A person smiling on a bench with binoculars in a lush park where people are enjoying outdoor activities.

Navigating Summer Vacation with Dry Eye

Normally, I look forward to summer as a carefree time of rest and adventure. I’m a school teacher, so I have a lot of freedom to travel and do things that are out of the ordinary during the summer months.

Last year, my family toured the state of Colorado with almost no planning beforehand; we took each day one at a time, finding hotel rooms the day we arrived in each new town. But this summer was different because of my dry eyes.

Anxious to travel

To be honest, I was anxious about traveling and taking part in normal summer activities. I wasn’t looking forward to summer vacations like I had in past years. A difficult school year in which I battled my eyes continuously left me feeling anything but carefree. I was on a rigid schedule to maintain some semblance of eye comfort. And leaving the comfort zone of my home for a trip felt a little scary.

A couple of weeks after school ended, I noticed a slight improvement in my eyes, possibly due to a more relaxed, low-stress schedule. My family and I began making plans for vacation, and I decided to just “go for it,” regardless of my worries about different climates and how they would affect my eyes.

I even committed to work for a week at the overnight summer camp that my kids would be attending. With a little planning, our vacation in Oklahoma with friends and my time at summer camp was a success.

Planning ahead

I started planning with my packing list. I constantly worry about forgetting my eye drops when I go somewhere, so this year I gave extra time and attention to what I would bring. I made sure to pack my heated eye mask, multiple eye drops, prescription sunglasses, and dry eye supplements. I also have a running belt with zip-up pockets. I brought this to put eye drops in when we did activities like hiking, kayaking, and ziplining.

It turns out that being fully engaged in these activities even distracted me from my dry eyes. Amazingly, I didn’t have to put in drops while doing any of them. Also, my eyes even felt better than normal because of the large amount of time I was outside in unconditioned air. And laughing and eating with friends was good medicine.

Giving me confidence

Vacation really was just what it was meant to be: a break from the difficulties of everyday life, including dry eyes. I didn’t have to worry, and this experience gave me confidence in navigating future vacations. We have one more upcoming trip, and I’m excited that I can still do the things I love.

I don’t have to let my dry eyes stop me from living life. All I need is a little planning.

Tell us in the comments below: how do you plan ahead when it comes to travel and chronic dry eye?

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