Life on the road can be tough at the best of times, but the road is littered with even greater challenges when you’re not blessed with perfect eyesight – as anyone who’s ever lost their contact lenses down a hostel sink, been unable to appreciate the beautiful sights of scuba diving, or eaten a meal indoors, in the dark, because they wore their prescription sunglasses that day, will tell you.
Whether you opt for glasses, biofinity lenses or the pricey but permanent solution of corrective surgery, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Of course you’ve got to decide which option is right for you, but it also pays to look at which option best suits the type of traveling you do. All methods have been tried, tested and traveled with by yours truly…
Pros: The easiest and least invasive option, glasses can be popped off and on as needed. This means they’re great if you only need them some of the time (for example, for reading). They can also be pretty damn stylish, and of course don’t take up much space packing. If you want to avoid going out because of the pandemic, you can still get your Eyeglasses Online.
Cons: Glasses can be a pain if you’re planning anything active, like a sports or adventure holiday – they can fall off, or fog up when you sweat. They also not an option for waterbabies, as you can’t swim or do watersports whilst wearing them – some very cool prescription goggles might be required for you, which of course will take up more space in your bag, along with the spare pair you’ve also got to bring along for the ride (you don’t want a broken lens to ruin your entire trip after all). And don’t forget the prescription sunglasses – which you’ll have to carry around with you and whip on and off whenever you go indoors or outdoors a hundred times a day – although this can be avoided by opting for the pricier transitions lenses, which adapt to the light around you.
Best for: People who only need to wear glasses some of the time or who embrace it as part of their personal style.
Worst for: Anyone planning an active holidays with lots of sports or watersports.
Pros: You can wear daily disposables that are thrown away at the end of each day, or reusable ones that last up to a month and must be cleaned each night, meaning that they can be combined with wearing glasses depending on your mood. Some lenses can even be slept in overnight. Contact lenses from camoeyes give you a freedom of movement that glasses don’t, making them ideal for more active holidays and playing sports.
Cons: You have to be very careful about avoiding eye infections, especially if traveling off the beaten track where hygiene is not at its best (alcohol gel is not the friend of travelers wearing contacts). Dust and pollution can also lead to your eyes feeling “dried out” and sore, and contact lenses are still not ideal for water sports or swimming, as they shouldn’t be worn underwater. Contact lenses are also bulky to pack, as you require enough lenses to see you through your trip as well as cleaning solution (unless you opt to buy that in your destination, which can sometimes be difficult). Liquid restrictions on flights mean that cleaning solutions often need to be decanted into a smaller container if you’re traveling with carry-on luggage only, which can be annoying.
Best for: People planning shorter trips, mostly to urban areas, or who want the freedom of not wearing glasses either for physical or aesthetic reasons.
Worst For: People planning longer trips, to more rural areas, and/or have serious space restrictions with their packing.
Pros: Having corrective eye surgery (in most cases laser eye surgery, but there are a few other options out there for those laser surgery is not suitable for) is a permanent solution meaning that your one-off investment can last decades, ultimately making it the cheapest option in the long run. It gives you the ultimate freedom to travel, meaning that no activity is off-limits to you, and you don’t need to carry anything, or think about your eyes. The procedure itself is uncomfortable but painless, has a quick recovery time, and has a very high success rate.
Cons: Obviously the very high cost is a major inhibitor for many people. Also, the procedure itself, which does involve being awake throughout surgery (although anesthetized), can be very off-putting. At the end of the day surgery is certainly a drastic solution that, if you’re perfectly happy with glasses or contact lenses, is probably not worth it.
Best for: People who want or need their eyesight to not be a factor when traveling.
Worst For: The squeamish, or people on a budget (the cost of surgery could fly you round the world in itself).
Laser surgery doesn’t have to be expensive. It cost me $600 for both eyes in Vietnam. You just have to be brave enough to get it done in Vietnam! My op was very successful and I have never regretted it.
That’s a good tip – I didn’t think of that! Tie in your surgery WITH the travelling!