Flying With Contact Lenses: Frequently Asked Questions & Travel Tips (2024 Update)

woman-in-the-airplane

Flying can be a thrilling experience, whether you’re jetting off to an exotic destination or traveling for business. If you wear contact lenses, you may wonder about the best way to ensure a comfortable and safe journey. Flying with contact lenses is entirely possible and common for millions of people worldwide. However, there are some important considerations and precautions to keep in mind to make your flight enjoyable and hassle-free.

In this article, we’ll discuss essential tips for flying with contact lenses, addressing concerns about dry eyes, cabin pressure changes, and maintaining optimal eye health while in the air.

1. Can I bring contact lenses 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?

When flying with contact lenses, it’s essential to pack smartly to ensure your eyes remain comfortable throughout your journey. Pack them in your carry-on to avoid damage from temperature and pressure changes in checked baggage. Use travel-sized, TSA-compliant bottles of lens solution to meet liquid restrictions.

For daily disposables, pack extra pairs for unexpected delays. If using reusable lenses, include a clean case and sufficient solution for your trip, plus a little extra. Always carry a backup pair of glasses to give your eyes a break during long flights.

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

airplane-passengers

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.
  • Follow good hygiene practices. Before handling your lenses, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them with a lint-free towel.
  • Carry your eyeglasses. It’s wise to carry a pair of eyeglasses as a backup in case you encounter any issues with your contact lenses during your flight.
  • Pack a lens care kit. Before embarking on your journey, ensure that you have a complete lens care kit with you, including a travel-sized bottle of multipurpose solution, a contact lens case, and spare lenses if possible. 

Conclusion

Flying with contact lenses can be a breeze with proper preparation. Stay hydrated, choose the right lenses, practice good hygiene, and be mindful of cabin pressure changes. Pack a lens care kit and keep eyeglasses as a backup for a smooth journey. Safe travels!