Contact lenses are a convenient alternative to bulky eyeglasses, especially when you are flying.
But given travel security rules and the fact that the air inside planes is much drier than the air on the ground, many contact lens wearers have questions about flying with their contact lenses.
Lens.com is here to answer those questions.
1. Can I bring contacts on a plane?
The short answer is yes; you can bring contact lenses on a plane. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows contact lenses in both carry-on and checked baggage.
You can also bring contact lens solution on a plane if you wear reusable lenses, but you need to declare them to security officers for inspection.
2. Can I wear contacts on a plane?
Yes, you can wear contacts on a plane. However, the dry air of a plane cabin can dehydrate your eyes, making your contacts feel tight and uncomfortable.
If you must wear contact lenses during your flight, make sure to pack rewetting drops in your carry-on baggage so you can easily relieve dryness if necessary.
3. How do I pack contact lenses for traveling?
Prepare a travel kit with your contact lenses and other eye care essentials, like rewetting drops and contact lens solution.
Consider packing a small mirror for insertion and removal as well as a pack of soap sheets (instead of rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer, which can sting your eyes) to disinfect your hands with before handling your contact lenses.
4. Do contacts go in a 3-1-1 bag?
Yes. Whether disposable or reusable, contact lenses should go in clear, quart-sized bags as per the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule.
Note that each lens case or packet must contain no more than 100 milliliters of liquid and must fit inside the quart-sized bag. You will need to declare the bag to security officers for inspection.
5. Is it better to wear glasses instead of contacts on a plane?
Not necessarily. If you have rewetting drops in your carry-on baggage, you can use it to relieve dryness if your contacts start to feel uncomfortable mid-flight.
But if you have sensitive eyes and prefer guaranteed comfort, then you may opt to wear glasses instead.
Glasses may be your best option if your flight will take several hours. Upon arrival, simply switch them out for a fresh pair of contact lenses.
Tips for Flying With Contact Lenses
Here are some helpful tips for flying with contact lenses to ensure your trip goes smoothly:
- Take out your contact lenses if you want to nap or sleep. This is especially important if your contact lenses are not FDA-approved for overnight or extended wear.
- Wear a fresh pair of contact lenses when you reach your destination. The dry air of a plane cabin can make your contact lenses less comfortable than when they were new by the time you reach your destination.
- Consider switching to daily disposable contact lenses. Daily disposable contact lenses are single-use lenses that you discard after each use. They are typically more convenient for travel than reusable lenses because they require little to no upkeep.
- Consider UV-blocking contact lenses. If you are flying to a sunny destination, ask your eye doctor for UV-blocking contacts. Although they’re not substitutes for UV-absorbing eyewear, they help provide protection against harmful UV radiation.
- Drink plenty of water before your flight. This helps to keep your eyes hydrated during the flight.
- Bring an extra pair of contact lenses. You never know what can happen, so bring an extra pair or two of contact lenses.
- Bring a copy of your contact lens prescription. Having a copy of your prescription ensures you can easily purchase contact lenses when necessary.
Flying with contact lenses can be hassle-free as long as you prepare adequately beforehand. By following travel security rules and the advice of your eye doctor, your trip should go ahead without a hitch.