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Shivan

5 Tips to a Happier Holidays – Optometrist’s perspective

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The holidays are fast approaching. Kiwis, it’s time to escape the make-shift home office (thanks to this pandemic) and enjoy a domestic holiday (also, thanks to this pandemic).

Whether that be sunbathing on a Kiwi beach, surrounding yourself in Kiwi nature, or even relaxing in your Kiwi house, it is important to make sure you are prepared in regards to your eyesight and vision.

Preparation? If you are getting a little anxious even thinking about preparation, don’t worry! I’ve included simple tips to ensure your friends and family are ready for what can happen to your eyes. So you can relax and enjoy your Kiwi holiday.

Even if you are practitioner, I’d encourage you to read on. I’ve provide some advice you can pass on to your patients. And I’d love it if you gave me any feedback on anything I’ve missed or could have explained better.

For those reading this in 100 years, as an aside, I writing this during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, the mention of ‘Kiwi’ one-hundred times. However, most of these tips can apply at any time, when ever you go on holiday.

Tip #1 – A Spare Pair

In a recent post, I strongly advocate carrying a spare pair of spectacles.

On holiday, you are out of your routine. This is especially if you are creature of habit. If you are used to having your glasses in the same place (e.g. on the bedside table, in the open case facing the window), then a holiday presents a new environment. A new place to place your glasses where you may not find them again.

No matter how careful you are. They get lost. Sorry to hit you with the reality of being human.

Also, being holiday doesn’t mean you are exempt from accidents. Newsflash! They happen, and glasses break.

Even if you need your glasses repaired, the closest repair station could be closed or it could take days.

This is why I advise getting a spare pair.

And taking it with your of course!

Tip #2 – Hold onto your Prescription

Normally, this would apply to those who travel overseas, but this is pandemic time. This also applies if you are faraway from home for a long period of time. Hold onto you prescription.

If you lose or break your glasses and have a decent time left on holiday, you can head over to the nearest optometrist and get replacement glasses made up. This process can be easier if you have your prescription on hand.

Not only this, it would also be a good opportunity to stress the importance of having regular eye examinations. This means you would have an up-to-date prescription. When you get new glasses, you can be assured it will give you the most comfortable vision without the need for another eye examination. This saves you time.

You can normally request your prescription at the end of you eye examination. However, it is in your best interest to get glasses made up at the place you had your eye examination because they can guarantee the prescription. In addition to this, selecting and dispensing glasses requires expert opinion, which is what an optometrist clinic provides.

Tip #3 – For Contact Lens wearers: Please Take Your Glasses

Even if you intend to wear your contact lenses for the entire holiday, please take your glasses as a back up.

Your eyes need a break from contact lens wear. When are good times to take a break? These include:

Times to do that include when you get back from holiday activities and you are resting at home. Or when you are having a lazy day.

  • Resting at holiday home base from your holiday activities
  • When you are having a lazy day (which is perfectly okay on holiday)

Glasses are a good backup to prevent contact lens over-wear. Additionally, at the unfortunate and rare time you do get an eye infection, it is recommended that you cease contact lens wear (and also see an eye care professional). You can only resume contact lens wear once you infection is fully cleared and have been given to all clear to stop treatment.

Another option to explore, if possible, is using daily disposables. These are contact lenses that you insert for the day and discard when you are done. This can be more convenient when you are on holiday since you do not have to worry about cleaning your lenses at the end of the day; you can insert fresh ones the following day.

Tip #4 – Take a Cleaning Cloth (Microfiber) and Spray

On a beach or in the bush, your glasses will get dirty. If you do not have a spray or cleaning cloth available, using tissues or the fabric of your clothing to clean your glasses is likely going to damage the coating.

This is because tissues and clothes fabric collect debris and dust that is good at removing the coating of your lenses, scratching them.

A glasses cleaning cloth or microfiber cloth and lens spray is usually a good idea to carry around. Spray the lenses and using the cleaning cloth to clean your glasses. This will ensure good vision and undamaged lenses. It is also important to cold the wash the cleaning cloth every one to two weeks to ensure the cloth is clean.

If a whole bottle of lens cleaner is a bit too much to carry, consider taking disposable lens wipes with you.

Tip #5 – Protect you eyes with Sunglasses

I’m writing this in New Zealand and its summertime. The sun is at its most strongest now, and this is where Ultraviolet light is at its highest.

Sunglasses are not only comfortable with bright lights and fashionable if you care about that as well, they also provide protection against ultraviolet (UV) light. I talk more about the damage caused by UV light in a previous post, but its worth mentioning again.

The cornea (front layer of the eye) and the lens absorb most of the UV light. That means excessive UV light is likely to damage these structures, resulting in pterygium, cataract and photokeratitis.

To avoid this, it is important that you sunglasses come with UV400 protection.

In New Zealand and Australia, this is a standard for all sun glasses sold.

In addition to this, the grade of the tint is also important to consider, which determines the amount of tint the lens has. Starting at grade one with the lightest tint all the way up to grade four. This is important to know because grade two tint is the maximum allowable tint for driving, banning grade three and four.

There are also certain contact lenses that can block UV light. It is best the check with your eye care professional, which ones they are. However, sunglasses offer more coverage for your lids and skin around the eyes than contact lenses.

Conclusion

Holidays can be a good time to get away and relax.

The key is to… get away and relax. To do that you need to not to stress. Preparation is good way to avoid stress. If you have glasses and/or contact lenses, we have gone over some tips to be prepared. Following these, will lead to a relaxing holiday.

First to ensure we have a spare set of glasses.

When you are away from a extended period of time, it is wise to carry an up-to-date prescription with you. This will allow you to make up glasses somewhere else and not have to get another eye exam appointment.

If you are a contact lens wearer, take spare glasses with you. You cannot rely on just your contact lenses to be able to see clearly. This is because your eyes require a break from contact lenses.

Take a cleaning cloth designed to clean glasses as well as some lens spray. This will ensure you glasses are clean and not damaged by using inappropriate items and solutions.

Finally, you eyes are important and it is a good idea to protect them from harmful UV light using sun glasses.

I hope you found this information useful for you when you decide to go on holiday. If you know anyone who wears glasses or contact lenses and would benefit from this information, please share this with them.

As a disclaimer, I may be an optometrist, but I am not your optometrist. Please seek the appropriate care from your eye care professional for any eye problems you may have.

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