The dehydrating effects of flying do not only affect the skin, eyes can also suffer particularly if you wear contact lenses or are using a laptop. Resealable eye drops could be the answer, Clinitas Soothe is available in small 0.5ml vials and contain enough treatment for even a long haul flight.
Gareth Thomas of Cambridge-based Altacor, a specialist ophthalmic products company, explains that there is more to tears than salty water.
“Lubrication of the eye is very sophisticated. The eye is bathed in a film of tears every time you blink. This film has a watery inside contained by an oily outside layer to reduce evaporation, and a lubricant on the innermost layer nearest the eyeball. These delicate layers can easily be disrupted by the very low humidity in the cabin of an aircraft or indeed a drier, dusty environment at your destination.
“In drier conditions the tear volume is less and evaporates more easily creating dry spots on the corneal surface. But the problem is easily remedied.”
Humidity in airline cabins can run as low as 5% during flights, which can cause dry eye, dry skin, dry mouth and nasal passages, fatigue and jet lag. This is because at cruising altitudes, external air is very dry. After pressurising and conditioning, fresh air is delivered to the cabin at less than 1% RH. Although some water vapour is added to the cabin atmosphere, the relative humidity is much lower than usually experienced.
Other precautions include drinking lots of water while on flight and using the eye mask at night.
Gareth also suggests considering maintaining the use of eye drops while away to cope with air-conditioned hotels. Also bathing the eyes on arrival and gently massaging them to stimulate the oil producing glands, which thicken the tears.
Using preservative-free eye drops is safe even if you are on other medication or wear contact lenses. Clinitas Soothe has a high concentration of sodium hyaluronate, which provides a long period of relief. It also comes in resealable vials ready for a quick application as needed. Clinitas is available on prescription or from opticians and pharmacists including Boots. For more information, why not visit the Clinitas blog.
Written by Nina Beadle