As the holiday season rolls around, many people are gearing up for their travels and preparing for a safe trip. While it is important to pack your bags and make sure your plane tickets are ready or your gas tank is filled, it is equally important to make sure you are in good health to travel.
Eye health is particularly important while traveling, as you rely on your vision for so many aspects of your trip. Whether you are navigating an airport or a turnpike, you should always have an up-to-date eye exam and prescription eyewear (if needed) before you head to your destination.
What do I need out of my eye exam?
Depending on your age and medical history, you could have several screenings and tests you may want to consider including in your exam. A complete eye exam consists of 5 tests that detect glaucoma. While many people don’t experience these kinds of changes in their eye health until the age of 40, your doctor may recommend getting tested much earlier, especially if you have a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some other high-risk factors.
These tests measure the inner eye pressure, a complete field of vision, shape, and color of the optic nerve, the thickness of the cornea, and the angle at which the iris meets the cornea. All of these factors can help detect the presence of glaucoma and are important to an accurate diagnosis.
Of course, you are also going to have an examination of your prescription to see if it is still working for you. Prescription eyewear is not a “one-and-done” kind of deal. Prescriptions for corrective lenses are only valid for one year, and that is because our eyes can change that frequently. It is important not only for your comfort but also for the safety of others that you receive routine eye exams to check your current prescription and have updated corrective lenses made if necessary.
Even if you have never worn glasses before, this doesn’t mean that you will never need them. Remember that while you are traveling, others are depending on your eyesight for their safety as well, so always keep your exam and prescription current.
Other tips for your travels
When you’re packing your suitcase, there are a few items you will want to bring along to help make your trip more comfortable on your eyes:
- Eye drops. Whether they are prescription or over the counter, you will want to include these in your carry on. Airplanes tend to have dry air that can make you more susceptible to dry eye and allergy flare-ups. When you are driving, going prolonged periods without blinking can also cause dry eye. This can be very painful, and you don’t want anything to stand in the way of your holiday plans. A few drops of your preferred eye drops can make a difference when you’re stuck on a long flight or when you stop to fill up on gas on the road.
- Extra contact lenses and solution. Misplacing a lens or spilling solution is such an easy thing to do. Having some reserved for emergencies is always a good idea when traveling. Remember to bring your glasses as well in case your eyes become irritated and you are unable to put in your contacts.
- If you have them, a back-up pair of glasses and your prescription sunglasses. Whether your destination is a sunny beach or a wintery wonderland, there are going to be moments that you’ll want some UV protection. A back-up pair of glasses can also save you a lot of time and money if you happen to misplace your regular glasses.
- A copy of your prescription. Losing your glasses can put a huge dent in your holiday plans. Whether you leave your sunglasses in an Uber or your eyeglasses break by accident, you may find yourself needing to get a new pair. Having your prescription on hand is always helpful as several one-hour labs across the country can get you a replacement pair in little to no time. If you need a copy of your up-to-date prescription, come by our office and we would be happy to print a copy for your records.