I’m not much of a traveler but I’ve flown 24+ hour trips at least a half dozen times and will embark on the next ones in late January when we head back to Cambodia.
The internet is full of advice on how to make long haul flights more enjoyable (ie: drink heavily before boarding and chase with NyQuil) but I figured I’d throw out some pointers specifically relating to the eyes.
1. Take out your contacts. The humidity in most planes is below 10%. Even compared to mile high Prescott, that’s dry.
2. Use lubricating drops before you need them. In much the same way it is better to use lotion before your hands are cracked and bleeding, it is better to use eye drops before your eyes feel like a campfire in the middle of the Sahara. My favorite brand is Systane. A drop in each eye before boarding, after eating, and after waking up works great.
3. Bring along your computer glasses. If you don’t have computer glasses then you’re working your eyes harder than you have to while reading this….but that’s for another post. Most long haul flights have personal TVs (AVOD: audio and visual on demand) and those are about the same distance as your computer monitor.
4. Drink water. I know you don’t want to have to try to maneuver inside those tiny lavatories (who in the world calls ‘em lavatories outside the airplane world anyway?) or bother your seatmates but this is more important than those annoyances. Oh and for some more lavatory laughs, check out Mike Rowe’s (from Dirty Jobs fame) Facebook post.
Drink water the day before travel and the day of. If you start out well hydrated, then you don’t have to try and make up for it on the plane (bad idea). This is especially important as caffeinated beverages and alcohol are diuretics and dry you out.
5. Take a nap and use your eyeshades. These will help prevent further drying of the eyes (notice a theme?). Along with super dry air, the cabin has air constantly flowing through it. You might not feel this breeze but your eyes do.
6. Buy a first class seat. Your eyes will feel much better I’m sure.