesn’t put too much pressure on your nose or behind your ears. This way, your glasses will stay in place without causing discomfort.
Using Nose Pads or Grips for Added Stability
If your glasses tend to slip down your nose or feel loose, consider using nose pads or grips to provide additional stability. These small accessories can improve the fit of your glasses and prevent them from sliding down when you move or change positions.
Avoiding Frames with Tight Temple Arms
Frames with tight or narrow temple arms can cause discomfort and pressure behind your ears. Opt for frames with adjustable or wider temple arms, ensuring a more comfortable fit throughout your flight.
Considering Wraparound Frames for Added Protection
If you’re particularly sensitive to dry eyes, consider choosing wraparound frames. These frames provide additional protection from air drafts, keeping a barrier between your eyes and the dry cabin environment.
Preparing Your Glasses for the Flight
Before your flight, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your glasses are ready for the journey.
Cleaning and Polishing the Lenses
Clean your glasses thoroughly with a lens cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth. Removing any smudges or debris from the lenses will ensure optimal clarity and visual comfort during your flight.
Replacing Worn-out Nose Pads or Grips
Check the condition of your nose pads or grips and replace them if they are worn-out or damaged. Worn-out accessories can affect the fit and stability of your glasses, potentially causing discomfort during your flight.
Inspecting the Frames for Damage
Take a close look at your glasses’ frames and inspect for any signs of damage, such as loose screws or cracks. If you notice any issues, have them repaired or consider using a spare pair of glasses to ensure you have a comfortable journey.
Carrying a Protective Case for Safekeeping
Invest in a sturdy and protective case for your glasses and make sure to carry it with you during your flight. A protective case will prevent your glasses from getting crushed or scratched in your luggage or carry-on bag.
Bringing a Microfiber Cloth for Lens Cleaning
Keep a microfiber cloth handy throughout your flight for quick and easy lens cleaning. This will allow you to remove smudges or debris from your glasses, ensuring optimal vision and visual comfort throughout your journey.
Using Eye Drops Before and During the Flight
Eye drops can provide instant relief for dry and irritated eyes and are an essential tool in preventing dry eyes during flights.
Choosing the Right Eye Drops for Dry Eyes
Not all eye drops are created equal when it comes to treating dry eyes. Look for eye drops specifically formulated for dry eyes, as they contain ingredients that mimic natural tears and provide long-lasting relief.
Applying Eye Drops Before Boarding
To proactively prevent dry eyes, apply a few drops of lubricating eye drops before boarding the plane. This will help to moisturize your eyes and create a protective barrier against the drying effects of the cabin environment.
Using Eye Drops During the Flight
During a long flight, it’s essential to rehydrate your eyes periodically. Follow the instructions on the eye drops and apply them whenever you feel your eyes becoming dry or uncomfortable. Be mindful of other passengers as you apply the drops, and avoid touching your eyes with your hands to maintain hygiene.
Following Proper Hygiene when Using Eye Drops
When using eye drops during the flight, it’s important to follow proper hygiene practices. Wash your hands thoroughly before applying the drops to ensure that you don’t introduce any dirt or bacteria to your eyes.
Avoiding Eye Drops with Preservatives
Some eye drops contain preservatives that can cause irritation, especially when used frequently. Opt for preservative-free eye drops, as they are gentler on the eyes and suitable for frequent use during long flights.
Taking Breaks from Staring at Screens
In today’s digital age, screens are a ubiquitous presence, whether it’s your smartphone, tablet, or in-flight entertainment system. However, staring at screens for prolonged periods can contribute to eye strain and exacerbate dry eyes. Here are some tips to reduce the impact of screen time on your eyes during your flight.
Using Screen Time in Moderation
While it may be tempting to indulge in endless entertainment options during your flight, it’s important to use screen time in moderation. Take breaks from screens periodically to give your eyes a rest and minimize the strain they experience.
Practicing the 20-20-20 Rule
The 20-20-20 rule is a simple and effective way to reduce eye strain. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on an object that is at least 20 feet away from you. This exercise helps relax the eye muscles and prevents them from becoming overworked.
