It’s always important to pack accordingly whenever you travel — especially if you wear contacts for corrective or cosmetic purposes.
If you’re one of many who prefer contacts over glasses, you probably enjoy the convenience of not having to worry about breaking or losing your glasses during a trip. Plus, glasses can quickly get foggy and wet in cold weather, so it makes sense to pack less bulky contact lenses.
However, it’s essential to be extra careful with handling your contacts while on the go. Most types of contact lenses need to be cleaned daily and stored correctly to avoid eye infections. In this post, we’ll look at four essential contact lens care tips for travelers.
Contact Lens Care Tips for Travelers
1. Consider Daily Disposable Lenses
While wearing reusable contact lenses may seem convenient, keep in mind that cleaning and handling your contacts while traveling may not be the safest. Whether in a public bathroom, hotel, or car, you risk contaminating your lenses or even damaging them.
Because of this, experts recommend daily disposable contacts as they may help you prevent infections. A study found that people who wear reusable contacts are four times more likely to be at risk of contracting Acanthamoeba keratitis — a rare but severe eye infection — compared to those who use daily disposables.
Daily disposables are a safer option for frequent travelers and more affordable.
2. Pack Extras
If you’re not too eager to use daily disposable contact lenses, packing extra lenses and a spare pair of glasses is ideal. This can help when you’re in situations where cleaning or putting on your contact lenses may be a hassle — such as on a plane or in a car.
While you can wear your reusable contact lenses safely for 14 to 16 hours daily, it’s always best to take them out as soon as possible so your eyes can breathe. They also must be cleaned and stored correctly, as the risk of eye infections increases otherwise.
As such, bringing along a larger pack will be helpful in case something happens to your lenses while you’re on the go. When ordering contacts, you can opt to buy a six-pack of Acuvue Oasys or even larger quantities to have a long-lasting supply. If you don’t end up using them, at least you’ll always have extras with you.
3. Bring Travel-sized Contacts Solution
As explained in our introduction, contacts can be high-maintenance. Daily cleaning can help prevent infections, but certain contact lenses require specific solutions. Regardless of your solution, it can help to bring travel-sized bottles of contact solution.
A typical travel-size bottle (about 2 oz) will last one to two weeks and complies with TSA contact solution guidelines.
Travel-sized contact solutions will also fit your carry-on or “personal item” purse. You may not necessarily need to clean your contacts while on a plane, but it’s great to have them handy for dryness and to ensure there’s no leak or contamination.
For reference, any liquid or gel not exceeding 3.4 oz is permitted on a plane, so as long as your contact lens solution fits that capacity, there’ll be no problem.
4. Avoid Sleeping With Contacts On
Last, but not least, it’s essential not to forget the basic rule of wearing contact lenses: Never fall asleep wearing them. Sleeping with contacts for an extended period significantly reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your cornea’s surface.
This can cause dryness, irritation, and even pain. In the worst-case scenario, you risk developing an eye infection. Wearing your contacts overnight gives bacteria more time to develop into an infection.
This is important for travelers to remember, as tourist activities can be tiring, causing you to rush to bed at the end of the day. Always remember to remove your contacts before any nap or shut-eye you might take.