Many people have eyesight conditions which require corrective glasses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Optometric services can be difficult to obtain in remote places.
Travellers with daily need of corrective glasses could need to carry a spare pair or perhaps, if it will be cheaper there, buy another pair at the destination. Travellers should bring a copy of their prescription with them for emergency replacements.
- See also: Sunburn and sun protection
Sunglasses are a classic among tourist accessories, especially to tropical, maritime and snow resorts, to prevent ultraviolet keratitis (snowblindness).
Sunglasses come at very different price levels, with the simplest models sold at corner shops for a token cost. Polarizing sunglasses filter reflections, which is especially useful on snow and at sea.
As sunglasses are easily lost or damaged, think twice before packing an expensive designer model. Regardless, check that the glasses really protect your eyes. If they are better at filtering visible light than at filtering UV radiation, they will increase the risk of keratitis rather than help.
Transition glasses may come in handy for those who regularly wear long-sighted prescription glasses – these can prevent the hassle of having to carry both normal and prescription glasses, but can get a bit expensive at some locations (some can start at A$200).
Excessive wearing of sunglasses (indoors or in cloudy weather), and by extension, transition glasses, could be regarded as bad manners, and a giveaway for being a careless tourist.
In some countries, pirated copies of designer sunglasses are widely sold to travellers and others. Pirated goods might cause trouble at customs checks. If you want a pair of cheap sunglasses, buy a generic model instead of a fake label.
Eye care tourism
Eyeglasses can be cheaper in a foreign country, especially in low-income countries where labour costs are lower. Consider getting an eye exam at home, especially if insurance covers it, and bringing the prescription along to be filed elsewhere. High-end brand-name frames available in such areas may have two problems; some may be knock-offs, and the real imported ones may be more expensive than at home.
Eye surgery — in particular common procedures like cataract surgery or laser eye surgery — may also be cheaper; see medical tourism.
Solar eclipse viewing
- See also: Solar eclipses
When going to watch a solar eclipse, you must wear special kinds of glasses because the brightness of the sun, when you look directly at it, can cause blindness.