Adjusting Screen Brightness and Contrast
Adjust the brightness and contrast settings of your screens to a comfortable level that is not too bright or too dim. Excessive brightness can cause eye fatigue, while low contrast can strain your eyes. Find the right balance that suits your comfort.
Using Blue Light Filters on Devices
Blue light emitted by screens can disrupt sleep patterns and cause eye strain. Consider using blue light filters or apps on your devices to reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes. This can help minimize eye fatigue and promote eye comfort during your flight.
Taking Advantage of In-flight Entertainment Options
Many airlines offer a wide range of entertainment options, including movies, TV shows, and games. Take breaks from screens and explore other in-flight entertainment options, such as reading a book or listening to music. This will provide a refreshing change of focus for your eyes and reduce the strain caused by extended screen time.
Avoiding Excessive Air Conditioning
Air conditioning is a common feature on airplanes, providing a comfortable temperature for passengers. However, excessive air conditioning can contribute to dry eyes. Here are some tips for managing the impact of air conditioning on your eye moisture.
Using Air Vents Strategically
Air vents on airplanes can be adjusted to control the airflow around your seat. Avoid positioning the air vent directly towards your face, as this can cause excessive drying of your eyes. Instead, aim the vent slightly away from your face or minimize the airflow if you feel any discomfort.
Covering the Eyes with a Blanket or Scarf
To protect your eyes from the direct airflow of air conditioning, consider covering them with a blanket or a scarf. This will create a barrier between your eyes and the drying air, helping to retain moisture and prevent dryness.
Keeping the Face Moisturized
Applying a moisturizer to your face before and during the flight can help prevent excessive moisture loss. Opt for a hydrating moisturizer suitable for your skin type and reapply as needed throughout the journey.
Using Eye Drops to Counteract Dryness
As mentioned earlier, using lubricating eye drops periodically can help combat dry eyes. If you feel your eyes becoming dry due to the air conditioning, apply a few drops of moisturizing eye drops to lubricate your eyes and provide instant relief.
Using Moisturizing Eye Masks
Moisturizing eye masks are a soothing option to counteract the drying effects of air conditioning. These masks are specifically designed to hydrate the delicate skin around the eyes and can be applied during the flight to provide relief and prevent dryness.
Using Eye Masks to Reduce Eye Strain
Eye strain can occur during a long flight, especially if you’re using screens or reading for extended periods. Using eye masks can help reduce eye strain and promote relaxation. Here’s how to use eye masks effectively.
Choosing Moisturizing Eye Masks
Opt for moisturizing eye masks that are infused with soothing ingredients, such as aloe vera or cucumber extract. These masks not only provide instant relief for tired eyes but also help hydrate and nourish the delicate skin around the eyes.
Applying Eye Masks Throughout the Flight
During your flight, apply the eye masks according to the instructions provided. Make sure to position them properly to cover your closed eyes and enjoy the soothing and cooling sensation they provide. Using eye masks can help relax your eye muscles and minimize eye strain.
Ensuring Eye Masks are Clean and Sanitary
Before applying an eye mask, ensure that your hands are clean to avoid introducing bacteria or dirt to your eyes. Additionally, make sure the eye masks are individually packaged and have not been tampered with to ensure their cleanliness and sanitation.
Using Eye Masks with Soothing Ingredients
When choosing eye masks, look for those that contain soothing ingredients like chamomile or lavender. These ingredients have calming properties that can help relax your eye muscles and reduce any tension or discomfort.
Taking Advantage of Eye Masks’ Therapeutic Benefits
Beyond reducing eye strain, eye masks offer therapeutic benefits by promoting relaxation and aiding in restful sleep. The dim lighting on the airplane combined with the comforting sensation of the eye mask can create a calming environment that promotes well-being and comfort.
By wearing glasses instead of contacts, choosing the right glasses, and implementing these tips, you can effectively prevent dry eyes during your flight. As you embark on your air travel adventure, prioritize your eye comfort, and enjoy your journey to the fullest. Safe travels!