Traveling and scleral lenses, part 2

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the good wishes for my trip! We had an amazing time, despite some travel hiccups. I posted pictures in a blog post last week.

Today, I wanted to share a few highlights from my trip and also pull together a synopsis of the many, many super thoughtful tips readers shared in response to the original blog post (people shared in the blog comments but also by email).

Take-homes from my trip 

I won't bore you with the play-by-play, but here were my key notes to self from this trip:

Pack earlier

Sigh. After posting all my good intentions about thoughtful packing of my eye gear, the reality ended up being that I suddenly realized it was 10pm on Saturday night, I was still at the office, and my airport ride was coming at 2:30, so I rushed home and realized too late I didn't have with me the moisture chambers that I needed (as well as lid care items that I had wanted). I had a beat-up pair of 7Eye sunglasses and that's what I relied on most during the trip, which was fine, but it would have been nice to have Zienas in flight.

Airports can be rough

In terms of actual discomfort I think the airports were harder than the flights. 

I had about 8 hours at SFO and that was definitely the roughest - I had some work to do and couldn't motivate myself to find a better place to do it.

Then when we got to Istanbul our flight was a couple hours late so we missed our connection and had to overnight in Istanbul... but not before walking about 4 miles in the airport and getting visas, but not our luggage, and then waiting for awhile for the hotel shuttle, then 45 minutes in a shuttle with fans. Pretty sure i had baby erosions by the end of those flights - I was extremely light sensitive when we landed - so that night was the hardest, and I just kept my 7Eyes on tight as much as possible.

Vacations are relaxing

I think, truthfully, many of us just don't think about our eyes as much when we're having fun. I had a lot of fun. And I didn't think about my eyes very much.

Readers' tips: Scleral lenses

Here are suggestions in the blog post comments

  • UNIQUE PH: I just returned from a few weeks h in Europe. As Rebecca suggested, I used Unique pH to disinfect. I had to vigorously rinse the cup-side of the scleral lenses (with PF saline) after disinfecting the lenses in Unique pH. Otherwise Unique pH would cause tiny bubbles in the saline added to the cup before insertion.
  • LENS HANDLING IN FLIGHT; SALINE SUPPLIES: For me, I fly without them in. I clean the tray table excessively and use a microfiber towel…making sure the suction remover is secured to the lens and then go really slow. Airplane restrooms are the grossest and if the lens falls on the floor..I’m LEAVING it! I always travel with a spare pair and enough Nutrifill to last twice the duration of the trip and then some!
  • MIRROR: My husband uses these lenses, we carry a small mirror with us for him to put in and take out the lenses.
  • MIRROR AND LIGHT: I also have a travel magnifying mirror (they come in 10X, 12X and 20X) and a small battery-operated LED light which I need to see what I’m doing. On overseas flights, especially at night, they turn off the cabin lights and overhead seat lights don’t work for me. Good luck!
  • LENS HANDLING IN FLIGHT AGAIN: I got a collapsible valet tray for inserting/removing in my seat. The corners snap to make the tray and then unsnap for easy packing. I place the microfiber in the tray.
  • PLASTIC BAG FOR SUPPLIES: One more thing – I keep all my carry on supplies in a tall clear plastic bag (the kind sold at CVS that come with a set of travel toiletries bottles). It fits everything I need (full bottles of Purilens, Boston Simplus, small bottle of optical hand soap, alcohol pads, travel mirror, lid scrub pads, plungers, PF eye drops). And it has a red handle at the top so it is easy to find and remove everything from my carry-on bag. Look for the tall one, not the shorter, wider one.
  • GLOBAL ENTRY: I signed up for Global Entry a long time ago and find that domestically TSA is pretty forgiving about carry-on liquids (plus you get to skip the long lines and don’t have to remove shoes, light jackets , belts, etc.) I haven’t had a problem in foreign airports, either. When I first got my sclerals I asked my doctor to write a letter stating that my sclerals are “medically necessary” and that I need access when I travel to all the liquids which she listed (you might be able to add your hydrogen peroxide). I have never had to present the letter, though.

