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SEE CLEAR: Be sure to travel with good vision

The alphabet is a code, in that letters, or combinations of letters, are used to represent speech sounds.
The alphabet is a code, in that letters, or combinations of letters, are used to represent speech sounds. - 123RF Stock Photo

Imagine trying to relax and enjoy a vacation and your glasses break on the second day. Will you be prepared? Before a trip, many of us consider what documents, clothes and accessories we need to pack. But are you thinking about your eyesight? You can avoid a disaster by planning ahead to have clear vision for the duration of your trip.

If you wear prescription eyewear, it is a good idea to pack a spare pair in case you lose or break your favourites. Make sure the spare pair is a recent prescription and they fit well because you may get stuck wearing them for several days. Having transitions, the lenses that turn dark outside, in at least one of your pairs of glasses is convenient because they can also serve as a backup to your sunglasses.

Before your trip, make sure that you have a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Regardless if you wear prescription or don’t, good quality polarized sunglasses cut glare, protect your eyes and give you a better vision experience.

Buy local from a licenced optician or optometrist who will help you choose a pair that looks good, offers good coverage, and will adjust them to fit you. Be sure to buy sunglasses at least a few days or weeks ahead of your trip because sometimes more than one adjustment is necessary. On your trip, enjoy the sights in all their glory. Travelling is all about the experience so don’t use your trip to break in a new pair of shades.

Always keep spare eyewear in a hard case in your carry-on luggage. Also pack a couple of cleaning cloths, a small bottle of spray and a copy of your most recent prescription. If you are doing any activities around the water, a cord or cable is a good idea to prevent them from falling in the water.

Do you wear contact lenses? Contact lenses are a great option for travel, especially for rainy days! There are contact lenses available to fit nearly every prescription so don’t be afraid to ask your optometrist or optician. If you have asked in the past, ask again or ask around because the technology is always improving.

If you do wear contact lenses, hopefully you are wearing daily disposables. Dailies are extremely convenient because you wear them one time and then toss them in the garbage. There are no solutions or cases that need to be carried. The best part is that dailies are cleaner and safer because if the contact lens comes into contact with nasty germs, the lens is tossed and a fresh new pair is worn the next day. Dailies are available in a wider range of prescriptions than ever before so nearly everyone could be fit with them, even people with astigmatism or who wear bifocals and progressives. Don’t wait until the last minute to be fit or refit with contact lenses. Give yourself at least a couple of weeks, or better, a month, before you travel because likely more than one appointment will be required.

When travelling with contact lenses, always make sure you pack your carry-on with many more pairs than you think you will need for the entire trip. If you are wearing monthly lenses, be sure to pack an extra case and more than enough solution. Also, you should put your contact lenses away and wear your glasses on the plane. The dry air, naps and unsanitary conditions make glasses a better choice until you reach your destination.

One last piece of advice when travelling with prescription eyewear is to take a copy of your prescription with you. Ask your optometrist to give you a copy of your most recent prescription and keep it with your other documents and essentials. In the event of needing an emergency replacement, this will speed up the process.

Ensuring good vision during your travels just requires a little bit of planning and extra packing. Be safe, see well and have a good trip!

Tanya MacPhee is a licensed optician and contact lens fitter at Mermaid Vision in Lunenburg.

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