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Dry Eyes and Air Travel


It is a common experience to have very dry eyes after long periods of time on airplanes. Everything about your surroundings while in transit, the temperature- and pressure-controlled cabin, the dry air being blown through the vents, and so on, all create an exceedingly dry environment that can easily take its toll on your eyes.

Fortunately, our eye care professionals here at Rosen Optometry are well aware of this issue, and have outlined a number of steps that you should be sure to take in order to reduce the chances of experiencing uncomfortable symptoms that often present themselves as part of what is often called “travelers' dry eye.” Below are some tips to help you avoid dry eyes when traveling:

  • Dehydration can potentially make dry eye symptoms a lot worse. Ensuring that you are sufficiently hydrated at all times, by making sure to drink before, during and after your flight, can go a long way toward preventing dry eye symptoms. Also note that alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee can increase the chances of dehydration. Therefore, those who enjoy these types of beverages in-flight should be sure to drink extra fluids, such as water, to compensate.
  • Artificial tears are another important item of defense against dry eyes. We specifically recommend Oasis Tears or FreshKote artificial tears. Having these or another brand of artificial tears with you at all times during your trip will allow you to apply them as needed.
  • Sleeping in-flight can cause your eyes to dry out significantly. If you take a nap while during your flight, you should be sure to wear an eye mask. This will help minimize the amount of dry air that reaches your eyes while you sleep, reducing the chances of waking up to dry eyes.
  • Wearing contact lenses, even under normal conditions, can encourage dry eye symptoms. This becomes even more true in especially dry air conditions, such as those present in the cabin of an airplane. Those who wear contact lenses should consider switching to a pair of glasses during the flight to decrease risk.
  • The air conditioning vent above your seat is also a source of dry air that is blown directly onto your eyes. Turning off this vent can do a great deal to prevent dry eyes.

For more information about how to save yourself the discomfort of dry eyes on your next plane trip, come see us at Rosen Optometry, today!

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