And a question:

Q: One question: what is MPS?
A: Multi-purpose solution, e.g. Unique pH, Tangible Clean, Boston Simplus - as opposed to hydrogen peroxide systems.

More tips re: dry eye while flying

First, one from the blog comments:

KEEPING MOIST IN FLIGHT: I live in Melbourne Australia and have managed long-haul flights by a combination of WileyX goggles during meals and visits to the bathroom, and Tranquileyes with moistened unscented makeup remover pads when resting and listening to audiobooks. I also use an eye ointment when attempting to sleep.... The type of aircraft can make a huge difference. I try to look for the newer ones such as the Boeing 787s which have a more humid cabin atmosphere and are pressurised to a lower altitude.  Those Blinkjoys will be great for me as I’m a side-sleeper and the Tranquileyes buckles dig into my face.

Next, this came in by email - a whole collection of terrific advice from a veteran traveler who crosses the Atlantic regularly:

  • I wear a cap (or backless hat like a baker boy) to stop overhead vents (which i close but often get draughts from other people).
  • I take an instant self heating eye bag for a hot compress on the plane/car (Amazon has loads of them sold as self heating spa eye masks). This also helps to remove ointment towards the end of a flight.
  • I put ointment in before the plane takes off (usually in the toilet but if I do it at my seat I will ask my neighbours not to jiggle me while I do it but never at my seat if I am on an aisle) and I carry a x10 magnifying mirror with LED light which I use to see clearly.
  • I wear Ziena on a glasses chain around my neck. I have a pair for normal use and a pair for reading/tv. Both on chains so I don’t have to put them down on anything if I am attending to my eyes or doing drops. I swap between them during the flight but if my eyes are particularly sore I use eyeseals and ointment on the flight.
  • I ask to board early (I have an allergy so I’m allowed) and I wipe down the whole area I’m in. This reduces the risk of me inadvertently touching my eyes with dirty hands. I use anti bac hand wipes often during the flight. I prefer wipes to gel and I can clean my phone with them or my Ziena if I ever drop them (it happens sometimes despite the glasses chain). I also use flight pressure relieving earplugs so I use the wipes to clean those too. If I go into the toilet I put a hand towel down before placing any drops/mirror/phone on to a surface.
  • I use drops as well as ointment. I wear cargo pants to keep ointment handy in a leg pocket but if not I wear a waist bag (fanny pack? Bum bag?) so I always have my essentials on me.
  • I use special eye wipes (Blephaclean in the UK) to remove migrated ointment from my skin when I land.
  • I carry a travel safe pen knife which has scissors (mine is Victorinox Jet setter) in case travel wipes don’t open nicely.
  • I drink constantly. Usually water and tea but I do drink lots of water and zero alcohol. I eat melon/watermelon as hydrating food.
  • I travel with spare Ziena and spare nose pads for Ziena having learnt from experience that things can break while you are away and it causes anxiety if you can’t get what you need.
  • I take lots of spare everything medication-wise. I take it in original packaging with a prescription. I also carry a copy of my latest eye consultant letter. I have been asked many times to show my passport and the security person has checked every box against my name to ensure it is my medication. If I have more than the allowance of liquids I explain that the boxes take up space and without the boxes my liquids would fit into the allowance. I take everything I need and more in hand luggage with extras in the hold luggage. I have spare medication for this reason and I make sure I check all use by dates.
  • I take instant eye bags and a heat wand (no vibrations) as a hot compress if a microwave is not available during my trip. I recently did a week trip and managed with the heat wand (remember to pack the charging cable and adaptor) for a week. I do not have a blephasteam.
  • I take a decongestant nose spray and anti histamine tablet for emergency use if I have a cold and need to clear my passages. These are bad for dry eyes so I only use them in an emergency.

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