Health Watch — Summer Travel: Dry Eyes

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


Whether you’re going to the beach or heading to China for the Olympics, travel can take a toll on your body. This week on Health Watch, we’ll have some tips on staying healthy while traveling. If you’re flying, your eyes may suffer. That’s because the low humidity on airplanes dries out tears faster, so your eyes may feel dry and gritty during a flight.

Dr. James McCulley, chairman of ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the effect is even worse for contact lens wearers. He suggests you not wear contact lenses on airplanes. Whether or not you wear lenses, use moisturizing eye drops regularly — about once an hour — throughout the flight. Make sure the drops are for moisture and not for removing redness. People whose eyes are normally dry may need to use the drops more often. You also might experience a similar dry-eye effect in dry climates, such as in the desert.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/ophth to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in eyes (ophthalmology).

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July 2008

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