During last weekend's Graves' Disease & Thyroid Foundation annual conference in San Diego, the topic of dry eyes was never far from anyone's conversation. In fact, virtually everyone attending the conference that I spoke with had experienced some form of dry eyes due to Graves' Eye Disease, save for one or two people I met who were newly diagnosed.
I had never heard of the concept of a "moisture chamber" before. Essentially, the idea is to form an enclosure around the eye to create a protective environment to keep the eye(s) from drying out. That's an issue most of us contend with.
When I got home I began my research. I found only a few options for eyewear. One site offered a sport frame with a black shield/surround available with tinted lenses only. Another site offered a peculiar style of frames with a very unattractive protective shield of sorts. I found a third and more attractive option but I'd have to guess at what frame size to buy and risk them not fitting. I decided to wait until I saw my eye doctor in a few days. I discussed the option with him. An assistant went down to the optical store on level one in the Kellogg Eye Center and came back with a sports pair of glasses with the surround-shield or moisture chamber I wanted, except these had tinted lenses. I took them back down to the store and asked about other options with clear lenses.
Now I find myself asking the optician about other options in "moisture chamber" eyewear. She told me that I was the first to ask about them. She disappeared and came back with a pair of tortoise frame glasses, available with the clear shield, and in clear lenses (prescription or non-prescription). Voila! I bought them. They came in three days later.
Below you'll find photos of these nifty glasses made by Ziena (model is called Oasis). You'll see the silocone-like shield that fits inside the actual eyewear. This one piece shield is held in place with very tiny magnets on the inside. It just pops out and pops back in. This will make cleaning the shield super easy.
I wanted to try them out for a few days over the weekend and then write my review. First, they've very comfortable. The silicone-like shield rests complete on your face, but you can't really see it unless you look closely. At least it's not obvious. Second, I've found them to be incredibly helpful while working at the computer (when we tend to blink at 50% the normal rate, which can worsen dry eye symptoms). Third, I haven't experienced any fogging issues which I worried about when I bought them. If you've ever worn ski goggles, swim goggles, or a scuba mask, you know what I'm talking about. So far, so good!
I can't wait to try them on my next airline flight. Going to and coming home from San Diego last weekend was very difficult. Forty five minutes into each flight and I just had to close my eyes. No amount of eye drops would soothe my eyes sufficiently for me to keep them open for reading.
I wish I would have discovered the Ziena moisture chamber option long ago. Better late than never. Their brand slogan on the box is "giving your eyes the extra protection they need." Protect they do as I have been testing them out for 2 days now.
For readers, have any of you come across other options for us to consider? If so, please do share here including links to appropriate sites (please, no non-related commercial posts).
Here's a link to the Ziena Eyewear Site. where you can find other options.
Update December 17, 2012
I wanted to let everyone know that these specialized eyeglasses really worked wonders on a long-haul international flight. Fifteen+ hours on a plane, and then 16+ hours on a plane coming back. I could not have done it without the aid of some type of eyewear. The cabin is just so dry. These really worked out well.