Daleen Slabbert consults to the optometric industry. Her services include: new practice set-up, implementing practice systems, implementing financial check points, staff training, implementing marketing strategies, human resources management, motivating staff, etc. She has amassed an incredible library of information and has vast experience in the running of high performance optometric practices. Daleen offers an on-site service, where she will be at the fore front of implementation of her systems. She has also developed an outstanding online course for optometric staff.


We travel to experience new places and cultures. We travel to educate ourselves. We travel to go on hiking holidays and adventures. Whatever the reason for travelling, we need 6/6 vision to enjoy it to the fullest. We are fortunate to be living in an era where eyewear is no longer just a “working tool’. It is fashion, it is practical, it is a comfort, and it’s flexible. If you are as dependant on your eyewear as I am, you will understand the importance of packing the correct eyewear specific to your trip.

Travelling to sunny places – Glasses or contact lenses?

There is a good chance your next holiday will either be somewhere sunny, near the water, a mountainous area or the snow. All these environments require a quality pair of sunglasses.

If you wear contact lenses, it’s easy to purchase non-prescription sunglasses that includes all the attributes to protect your eyes from harmful rays. As a contact lens wearer, you can choose any shape, wrap or size as it will not affect your vision.

For brand-conscious travellers wearing prescription glasses, many sunglass companies offer branded prescription lenses fitted into their branded frames. These lenses include higher prescription lenses and multifocal lenses too! My personal favourite for multifocal sunglass lenses is Maui Jim.
If you are wearing transition lenses, take that extra pair of sunglasses along too, to ensure comfortable vision while driving or touring. Transition lenses need sunlight to activate the tint, and all car and bus windows have UV protection.

What my sunglasses should do

A pair of sunglasses seems to be such a simple article. It’s two pieces of tinted glass or plastic in the frame of your choice. Not really!

  • Sunglasses protect from ultraviolet rays in sunlight that damage the cornea and the retina. Good sunglasses and even some specially treated regular glasses can eliminate UV rays. This is especially important if you are in a window seat on the aeroplane.
  • Sunglasses protect from intense light. When the eye receives too much sun, it naturally constricts the pupil, which leads to squinting. If there is still too much light, as there can be when sunlight is reflecting off of snow, the result is damage to the retina. Good sunglasses can block light entering the eyes by as much as ninety-seven percent to
    avoid injury.
  • Sunglasses protect from glare. Certain surfaces, such as water, can reflect a great deal of light, and the bright spots can be distracting or can hide objects. Also, intense glare over a long flight can lead to headaches. Consider polarised lenses for your glare-y holiday!

Packing for a business trip

Your next business trip may be to attend a seminar or to present one. Pack your eyewear according to every need you may have.

  • Multifocals for everyday activities.
  • Readers to watch the entertainment system on the aeroplane.
  • Sunglasses for those leisurely moments in-between lectures or over the weekend.
  • Contact lenses and multifocal contact lenses.
  • Non-prescription sunglasses to wear over your contacts.

How to Pack Sunnies and Glasses

The best place for your glasses is on your face. If you are traveling with both regular glasses and sunglasses, the pair that you are not wearing should be in a case. Not one of the soft-sided ones, but a solid hard case that will protect your glasses. Remember, even if you carefully place your glasses in your carry-on bag, it can be crushed by another bag, especially if the bags in the overhead storage bin shift around during the flight.

Losing your Eyewear

Breaking or scratching your glasses or losing your contact lenses while travelling in South Africa will be frustrating, but it will be possible to replace it quickly, even if it’s just to allow you to read a menu or a map! However, should this happen abroad or during an adventure, it may cause much disruption. You may even have to change your trip schedule and end up spending your fun-money on eyewear.

The following checklist may save you a lot of headache for your next trip.

If you are wearing glasses:

  • Spare pair – If your next holiday involves air travel, it is a great idea to separate your spectacles.
  • Keep your spare pair in your checked baggage and your current pair in your carry on.
  • Your most recent prescription stored on your phone – just in case!
  • Cleaning spray, micro fibre cloth, and lens wipes are all handy items to have and useful to clean your camera lens as well.
  • Repair kit such as a small screwdriver and screws will stop you from using tape or safety pins for emergency repairs.

If you are wearing contact lenses:

  • Current pair plus a back-up pair. The best option would be to use daily lenses for travelling. Should anything happen to the pair that you are wearing, there will be lots more to replace it!
  • Non-prescription sunglasses – Ensure that it provides optimal protection for your eyes
  • Storing solution
  • Extra lens case
  • Glasses as back-up
  • Small mirror and hand wash

It is impossible to have fun or function properly without adequate vision. The key is to be prepared.

Bon Voyage!

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