8 Tips for Travelling With Contact Lenses
Advances in science and technology have made perfect vision achievable for nearly everyone. And few things are as emblematic of how far the science of vision correction has come as contact lenses. But as amazing and convenient as today’s daily contact lenses are they still require you to be mindful of how you wear them, handle them and transport them. These issues take on special significance when traveling, whether it’s for business or pleasure. Is it safe to wear contacts on the plane? Can you get your bottle of cleaning solution through security? Can you wear your contacts in the hotel pool? Of course, the more you travel with your contacts the more dealing with such questions will become automatic. But if you’re new to contact lenses you’re going to want to pay attention to the following tips for traveling with your contacts.
8 Timely Tips for Traveling with Contacts
Contact lenses represent one of the great advances in medical technology of the past century. But for all the scientific progress that went into their creation, they don’t take care of themselves. Keep the following tips in mind when traveling and you’ll ensure your contacts don’t become an issue on your next trip.
- Limit their use on the plane - Short commuter flights don’t represent any particular danger but on long transcontinental or international flights you should limit the amount of time you have your contacts in. In fact, it might be best to not put them in until you arrive at your destination. Why? Because the environment inside the airplane is exceptionally dry (humidity is often as low as 20%) causing your eyes to dry out over the course of the flight. But not just your eyes. Your contacts dry out too. And when they do they tend to lose integrity. That is, their shape begins to distort affecting how you see through them and how they feel on your eyes. If you feel you need to wear your contacts on the plane do yourself and your eyes a favor by taking them out if you decide you want to get some sleep. Also, have some rewetting solution on hand and use it when you do have the contacts in.
- Pack them in your carry on bag - The natural impulse may be to store your contact lens-related materials in your main luggage but that would be a mistake. After all, what happens if your luggage is lost or gets forwarded to the wrong city and you need to wait a week for it to be returned? What happens is that you are in a very tight spot. The way to avoid this when traveling is to pack your contacts and all related materials in your carry-on bag. This way they go wherever you go and you can read all those airline forms you’ll need to fill out related to your lost luggage.
- Leave the big bottle of solution at home - Most people who wear contacts have a ginormous bottle of contact lens solution at home for obvious economic reasons. Unfortunately, if they try and take this with them when they travel they often wind up running afoul of airport security. TSA in the US allows you to carry up to 2 oz of contact lens solution with you on the plane. So if you bring your big bottle it’s going to get confiscated. Most solution makers produce travel-sized bottles of cleaning solution that should more than fulfil your needs.
- Stock up before you leave - While there are a number of companies that will deliver contact lenses to your hotel wherever you may be, they’re going to charge you an arm and a leg to do so. Also, if you run out of lenses in many countries and want to purchase more there it’s likely you’ll be required to sit for an eye test before the optical retailer will dispense new contacts for you. Even if you know exactly the power you need. This is also likely to cost you money and take up precious vacation time. The best idea is to stock up on lenses before you leave and bring plenty with you.
- Use daily contact lenses when you travel - An alternative to bringing along any contact lens solution is to simply bring daily contacts with you. Daily contacts are worn for a specific period of time and then disposed of. The length of time varies from 1 day to a week and in some cases more. If you are going away for a week you may never have to remove your contacts during the entire trip. Simply put them in after the plane lands and forget about them until it’s time to fly home. You also save space in your bag that you can use for more important things like souvenirs, perfume or that little statue of the Eiffel Tower.
- Practice good contact lens hygiene - One of the quickest ways to encounter trouble with your contacts when you travel is to forget to practice good contact lens hygiene. We know it can be difficult to keep track of things when you have a full slate of sightseeing ahead of you. But you can’t let the excitement and adventure cause you to lose track of basics like making sure your hands are clean before you touch your contacts or making sure you wash your contacts after taking them out. Also, make sure you close the carrying case after you remove or replace the lenses. And whatever you do don’t clean your contact lenses with local tap water. That’s an invitation to the kind of infection that could threaten your eyesight.
- Don’t wear them in the pool - Your hotel in Rome may have the most stunning swimming pool you’ve ever seen with an unimpeded view of the Colosseum at night but if you leave your contacts in when you go for that romantic late-night swim you may well wake up the next day with a painful eye infection. No matter where you are wearing contacts in the pool is a bad idea. It’s doubly so when you are in a foreign country trying to make the most of your limited vacation time. Wearing your contacts in the pool can cause them to tighten on your eyes causing irritation that can lead to the aforementioned infection. If you must wear contacts while swimming, wear goggles over them.
- Be good to your eyes - When you’re on the road it’s often easy to forget about little things like drinking enough water or getting enough sleep. But both things are crucial when it comes to making sure your contacts and your eyes get along. If you don’t drink enough water your eyes will dry out and your lenses may become difficult to remove. In such cases, infection usually isn’t far behind. In addition, if you don’t get enough sleep you open yourself up to eye strain and your tired eyes may not react as well to the presence of contacts as they would if you were sleeping a solid 8 hours a night.
Follow the above tips to make sure your contacts are able to serve you properly on your next business trip or vacation.