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4 Airplane Tips to Make Dry Eyes Fly AWAY

I'm on a 4 hour flight as I'm writing this blog post. I get asked quite a bit by patients for tips to make their travel experience more comfortable for their eyes. Dryness and dry eyes are the number 1 concern. Here are a few easy . . . really easy ways to make that trip about your destination and not about your eyes. 


1. If you wear contact lenses, don't.

Wear glasses instead. The airpane air is recycles air and it's super dry. Yuck. By the end of even 1 hour you will start to feel it. Contact lenses are selfish little things as they will soak up all of the moisture left in your eyes and will leave them feeling wallpapered to your corneas. Ouch! Perhaps your current glasses are too ugly to wear in public so your'e forced to wear your contacts on an airplane? Poor excuse. You MUST invest in a pair of glasses that you are proud to wear in public. No exceptions. And BTW . . . airports are notorious for bumping into an ex, so you better look your best.


2. Use artificial tears.

1 drop, both eyes, every hour. 

 Wouldn't it be magical if airlines started handing out artificial tears instead of peanuts?? 

It sounds like a lot of drops, but the goal of these artificial tears is to lubricate the entire eye (the white part, the cornea and under the eyelids) to PREVENT symptoms of dryness. My preference is the preservative free artificial tear variety versus the bottle. Think of it as a fresh apple versus a dried apple. Which one is healthier? Preservative free artificial tears come in little vials. I just recap the vial until I've used all 9 drops. I heart Blink, Refresh and Systane brand preservative free artificial tears. 


3. No eye makeup. Yikes!

This might prove brutal and impossible for you, but it certainly helps. Eye makeup from a doctor's perspective is an allergen . . . meaning that makeup particles are always found in the tears of the eye thanks to gravity and the up and down motion of the blink. Makeup particles are an allergen and cause symptoms of itch, redness and dryness. Instead of your tears working hard to flush out makeup debris (because that's what tears do), your tears can be used solely to hydrate your eyes. And in a dry environment like an airplane, you will need ally the help you can get.


4. Close your eyes. 

The best lubricating position of the eyes is when your eyes are closed. The tissue of the under side of the eyelid called the conjunctiva contain thousands of capillaries that nourish and hydrate when the eyelids are in the closed position. When your eyes are open on an airplane, they are exposed to that super dry air and your tears begin to quickly evaporate. If you can take a nap or sleep, that's the best!!

Safe and comfortable travels. To Hawaii, right?