I don’t know about you but I love to travel – and my kids have been bitten by the travel bug since their first trip to Fiji in 2014. Over the years we’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Bali, Sydney, Melbourne, Hawaii, USA, Canada and Hong Kong for work and holidays. What lucky kids I have!
Sometimes there have been a few challenges we’ve faced when dealing with Dane’s contact lens and then both kids in glasses. So I thought I would share some of our experiences and some top tips.
Dane wears a RGP (hard) lens so there might be different protocols for soft lenses. The first trip we took to Fiji we headed in with the best of intentions to leave his lens in and do some patching (he was only on 4 hours a day at that stage). After day one of sand, sunscreen, pool and ocean we realised that it was going to be a lost cause. So we made the decision to leave his contact lens out for the week and just have a week off patching. I don’t believe there were any long term problems caused by this decision – but we did notice that his eye was more sensitive when putting the lens back in and his mild turn was a little more noticeable for a week or two. It did also take a little more encouragement to get him to patch for a few days. Once he got back into routine though, it was smooth sailing again. From then on, any trips to beach locations we just left his lens out.
Dane on our first family trip – to Fiji. He still had his contact lens in here but we very quickly gave up on it for the rest of the week.
Obviously the decision to leave a contact lens out and not patch is going to be at the parent’s discretion and would be worth talking to your eye care professional about. Our ophthalmologist was on board with leaving it out, saying that one week wouldn’t hurt him. We figured that there had been times he’d had conjunctivitis and corneal abrasions and couldn’t wear his lens for that amount of time so it was just like that but way more fun.
Tips on what to pack for your contact lens wearing kid
Obviously you’ll need to take your contact lens kit – contact lens case, cleaner, saline, solution, plungers (if you use them), rewetting drops and a backup lens if you have one. We also take along a roll of paper towel and some antibacterial hand soap, as well as a hand sanitizer gel for emergencies. When we were in countries where the quality of the tap water was a bit dubious, I would wash my hands in purified bottled water. We felt that this just minimised the risk of germs and particularly Acanthamoeba.
Wearing contact lenses on planes
This one is a hot topic and there appears to be no hard and fast rule. We found that Dane’s eye would dry out pretty quickly on flights so on short flights less than 3 hours, we would put rewetting drops in just before the flight and then on an hourly basis. On longer flights we would take his lens out.
A hot tip about liquids on international flights
On one trip, I had the saline and solution confiscated going through border control because they contained greater than 100mls of liquid (as an aside, I also had Rafferty’s Garden baby food confiscated because it was considered a liquid!). From then on, I would only travel with rewetting drops, plunger and case in my carry on and put everything else in to checked luggage. Even when we travel internationally and he doesn’t wear the contact lens on the plane, I tend to keep his lens in my carry on just because I’d hate for it to be lost – they’re so expensive!
Both my kids wear glasses, as do I, and we’re all long sighted so need our glasses to watch the little screens, iPads and read books on flights. Fortunately all of us can get by without glasses but if my child relied on them, I would most definitely take a backup pair of glasses with me. To keep them safe I’d put them in my carry on and put a rubber band around the case just to stop it from popping open. Even when Dane doesn’t wear his contact lens he still wears his glasses just so his stronger eye gets a bit of support – it can get a bit worn out watching 6-8 hours of movies!
If you wear glasses you can sit in this row! The three of us all ready for our flight – and hours of watching movies.
If you’re going to a beach location and have an older pair or backup pair of glasses, it might be a good idea to wear those to the beach. Sand can be nasty on lenses and get stuck in all sorts of nooks and crannies in your kid’s glasses. If they’re little, you can use glasses straps to keep glasses in place or even a dummy clip attached to their swimmers so if they fall off they won’t go far.
If they’re swimming in their glasses (at the beach or pool), it’s a great idea to take some water and lens cleaning wipes with you. This will just help give them a quick clean so your child can see through them well.
This is kind of a weird one but whether it’s a road trip or a flight, your kiddo is probably going to be watching a screen and will require headphones so you don’t have to listen to 30 episodes of Paw Patrol. My kids and I find it quite uncomfortable to wear headphones when we have our glasses on. The ear part pushes the arms of the glasses down onto your ears which gets a bit sore after awhile. We need to test some other brands of headphones (currently it’s the Aldi headphones for us) but I saw these cool kids headphones which might just do the trick. I personally can’t stand having ear buds in my ears but the way these are designed might work. They’re called CozyPhones. There seem to be some knock-off versions on eBay if you don’t want the real deal.
I know I bang on about sun safety for kids’ eyes all the time but I live at the beach so I know how important sunglasses are. I do find I’m not as reliant on them when I’m in the southern states but in Queensland, at the beach and even in the snow, they are absolutely vital. Most kids’ glasses (actual glasses, not sunglasses) will have UV protection in them so it’s just the glare that will bother them. But if you do have glasses with Transitions lenses or similar, they’re definitely worth considering for your holiday. Prescription sunglasses might also be worth considering. And of course if you have other children that don’t wear contacts or glasses, they should have sunglasses that meet Australian safety standards, like our Gaard Eyewear sunglasses.
Sunglasses were an absolute must in Bali – so were hats! This was taken right before both kids were swamped by adoring Indonesian tourists who thought my fair skinned, blue eyed kids were something special. Dane was freaked out.
So these are just some of the tips and tricks we’ve found on our travels over the years. I know travelling is not something everybody likes to do or can do but if you get the chance, I’m sure your kids will love it. Sure there are a few extra things you’ll need to think about if you have a child that wears contact lenses or glasses but it’s just another thing to add on to your packing list!