By MATT HARRIS
If you’re gearing up for your next holiday you may be mentally packing bikinis and cocktail dresses, or perhaps golf clubs and sweater vests, eager to get away for a week or two. Before getting too carried away, spare a moment to think about your contact lenses – they might not make you look great on the beach, but they’ll sure make looking much easier.
Several weeks before you’re due to leave, make sure you have enough contact lenses to cover you comfortably for the duration of your holiday. If you find you don’t have enough lenses this will give you enough time to order more. Alternatively, look up if or where you can purchase new contact lenses at your destination.
Other things you might want to consider stocking up on before you leave are contact lens containers (for monthly or fortnightly lenses), saline solution, and rewetting drops.
Packing Your Suitcase
If you wear daily disposable lenses it’s worth taking extra pairs with you – if they don’t take up too much room, there’s no harm taking more than you need just in case. For monthly contact lenses, ensure you have an adequate supply of saline solution and that the bottle is closed firmly to prevent any leaking. It doesn’t hurt to pack a spare lens case either. Bringing your own supply of paper towels will also guarantee you can always dry your hands properly after washing them without having to worry about lint or bits of fluff sticking to your fingers.
Although rare, remember that your luggage might get lost in transit. To avoid the risk of arriving without lenses for a few days, pack everything in your hand luggage, bearing in mind the security regulations detailed below. Finally, if you plan on wearing your contact lenses on the flight, don’t forget to pack your glasses in your hand luggage!
The dry atmosphere on planes means you’re more likely to experience dry eyes on a flight, which is made worse by wearing contact lenses with high water content. Consuming alcohol or caffeine, which dehydrates your body, only makes the problem worse. If you want to wear lenses on your flight there are two solutions to this problem: gas permeable lenses and using eye drops.
Keep in mind most lenses can’t be slept in, so if your flight last several hours, bring your contact lens case and solution to store while you sleep, or a spare pair of lenses if you wear daily disposables.
When travelling by plane security regulations restrict you from bringing liquids over 100ml on board. This shouldn’t be a problem for rewetting drops, but in the likely event that your saline solution comes in a container exceeding 100ml you’ll have to decant some into a smaller bottle that meets security requirements.
While away it’s important to follow your usual routine for handling lenses to ensure your eyes stay healthy. This means washing your hands with soap and water and drying them thoroughly before touching your lenses or eyes. You might not have all the conveniences of home available to you, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore looking after your lenses (and eyes!) properly. Always clean your monthly lenses after wearing them and store them in a lens case with fresh saline solution. While out and about exploring, bring your case and solution with you, along with your glasses, so you can remove your lenses if necessary.
If you find yourself unable to store your monthly lenses in saline solution for whatever reason, throw them away rather than risk developing an eye infection by wearing them. Trust us, that won’t look good in your holiday pictures!
Lastly, if you experience any problems while abroad, visit your nearest optician like you would at home. Now that you’re prepared for traveling with contact lenses, the only thing you have left to do is enjoy yourself.