I Believe Eye Can Fly!!

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Dr. Anand Shroff

Posted By : Dr. Anand Shroff - MS (OPHTH), FICS

Posted On : Oct 18, 2007 (Views : 4156)

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I Believe Eye Can Fly!!

How airplane travel can affect your EYES and Tips on avoiding problems

Temperatures are warming up across the country and before you know it, it'll be time for summer vacation again. As soon as school lets out for the summer, Indians are expected to start heading to the airports in record numbers; but unless you plan ahead especially being health wise, you may run into some unexpected and unpleasant surprises.

The dry air in the cabins of modern jets causes rapid evaporation of tears from the eyes surface. Without sufficient moisture the cornea, which is the transparent "watchglass" that lies over the iris (coloured part of the eye) can be deprived of oxygen and cause your eyes to become irritated.


  • Redness

  • Scratchy feeling in the eyes

  • Vision can get blurred

What makes symptoms worse?

Reading on the plane adds to the problem because you tend to blink less frequently when you read, leading to more evaporation of moisture from the eyes.

Wearing your contact lenses during a long flight can result in symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. This problem can occur with all types of contact lenses: hard, soft, gas permeable, or extended-wear.

When contact lenses are worn, oxygen reaches the cornea either through the lenses or dissolved in tears that flow under the lenses. The dry air in the cabin also evaporates the water from the contact lenses

Hence, if you are a contact lens wearer, it is better to wear spectacles in flight.

How can you avoid problems?

It is a good idea to put moisture-containing eye drops in your eyes during a flight as often as you feel they are necessary. The drops may be artificial tears or the lens lubricant or saline solution that you use.

Airline personnel who wear contacts and have discomfort should always use these drops routinely.

It may be wiser to remove the contacts and wear your eyeglasses when flying.

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