My First Travel Experience With Dry Eye

Last updated: October 2022

Not long ago I had the pleasure of going on a short trip with a good friend. For days prior to leaving, I was nervous about all of my health issues in general. Having everything I may need packed and ready is always a priority for me. Trips tend to be a bit nerve-wrecking for this reason, for me. But this time even more so.

For starters, this was the first time I have gone anywhere without my parents in close to a decade. In addition, this was also only the second time I’ve traveled since getting my new scleral lens and being diagnosed with chronic dry eye. And let’s just say I wasn’t completely prepared for that!

Change of plans

At first, my friends and I were going to go to Starved Rock, which is a gorgeous state park here in Illinois. I love to be out in the forest, so I figured everything was going to be great. However, life happens, and plans change. We’re not always quite ready for that, no matter how much we try to be.

Unfortunately, a couple of days before the trip, one of my friends lost her grandmother, so she could no longer go. Me and my other friend then had to change plans entirely. This meant changing the location, timing, and everything else! I don’t do too well with last-minute changes in the first place. It stresses me out all around. Then, the stress just causes more health symptoms, such as my TSW and eczema skin flare-ups, gut issues, allergies, and of course – dry eye.

Being by the windy lake dried my eyes out

The new location we decided on was right on the beach on Lake Michigan. I was thrilled we found a hotel for an affordable price (and with a nice lake view from the room, at that!) I packed everything, including all my medications and supplies. I even brought an extra scleral lens in the event mine broke (which is really something you never want to happen – but you never know).

However, even though I brought my lubricant eye drops, I was not thinking about how windy it would be by the lake. So, of course, I didn’t bring enough. My eyes were extra dry from being outdoors, especially by the lake. I also couldn't use my Bruder mask for these couple of nights as there was no microwave in the room, so that didn’t help either.

What I turned to

Thankfully, I got my new pair of glasses done just a couple of weeks prior to the trip. I had a feeling I may need them. My old ones were about 3 years old, scratched up, with an old prescription. I couldn’t see a thing out of them. It was time anyway. This way, I was able to alternate more between my lenses and glasses. The lenses sometimes irritate my eyes out more, so alternating definitely helps.

We were in pretty secluded spot and didn’t want to make too many trips to the store if we didn’t need to. But the second day we were there, we did stop by a Walmart for something else. So I picked up some more of my Systane preservative free vial eye drops. Crisis averted!

A good outcome

Although I was kind of worried, especially when I realized how quickly my eyes were drying out on the beach, everything turned out okay in the end. I was a bit uncomfortable at many points throughout the trip. But I was honestly having so much fun and was so focused on the scenery that I mostly forgot. When I got home, I immediately did some major dry eye therapy. That includes my Bruder mask, nighttime lubricant gel, eye drops, resting my eyes more, etc.

So, all in all, it was a great trip. And now I learned that when I’m traveling – I DEFINITELY have to consider the climate and area of where I am going. I typically do this because of my allergies and skin but tend to forget with my eyes at times. So, this was a great lesson in that, and I was still able to have fun while learning it. Win-win, if you ask me!

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