Health Watch — The Eyes Have It: Flying Dry

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.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about advances in eye care. It’s now possible to correct vision in new ways and prevent many causes of vision loss or blindness. Previously, we mentioned a new way to diagnose dry eye syndrome earlier. But even people who don’t have this disorder may find their eyes drying out on airplanes.

Dr. James McCulley, chairman of ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the low humidity on airplanes causes tears to dry out faster than normal, and that can leave you with a dry, gritty feeling in your eyes. You can make your eyes more comfortable by using over-the-counter moisturizing drops regularly while on a plane or in a dry climate — as often as every hour. Contact lens wearers may face even more discomfort on airplanes. Dr. McCulley recommends removing contact lenses during flights, as well as using moisturizing drops.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in eyes (ophthalmology). 


April 2008

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