A suitcase with multiple stickers on it including a canadian flag, uk flag, some eyes, and an eye mask.

Planners Always Prosper With Dry Eye

So you’re on a day trip with your spouse and children two hours from home and it dawns on you: you’ve forgotten your dry-eye suitcase, because you are new to this horrendous disease and have not yet prepared for anything and everything. This is not a fun time (for anybody involved).

Your spouse may inevitably bear the brunt of your discomfort and misery, your kids may see you sad and quite possibly panicked like never before, and you may be scared out of your mind. The good thing is that you are reading this and most likely are not in that situation. You don’t want to be in that situation, trust me. Here I will lay out what has worked for me to avoid this situation at any cost.

How I prepare for travel

Create a checklist

If you weren’t a planner before, you are now. Everybody will have a slightly different list. Mine looks like this:

  • Moisture goggles
  • Prescription eye drops
  • Mobile humidifier that plugs into the car
  • First aid kid with instant heat/cold packs
  • Yeti mug with ice (autologous serum drops for me)
  • Locate the nearest drug store in case you need something
  • Water, water, water. I think this is huge; water can be a great thing for your eyes

Become familiar with stores around you

Do this if possible before traveling to your destination. This has helped, especially when I forgot something like artificial tears, heat compresses, or lid scrubs.

Let my doctor know I'm traveling

Something else I have learned to do is let my doctor who is treating my dry eye know that I am planning on traveling. I have been able to get an appointment right up to a few days before I left. I received IPL (intense pulse light), a good exam, and my prescriptions written out so that I could carry them with me just in case I lost my eye drops, like Xiidra.

Sometimes local eye places have sample packs they can give you to get you through. In my case, I am fortunate enough to be able to reach my dry eye specialist personally if something were to come up. Communication can go a long way, so be sure to ask your dry eye specialist how you might get a hold of them if you needed to.

Plan breaks

Plan breaks throughout your time away from home, if you can. I have taken 30 minutes a couple times a day to rest my eyes. I knew that if I didn't do that, later my eyes would NOT thank me. I noticed this tends to send me into a flare up, so I want to avoid that while traveling. I recommend a USB plug-in warming mask if that is part of your regimen. Most airports have USB plug-ins for your phone, but you could use this for your mask while you wait.

Being prepared pays off

It is important to know that most people have no idea of the depths of dry eye. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard “just put some eyedrops in,” I would be rich. I didn’t travel too much in the first year of my diagnosis for fear of the unknown, because it truly is scary and uncharted territory.

In my experience of 2 years, it has been beneficial to postpone adventures that could have an undesired impact and learn as many of the tricks on the front end, that way I'm prepared when I didn't prepare so well.

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