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    How travel affects your patients’ lens care habits

    Tips for preventing bad lens care behavior on the road

    We all know that how a patient cares for her contact lenses can have a potential effect on her vision, comfort, and overall lens-wearing experience. We all know that, right? It is a constant challenge to be able to inspire patients to care meticulously for their lenses when life is easy, but what happens to that care when life gets hard? What happens when their schedules are upside down, and they are on the go? Travel influences how patients wear and care for their lenses—let’s look at the how, why, and most importantly, what we can do about it.

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    What do they do?

    When a person travels, everything in her world can become hectic and rushed. When this happens, contact lens wear and care may be pretty low on the list of priorities. Most of my patients want to wear their contact lenses on vacation more than any other time. Because of this, some travelers may be novice contact lens wearers at best. Others may choose to wear their glasses or go without correction altogether, but this probably represents the minority. Most tend to shift in the opposite direction, wearing their lenses for significantly more hours than normal or even sleeping in their lenses when they normally wouldn’t. Through television and other various avenues, many consumers are aware that extended wear lenses allow people to sleep in their lenses for a week or more. So, while they may not be wearing an extended wear lens, they might use this knowledge to justify these rare indiscretions, thinking it couldn’t be that bad. Others remove their lenses daily but may not rub, rinse, and replace due to fear of running short on solution.

    More lens care: 3 reasons why lens care is still important

    Why do they do it?

    Even when travel is well planned, sometimes conscious choices are made to omit needed items. After all, space is limited. I know the real estate in my suitcase has a Beverly Hills market value! Another roadblock comes when you consider the liquid regulations for carry-on baggage. Without a three-ounce bottle on hand, the patient is more likely to abandon the solution than check the bag. And if he can’t make it to the store once on the ground, he’s left with the dilemma of reusing the solution in the case or sleeping in his lenses. Unfortunately, many consumers may not be well educated on the consequences of such behavior.

    Next: What does it matter?

    Crystal M. Brimer, OD, FAAO
    Dr. Brimer is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and Southern College of Optometry. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and ...


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