Flying With Contact Lenses - How To Keep Your Eyes Safe

Whether you frequently fly for business or you’re going away on holiday, regular routine often goes out the window when travelling. But, if you’re a contact lens wearer, avoiding your usual care routine can lead to some unwanted consequences further down the line. Here are some tips on how to keep your eyes safe and healthy when you’re flying.

How Might Flying Impact My Lenses?

If you wear contact lenses, you might find that they dry out a whole lot quicker when on a plane. This is because the change in cabin pressure reduces oxygen and humidity, which makes the air dryer than usual. This, in turn, can cause havoc with your skin, sinuses and eyes!

How To Keep Your Eyes Safe When Flying

Luckily, there are ways to minimise the impact that flying can have on your lenses, whether you’re travelling for a few hours or undertaking a long-haul flight. The key is to replace the moisture that’s lost - we’re here to take you through how to do that!

eye drops

1. Pack The Essentials

Contact lens solution is a must-have when wearing monthly contacts and maintaining moisture on a flight. However, this can be a challenge when you’re facing airport security. You’ll be allowed to bring one transparent, resealable plastic bag with you, which holds no more than a litre of liquid and measures around 20cm x 20cm. All containers inside must not exceed 100ml (but be sure to check the airline's requirements!).

With the above limitations in mind, it’s possible to bring a small travel-sized container of lens solution with you in your carry-on luggage. Bring a few leak-proof contact cases and spare contacts too, as well as a backup pair of glasses, so you have everything you need in smaller quantities to prepare you for your flight.

2. Go Disposable

If keeping up with a care routine isn’t something you want to do, daily disposable contact lenses provide the answer. They are particularly useful if you’re going to be on an overnight, long-haul flight, as you shouldn’t sleep in your contact lenses. With disposables, simply take out your lenses to sleep and put in a fresh pair in the morning.

3. Practice Good Hygiene

Maintaining good contact lens hygiene is important no matter where you are, as it helps to prevent an eye infection. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them before handling your lenses.

If necessary, remove and clean your lenses every day. Wash your lens case with fresh solution – don’t wash your lens case with water, as this can harbour bacteria that can be transferred to your lenses and eyes. If you’re using disposables, make sure you wear a fresh pair every day.

washing hands

4. Use Eye Drops

If you’ve been up since the early hours to catch your flight or you’re experiencing dryness from the cabin, your eyes might start to feel inflamed and irritated. In this circumstance, a bottle of eye drops will help you out. Eye drops help to refresh your eyes and add moisture back in. If you’ve been wearing your lenses all day, it can be helpful to add a few eye drops to your eyes when you take out your lenses in the evening to help them recover.

5. Choose UV Protection

Protecting your eyes from UV damage is paramount, especially if you’ll be travelling to sunnier climates. UV blocking lenses provide around 95% protection from UV rays, so your eyes are safe from the moment you get off the plane, as well as from any light during your flight too. UV rays can be incredibly damaging to our eyes and can lead to corneal sunburn, macular degeneration or even cataracts later in life, making UV protection an important feature to look for.

6. Consider Where You’re Storing Your Lenses

You don’t want to be jetting off away from home, only to find that your luggage doesn’t make it to the right location, leaving you without lenses. A smarter way to store your lenses is to carry your lenses and solution in your in-flight luggage, even if you choose not to wear them during the flight, so that you have them with you at all times. It’s also worth taking a few extra pairs with you in case you lose or damage the pair you’re wearing.

contact lenses case

Are You Ready To Fly?

When you’re a contact lens wearer, preparation is the key factor to successful travel. Consider each stage of your journey so you’ve covered all bases, and bear in mind that travelling doesn’t always go to plan. It helps to think ahead and pack a few extra pairs of lenses so you’re not without during your trip.

Provided you’re maintaining good lens hygiene, taking your lenses out at night and adhering to the airline rules when it comes to packing solutions and eye drops, your trip should go smoothly, enabling you to continue wearing your contact lenses for your holidays!