Mar 5th 2024

How To Travel With Contact Lenses

How To Travel With Contact Lenses

If you are planning for a big trip, packing can be a difficult feat and very stressful, even more so if you need to remember vital items. If unfortunately, one of those vital items is your contact lenses, your vacation won’t be as enjoyable as you wish it to be.

The key to successful packing is to plan strategically and accordingly. Take into consideration the length of your trip and the activities you will be doing, don’t under-pack or over-pack, and most importantly don’t forget your contacts!

Helpful Tips For Traveling With Contact Lenses

Dry eye syndrome is also known as dry eye disease (DED) or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). This condition occurs when the eyes cannot produce enough quality tears for lubrication. This condition may also happen when the eyes make low-quality tear fluid that evaporates too quickly, leaving the cornea exposed.

Dry Eye Symptoms

A Checklist in a purse, around it a wallet, pencil, glasses and a phone

You might want to schedule a visit to your eye doctor at least a month before traveling. Your doctor will offer advice on which contacts are ideal for traveling, and perhaps even provide you with some sample lenses before you go. In some cases, they will give you a prescription to get glasses if need be. The other thing you probably already know, but just to be sure, is to pack your contact lenses in a carry-on bag. Never put your daily things or medications in your checked luggage. And if you’re going abroad for a year or longer be sure to bring a year’s supply of contact lenses or more.

Bringing and packing lens solution can be an inconvenience since you can only bring a certain amount of liquid on an airplane. That’s why you should buy travel-sized bottles of contact solution or order them online and have them sent to you at your next location. Unfortunately, losing contact lenses happens a lot, and if this happens during your trip, be sure to have a copy of your prescription with you. You can order replacement lenses online or by visiting a doctor in the country you're in and having a prescription handy can make your life easier. You could also take a photo of your prescription on your smartphone.

Another good idea would be to keep your contacts labeled and organized when traveling. Mixing up contacts can easily happen, especially if you wear different prescriptions in each eye. Thus, it’s important to label your contact lenses and make sure not to lose them by keeping everything in a safe place when you travel. Jetlag is one more problem that people who wear lenses must think about as the exhaustion from flying can cause you to rub your eyes excessively. Make sure to take a hand sanitizer with you and try to keep your hands off your face. A good bottle of eye drops can help too. A pair of glasses is a must for any trip. Also, remember to take out your contact lenses before falling asleep on a plane.

Traveling by car and long-haul drives can also be very tiring. Your eyes may become strained, and your vision acuity may decrease due to the long drives. Take regular brakes to give yourself and your eyes a chance to rest and of course, if possible, swap drivers. If you are traveling on a hot summer day, you’ll most likely turn the air-conditioner for a bit of cool air. Be careful, though, because the air-conditioner may cause dryness and discomfort to your eyes. If you are a regular wearer of extended-wear contact lenses, think about temporarily switching to dailies for the duration of your trip. It is much easier to pack daily contacts, plus they hardly need any maintenance and are thrown away every evening.

UV Protection

Colorful sunglasses with orange/pink layer

In case you didn’t know, modern contact lenses are produced to actively protect sensitive parts of the eye against UV damage. The main thing to check when choosing these lenses is the level of UV protection that the lenses can provide. Of course, you should consult with your eye doctor when deciding which is the best way to protect your eyes from the sun.

However, compared to sunglasses, lenses won’t provide better protection for your eyes. So, don’t forget your sunglasses! Sunny and hot locations require a good pair of high-level UV-absorbing sunglasses because in those destinations, UV rays can cause severe eye damage. Also, over-exposure to UV rays can be extremely damaging, leading to cataracts, corneal sunburn, Pterygium, and potentially macular degeneration. As an alternative to lens-wearing, you might decide to buy prescription sunglasses.

Swimming With Lenses

Blue swimming glasses

To those who wear contact lenses in water, you may have some complications. When swimming with lenses on you can contract bacterial infections as pathogens find their way behind the lens and this is something that should be avoided when possible. In addition, water can dislodge lenses and lead to a tight feeling and intense discomfort.

One solution is to avoid wearing contact lenses when swimming. Instead, you should buy prescription goggles – these protect your eyes from bacteria and at the same time correct your vision. If finding prescription goggles is not possible, the other solution would be to wear regular goggles over your contact lenses. If you decide to try this solution, make sure that goggles fit well and prevent water from leaking in. And if you feel that you have to wear lenses in the water, try using daily disposable varieties, this way you reduce the amount of time that dirt and bacteria can spend on the lens. Once done in the water, dispose of the lenses immediately and put a fresh pair in.

Most of these tips are things you’ve probably already known, but they are simple and worth knowing because they will make your trip more enjoyable and your life while traveling easier!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I travel with contact lenses?

Yes, you can travel with contact lenses. They are a convenient and portable vision correction option for your journeys.

How can I pack my contact lenses for travel?

Pack your contact lens case, solution, and spare lenses in a secure, leak-proof bag or travel case to prevent damage and ensure hygiene.

Are there travel-sized contact lens solutions available?

Yes, many brands offer travel-sized contact lens solutions, making it easier to comply with airline liquid restrictions.

What should I do if I run out of contact lens solution during my trip?

If you run out, purchase some contact lens solution at your destination, or consider using a hydrogen peroxide cleaning system as an alternative.

Can I wear contact lenses on long-haul flights?

Yes, you can wear contact lenses during long flights. However, it's essential to keep your eyes hydrated by using lubricating drops and following good eye care practices.

How can I maintain proper eye hygiene while traveling with contact lenses?

Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses, and follow your eye care provider's recommendations for lens care. Carry disposable or daily lenses for convenience during your trip

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Alaesha Gaedke
Alaesha Gaedke

Alaesha Gaedke holds a M.B.A. from Franklin University Switzerland, and a B.A. in Public Relations from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. With her passion for the MedTech industry, her work explores the complexities of medical device technology; bridging the gap between the science behind Medical Devices and the audience for which they're designed for. Her work has been published in regulatory marketing material across Europe and the U.S.

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