Packing your bags and traveling to your favorite destination is one of the best ways to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life. But for individuals with thyroid eye disease, traveling isn’t fun but rather stressful. That’s because this autoimmune condition causes discomfort in the eyes and leads to vision problems.
How do people enjoy the wonders of travel with thyroid eye disease, then? By careful planning and preparation.
If you’re looking for tips that will make traveling with this autoimmune condition easy, this guide is for you. Here, we will discuss some tips that will help you enjoy your trip while living with thyroid eye disease.
#1 Travel With a Family Member or a Friend
Traveling alone is a big no-no for people who suffer from thyroid eye disease (TED). Thyroid abnormalities often manifest as dizziness. Lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and a high heart rate are other symptoms of TED.
Managing these symptoms all by yourself while traveling is easier said than done. That is why TED patients are advised against traveling alone. You should always have someone by your side. In case you feel dizzy or nauseated, your travel partner can take care of you and your belongings.
#2 Consult Your Healthcare Provider
One of the worst things you can do while traveling with TED is not consult your healthcare provider beforehand. It doesn’t matter if your symptoms of this autoimmune condition are mild or severe, consulting a medical professional before your trip is necessary.
We advise you so because the doctor will examine your eyes and eyelids. Based on the condition of your eyes, they will prescribe medicines that you should carry with you on the trip.
Let your doctor know which city or country you’re traveling to. That way, the doctor can help you understand the conditions that could cause discomfort or irritate your eyes.
For instance, dry environments worsen TED symptoms. If you’re visiting such a place, ask your healthcare provider to share with you tips that will help you protect your eyes. You should also request them to prescribe you emergency medicines, so you can use them if symptoms worsen.
However, there’s no guarantee you’ll find those medicines in your travel destination. Chemists may advise you on other medications, but you must not take them without consulting your doctor. That’s because you do not know if that medicine is safe and will help you.
In this regard, Tepezza deserves mention because studies have linked it with tinnitus or permanent hearing loss. Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw), an injectable drug manufactured by Horizon Therapeutics, is used to treat TED, notes TorHoerman Law. While it effectively reduces bulging, it causes severe hearing impairment.
A 2022 Horizon Therapeutics report reveals that 9.5 percent of people treated with Tepezza reported experiencing mild to moderate hearing-related issues.
Presently, Horizon Therapeutics is facing lawsuits claiming it failed to warn doctors and patients about the dangers of hearing loss associated with Tepezza. More than a dozen users have filed the Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit. However, the Tepezza lawsuit hasn’t reached a settlement yet and is in its early stages.
To be on the safe side, ask your doctor to share their emergency contact number so that you can reach out to them whenever needed.
#3 Wear Sunglasses
Irrespective of whether you have mild or severe TED, keeping your eyes protected is important.
Exposure to dust and wind often leads to dry eye symptoms, which means your eyes will feel scratchy and become very dry, blurring the vision. Besides wind and dust, protecting your eyes from light is important.
To make sure you don’t experience dry eye symptoms while traveling, you should wear sunglasses. In regard to sunglasses, go for large or wraparound ones. Such sunglasses offer adequate protection against the UV rays of the sun. That means your condition won’t be exacerbated due to light sensitivity.
Also, make sure to opt for sunglasses that come with a proper UV rating. The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises people to buy sunglasses that block 100 or 99 percent of UV light. Remember, the higher the rating, the better protection they will offer.
#4 Keep Your Eyes Moist
Dry eye symptoms accompanying TED make the surface of the eyes gritty and itchy. These symptoms could be prevented by keeping your eyes moist. While traveling, keeping your eyes moist may seem challenging, but it isn’t that difficult.
Artificial tear drops are the best way to soothe irritated eyes, so carry them with you. Lubricating gels, though thick, do a great job of keeping eyes moist. You can apply them during bedtime, as they blur vision temporarily.
Traveling with thyroid eye disease is possible and can be a pleasant experience if you prepare for the trip beforehand. Pack all your medicines in carry-on luggage, as you can access them in the middle of the flight if needed. In case of retracted eyelids, wear sleep masks. They will keep you cozy and comfortable throughout the flight.
Follow these tips before setting out on a journey, and we are sure you will have a pleasant experience.