Travelling with contacts made easy

Girl wearing contact lenses while travelling

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Dry, red, and irritated eyes can make travelling with contacts a complete nightmare. However, there’s an easier way to travel – all it requires is a little know-how and preparation. Taking care of your eye hygiene is vital to avoid any infections and to protect your vision. Luckily health and comfort go hand in hand. For example, a simple trick like swapping your contacts out for glasses on the plane can help relieve dry eyes in an instant.

Keep reading to learn how to travel hassle free with contacts…

Packing efficiently

Packing extra pairs of contact lenses is not an option, it’s a necessity. In the probable case that you scratch a lens and need to rip open a new pair, it’s more than likely you’ll run out of lenses for your trip. Plan appropriately and make sure to count enough lenses to last for the entire journey. Overestimating number of lenses for your trip is certainly better than underestimating and you’ll be thankful that you did.

Dry eyes are common 3,000 meters in the air due to changing atmospheres as well as the air on the plane so make sure to pack carry on lenses, solution, and rewetting drops in your carry-on. Glasses are also a must when traveling as sleeping with lenses in is not recommended.

Transporting liquids

Having liquids in your carry-on luggage can be difficult. Only medical liquids, gels, and aerosols in small quantities are permitted through the gate, anything over 100ml can’t be taken through and all liquids must be carried in a clear plastic bag. Application varies between countries and whether a bottle of solution is medically necessary is questionable when flying from country to country.

Dig into your local convenience stores for travel sized bottles which you can transfer your solution to or plan to purchase solution after landing. Transferring contact lens solution into travel size bottles seriously disturbs the sterility of the solution. If you do choose to pack a bottle of solution in your carry on bag, place the lenses and solution into a sealed zip lock bag to prevent spillage and leaking. If your solution bottle is half used, squeeze out excess air. Air expands with changes to pressure and will cause your bottle to spill due to high air pressure in the cabin.

If you’re travelling with contact lenses that you change daily, you can keep these in your hand luggage as the solution that they’re in is under 100ml.

Avoid dry eyes in the air

The atmosphere of aeroplanes can bring dryness and irritation to your eyes. Pack a pair of glasses and contact lens case in your carry-on to slip into your glasses with no worries. The air in planes causes contact lenses to dehydrate more quickly than they would on the land so taking your lenses out before leaving the ground can help alleviate and prevent discomfort.

If you plan to watch a movie or read a book on the plane, switch into your glasses to maximise comfort. Just like the body, travelling is hard on the eyes so keep your glasses on you as a substitute wherever you go, in case you need them. On long haul flights I always travel in my glasses in case I want to go to sleep (even though I hate wearing glasses!).

If you really suffer with dry eyes when wearing contact lenses, you could try some contact lens friendly eye drops or spray to keep your eyes hydrated.

Daily disposable contacts

Daily disposable contacts allow you to travel with ease. Unlike extended wear contacts, storage is not a necessity as you’ll put in a fresh pair of lenses each day.

The cleaning process of the usual contact lens regimen is also not required for daily contact lens wearers nor is the need for lens cases. Nevertheless, you might want to pack an extra pair of lenses in your carry-on for when you swap into glasses on the plane.

Healthy eyes

Maintaining excellent eye hygiene is a sure-fire way to avoid pink eye. There’s nothing worse than a pink eye out of the blue to ruin a nice vacation with oozing crusty eyes. This can all be avoided by washing your hands with antibacterial soap while travelling and fighting the urge to rub your eyes. While traveling, there’s a greater probability of picking up foreign matter on your fingertips, so it’s best to wash your hands frequently. Most importantly, before handling your contacts make sure to preserve a germ-free setting. Another tip is to carry a compact mirror for easier contact lens removal and insertion.

Cleaning and storage are major steps to disinfecting your lenses after a long day in the wild. Extended wear lenses require you to change solution daily and clean cases to keep bacteria out. In third-world countries, clean water may be hard to find so make sure to bring hand sanitiser or wipes with you and cleanse your fingertips with contact solution before inserting and removing lenses.

Doctor’s note

So, you left your glasses at the last hotel or run out of contacts for the trip? In the rare but possible situation that you misplace or lose your glasses or lenses, always keep your optician’s eye prescription handy. While you’re travelling, you can always refill your supply and avoid a time-consuming eye test by being prepared. Renewing your prescription online and paying for expedited shipping is also an option.

Close your eyes and relax

Attached to seven different extraocular muscles, your eyes require a well-deserved rest. Flying between time zones and countries fatigue the mind as well as the body. Make sure to get adequate sleep and to keep the whole body well hydrated. A small conscious change such as having a water bottle on hand or getting a few extra hours of sleep can make a world of difference to your travelling with contact lenses experience. You may even want to consider not wearing your contacts for a portion or all of your trip to promote the health and comfort of your eyes.

About the author:

Christin Lee is a yoga instructor, entrepreneur, and lifestyle blogger living in NYC. She currently writes for InsiderEnvy with an emphasis and focus on fitness, health, and universal human rights.

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