Your Eyes and Plane Travel

Since the borders have opened up, we are now starting to resume air travel and long-haul flights.

But for some people, flying can cause considerable discomfort for the eyes, so here are a few thoughts on how to keep your eyes in top shape for your flight.

The main issue is that pressurised planes have very low humidity conditions and this can cause dryness or exacerbate dry eye, especially for contact lens wearers.

Here are some tips to help avoid dry eyes when travelling:

  1. Stay hydrated: drink water before and during your flight
  2. Avoid or limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks which can cause fluid loss
  3. Use lubricating eye drops (speak to your Optometrist as to which ones are best)
  4. Avoid wearing contact lenses and wear your spectacles instead
  5. Wear an eye mask to try to reduce the amount of dry air reaching your eyes
  6. Close the air vent, to reduce the amount of evaporation of your tear film
  7. Take regular breaks, if you are reading or watching a screen

If you are a contact lens wearer, the best option is to wear spectacles for the flight especially if you don’t depart until late in the day. Late afternoon or evening departures usually mean that contact lenses have already been worn for long periods before departure and your eyes need their regular break from contact lenses.

Also don’t forget that facilities for removing and inserting contact lenses during the flight are far from ideal (from a hygiene perspective) and it is easy to lose a contact lens under these circumstances. Whether you are able to sleep properly or only doze during the flight, you will be better off wearing spectacles so you do not risk any issues related to overwear of your contact lenses.