I have terrible eyes. Really awful.
They’re very sensitive which is a pain in the butt when I travel, especially when I stay in hot, windy, dry or dusty locations—Africa being a particularly difficult nemesis. It sucks.
Add in long plane rides, time staring at a computer and lack of sleep and my eyes turn into itchy, dry orbs that I want to claw out of my head. Until recently however, I resolved myself to the fact that my eye issues were a fact of life until my doctor told me about a miracle combo: Systane and Zaditor. (They both come in .5ml bottles which are perfect for a carry-on bag.)
(Before I continue, I am not a nurse or in the medical field so I would recommend that you speak with your ophthalmologist as I did before trying these drops yourself.)
Both are over-the-counter eye drops that provide huge relief for eyes like mine and perhaps yours. Systane is a lubricant that helps with dry eye. There is an everyday drop that I use (see the link above) and the gel formula I break out when my eyes are truly on fire. (The gel is super goopy, so don’t try to read or do anything after you put it in, just put a drop in each eye when you go to bed, close your eyes and nod off. In the morning you’ll feel better.)
Zaditor is a topical antihistamine that reduces itching and burning and the resulting inflammation. When I apply a combination of these two wonderful drops I’ve saved myself from the torture of my wussy eyes.
Here’s what I do.
Every night, when my eyes are symptomatic, I take out my extended wear lenses—I’ve never done well sleeping with them in—and I put a drop of Zaditor in my eyes and then a few minutes later a drop of Systane. In the morning I repeat the Zaditor and then I place a drop of Systane on my contact lens before putting it in AND a place a drop in my eyes. I don’t know why but the combination of the drop on my lens and in my eye is key. It’s as if the double layer of liquid creates a barrier from dust and pollens and I notice a difference if I don’t do it.
Lately, I’ve been using my travel-drop strategy at home now that the weather is turning cold and the old radiators of my pre-war bldg are drying the air to Death Valley proportions; I might as well be in the bush.
Thankfully, both literally and figuratively, I have a solution.
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