Can You Bring Contact Solution on a Plane? A Contact Lens Travel Guide
With roughly 45 million people in the US wearing contacts, one question often asked by people preparing to travel by air is “Can you bring contact solution on a plane?”
For travellers who wear contact lenses, there is so much more to know. In fact, when we stop and think about it, we probably know these things. In the rush of preparing for a trip, they just might not be top of mind. So this guide is a good little refresher. For example, you need to stay hydrated., and you shouldn't sleep on the plane with them in. And what about once you get to your destination?
Can You Bring Contact Solution on a Plane
The short answer is yes, you can. You also need to think about spare glasses, a case, and rewetting eye drops.
Traveling with contacts is more than bringing along a bottle of cleaning solution. Follow these tips to prepare for your next trip.
What to Pack Before Your Trip
When packing for your trip, there are a few items you need to put in your carry-on bag. These are the items you’ll need in case your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination when you do.
Travel Size Contact Solution
Buy a travel size bottle of solution. Do not try to transfer solution from a big bottle into a smaller bottle.
You contact solution is sterile and transferring it yourself will introduce contaminants. This will put your eyes at risk for an infection.
Travel size bottles are going to hold about 2 ounces of liquid. This should last you a week or two.
If you are planning on traveling longer than that, pack more than one bottle. Bring enough to not worry about running out while traveling.
You can also pack a regular sized bottle in your checked luggage. That way you’ll be sure to have your preferred brand and solution formula, in case it’s not sold where you’re travelling.
Lens Rewetting Drops
Flying is dehydrating and your contacts will feel the effects.
Rewetting drops are not a cleaning solution. They are a thicker solution that will keep your contacts moist in your eyes. Release one drop at a time in each eye as needed.
Clean Storage Case
You need a clean place to store your contacts at night or while you are not wearing them. A case will keep them moist and free of contamination.
A Pair of Glasses
Bring a pair of glasses, even if you don't plan on wearing them. You'll be thankful to have them if something unexpected happens, such as an eye infection or injury.
Extra Pair of Contacts
You don't want to be hundreds or thousands of miles from home and lose a contact. If you brought your glasses you'll be wearing them for the rest of the trip.
Bringing an extra pair of contacts will let you keep on seeing glasses-free. You probably won't need them, but they take up a small amount of space, so it can't hurt.
Contact Lens Solution TSA Rules
As long as you follow the 3-1-1 rule* you will be ok with TSA. The container of liquid must be 3.4 ounces or less.
Pack your liquids containers in 1 quart-sized clear zip-top bag. You get 1 bag per person to hold your liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes.
* 3-1-1 rule: 3.4 oz bottle or less; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger
The Dailies Option
Instead of messing around with cleaning solution and spare pairs, consider getting dailies. Daily contacts are worn for one day and then thrown away.
Since each contact is in its own small package, they are TSA approved. You won't need to pack cleaning solution.
Plan out a pair for each day and a couple days extra. Then if you lose a contact, it isn't a problem.
Since they come in their own package, there’s no need for a storage case or to make sure they don't dry out. They’re always ready to wear.
Plus, there’s no fear of contamination, since you won't open them until you go to put them in. Make sure to wash your hands before you start though.
On the Plane
Bring a bottle of water with you on the plane. You can either bring an empty bottle to fill or buy one after you go through security.
Drink the water and use the rewetting drops while on the plane. The air in planes is low in humidity and this will wreak havoc on your contacts. This USA Today article talks about the effect of low humidity on our nose, which is right under our eyes! Of course they’re both going to be affected.
It is best to use the rewetting drops every hour or so. This will maintain healthy moisture levels.
Consider waiting until you get to your destination to put your contacts in. This is even more important if the flight is longer than three or four hours.
Definitely follow this advice for international flights that are over ten hours. Why bother putting them in if you are only going to take them out once you are on the plane?
Sleeping on the Plane
If you plan on sleeping on the plane you definitely need to take your contacts out. Sleeping while wearing contacts is one of the worst things you can do.
Your eyes are already dry from the plane, and now sleeping restricts the oxygen getting to them. This can cause microscopic tears in your cornea.
These tears are then at risk for an infection. With all the germs present during travel, it’s good to take precautions and and not let your eyes be vulnerable.
Plan Ahead and Travel Smart
To answer the question, can you bring contact solution on a plane? Yes, you can, as long as you follow the rules.
Flying with contact lenses is not complicated. You just need to plan ahead by buying TSA approved, travel-sized bottles of solution.
Put your contact solution in your carry-on. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. If you sleep on the plane, take your contacts out first. You may want to save yourself the trouble and wait to put your contacts in until you get to your destination.
Perhaps the easiest way to travel with contact lenses is to not bother with contact solution at all. Consider switching to daily lenses and have a fresh pair of contacts every day.