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How to Treat Dry or Irritated Eyes During a Long Flight

plane in the sky

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many Victorians will be hopping on a flight to join families for the long weekend. None of us really mind a short flight, other than the cumbersome check-in dance we all have to do prior to boarding. But a long flight is a whole nother story, am I right? A vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing, but if you have irritated eyes, an unintended effect of long flights, your trip can take a turn for the worse.


You’re in the air, but your eyes are feeling the burn…

A lot of us don’t enjoy flying, right? Well, your eyes hate it too! The poor air quality found on airplanes can make vacation-goers’ eyes dry and irritated, especially for contact lens wearers. The reason why this occurs is because the cabin air found in planes is of a lower humidity than air found on the ground. In other words, the air is dryer.

passengers on airplane


What You Can Do To Avoid Dry, Irritated Eyes

The next time you’re flying follow Dr. Sharma’s three tips for happy eyes:

  • If you can, do not wear contacts
  • If you do wear contacts, bring a pair of glasses and or extra contacts/solution
  • Pack artificial tears or a similar lubricant to help aid in adding moisture to dry eyes


pouring water in glass


You’ve arrived at your holiday destination, now what?

Just because you are on the ground doesn’t mean your eyes won’t be irritated. If you are staying in a hotel or vacationing somewhere with a different temperature, say somewhere hot and humid, eye irritation can still occur. These tips can help prevent irritated eyes while on vacation:

  • Asking for an air humidifier from your hotel concierge
  • Turning down the air conditioning in your hotel room
  • Wearing sunglasses, especially while engaging in water sport activities
  • Wearing a hat
  • Packing artificial tears (or a similar eye lubricant)
  • Being hydrated (especially if you’re planning on having a few drinks)
  • Taking the prescribed medication(s) for those with medical eye conditions

It’s also a good idea to ask your family eye doctor for their advice if you are flying, and have an eye condition. They can advise on any extra precautions you should take.

Follow these tips so the next time you fly, your eyes are on cloud nine too! Your eyes will thank you.


Do you need to see a Victoria, BC optometrist? Give us a call or easily book online with Dr. Sharma. 

We love helping people see their very best!