Mistake Monday: Not Carrying Your Glasses Prescription

Happy Monday! It’s been a busy weekend getting ready for an upcoming trip and playing tourist in San Francisco this weekend for an upcoming blog post. I wanted to touch upon the importance of carrying around your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription when you travel.

What Happened?

Ten years ago when I was studying abroad in Japan, I was doing an overnight trip in Tokyo with a few friends. We were tired after a long day of sightseeing and walking around. We checked into our ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and started to prepare for bed.

Now in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese beds is a mattress located on the floor. I was one of the first people in bed and fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. Unfortunately with floor beds, your belongings are kept on the floor too. My friend had just come back into the room; not expected me to be so close to the door, she tripped over my feet and stepped on my glasses.

I was awoken to a very apologetic friend. Luckily I had my contacts with me,but contacts can’t be worn all day. Eventually your eyes need a break and that is where the glasses come in handy. It was an extremely interesting experience attempting to find an eye glass repair or optometrist in Japan.

The frame was broken as was one of the lens for my glasses were beyond repair. I ended up having to e-mail and attempt to call my parents to get a copy of prescription sent to me. It was a nightmare of a situation which actually required me ordering a replacement pair of glasses from the US and having them rushed to Japan.

It Happens Again

You would think I would have learned my lesson, but alas I did not. This time I was on vacation with my family in Hawaii. We had spent the day at the beach. I went to take my contact lens out and accidentally dropped it down the sink. I told myself, it was an unfortunate mistake, but at least I still had my glasses.

To my horror, I couldn’t find them anywhere! Of all the items to forget or not have glasses for anyone that wear them is the worst possible item to not have. I’m extremely near sided and can’t see anything without glasses or contacts. We looked everywhere and couldn’t find them. Eventually I would find out that they had fallen out of my backpack in my Grandmother’s car when she dropped us off at the airport.

How was I going to see though? There was no way I would be able to get a contact lens made so quickly, but maybe I could have an emergency pair of glasses made. Did I have my prescription on me? No. This time, because I was in the US, I was able to call my optometrist and have a copy of it sent to me. We called a couple places, but ended up going to a Lenscrafters where and was able to have glasses made for me on the spot. It was very expensive.

Moral of the Story

I now never travel without a copy of my glasses or contact lens prescription. You never know when you are going to need it. Don’t let this happen to you. Be proactive and have a copy of it with you just in case something like this happens to you (especially in a foreign county). With smartphones, it’s easy to store a copy of it on your phone, but I like to recommend having a paper copy of it with a doctor’s signature. Some optometrists will not accept a digital copy. They physically need to see that signature, but if you don’t at least a copy of it will save you a lot of grief. Happy travels!