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Contact lenses on airplane: all you need to know

Eye Health

structure image Contact lenses on airplane: all you need to know


Have you ever been flying on a plane and felt your contacts getting dry, causing irritation in your eyes? Well, there is a reason why.

Many contact wearers might run into this problem because of the pressure change inside the airplane cabin. When you're cruising at 30,000 feet in the sky, the reduced atmospheric pressure, oxygen, and humidity make the air dry. So, can you bring contacts on a plane?

Wearing contacts on airplane

We recommend against wearing your contacts on the plane—think about how dehydrated you get after flying. The lack of oxygen can cause dry eyes, making the lenses tighten in your eye, which can cause microscopic tears to the cornea. This effect may occur even during regular use, so you can imagine how the effects double when you're in an airplane.

Sleeping with contacts during flight

Many passengers, especially on long international flights, like to sleep to pass the time. If you've read our article “Is it bad to sleep in your contacts?" you will know that sleeping in your contacts is like “sleeping with a plastic bag over your head." So, if you're going to sleep during your flight, keep the case of your contacts in your carry-on bag so you can safely store them.

By taking the right steps and precautions, you'll be able to see far and wide from the airplane and avoid dry eyes from your contact lenses. Don't forget to take two extra pairs of contact lenses just in case you lose or damage your current pair.

Getting through security with contacts

With these changes in the environment on an airplane, it is recommended that you should bring a contact lens solution with you, but how should you go about getting through airport security?

Can you bring contact solution on a plane?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has strict rules regarding bringing liquids in a carry-on bag. Here is what the TSA requires passengers to adhere to regarding liquids such as contact lens solution:

“You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item." There is a loophole for contact lens solution though as it is considered a medically necessary liquid. You must declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection.

To keep it simple, bring a travel-size bottle of contact lens solution in your carry-on bag. With these TSA limitations, pack a travel-size bottle of contact lens solution in your carry-on bag. Store it in a separate zip-top bag within your carry-on, allowing you to use your solution during your flight if you experience dry contacts.

How to pack contacts when flying

On a flight that lasts more than three or four hours, you might want to wait to put in your contacts until you arrive at your destination. When flying internationally or from coast to coast, wear a pair of prescribed glasses instead of your contact lens. But where should you pack your lenses? Do contacts have to go in a liquid bag?

How you pack your contact lenses when flying depends on when you need to use them. When flying with contact lenses as a precaution, always store them somewhere you can easily access them. Carry your contact lenses and solution in your carry-on bag. The last thing you want to deal with is a lost bag with your contact lenses inside. Now you can relax and enjoy your flight!