Tips For Keeping Your Eyes Healthy On Vacation

From purchasing new luggage and a pair of comfortable walking shoes to finding a neighbor or friend to water your houseplants, there are many chores that must be accomplished before enjoying a vacation. However, while packing and confirming your hotel reservations, there is another aspect of vacationing that most overlook, but should be remembered: your eye health. Here are a few simple tips to help ensure your eyes do not suffer while you and your family enjoy a much needed vacation:

Your Eyes Can Suffer a Sunburn, Too

Wearing sunscreen, a hat and the proper clothing can help protect your skin from a nasty burn, but did you also know your eyes are susceptible to damage and irritation caused by the sun's rays? According to the American Optometric Association, photokeratitis is damage caused to your eyes by exposure to the sun's UV rays.

According to the AOA, the symptoms of photokeratitis include:

  • The sensation of having something lodged in your eye

  • Red and watery eyes

  • Pain and sensitivity to sunlight and artificial light

Although the symptoms associated with photokeratitis generally don't last very long, if you spend several hours or days in the sun without proper protection, you can suffer more serious – and permanent – damage.

The easiest way to protect your eyes from sun damage is to wear a pair of sunglasses that feature UVA and UVB dark tinted sunglasses. In addition, wearing a hat and avoiding sunlight between the peak hours of 10 am and 2 pm are other simple ways to protect your eyes from irritation and damage.

Don't Let Dry Eye Ruin the Fun

Whether you are enjoying a vacation on the beach or hitting the slopes in a frosty part of the world, your eyes can easily become dry, red and irritated. This irritation can be caused by many things, from the wind and sun to the cold and a dry hotel room.

Luckily, there are several simple things you can do to prevent your eyes becoming dry and irritated, which can definitely put a damper on your otherwise ideal vacation:

  • Pack an OTC or prescription eye drops, and keep it with you at all times

  • Invest in a quality pair of sunglasses

  • Switch from contact lenses to your prescription glasses while in windy or dry conditions

  • Run a humidifier in the hotel, if available

  • Stay away from the heater and air conditioner, whenever possible

In addition, drinking plenty of water can help keep your eyes hydrated, which is the simplest and most refreshing way to combat irritation and redness!

When To See a Doctor

Dryness, irritation and even photokeratosis are all issues you might combat while on vacation. Luckily, in most cases it's not necessary to seek medical attention. However, there are other instances when your symptoms will warrant a trip to the nearest urgent care:

  • Severe pain and redness

  • Bleeding

  • A strange discharge

  • Damage to the eye, such as a scratch or cut

  • Eye pain that is accompanied by a headache, nausea or vomiting

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is another eye issue you might encounter. If you or any of your family members have red or pink eyes that are swollen and very irritated, it's vital to visit a doctor immediately. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious and must be treated promptly.

Protecting the health of your eyes on vacation is vital and thankfully, doesn't take a lot of time or money. Just remember to wear a quality pair of sunglasses, drink plenty of water and if you notice any signs of a serious issue, don't hesitate to visit a doctor from a site like right away!