Many people have turned from glasses to contact lenses for a variety of reasons. However, the extra care contacts require sometimes makes people shy away from wearing contacts while traveling. Or, worse, travelers end up not caring for their contacts correctly while on the trip. Fortunately, you can take your contacts with you on your vacation and enjoy your trip! Just be sure to follow a few key pointers recommended by optometrists and the Centers for Disease Control.
Keep your contacts clean:
Do not let your contact care habits take a vacation when you do! Just because you are traveling doesn’t mean your contacts should stay in your eyes longer than normal or that you should forego normal care. Be sure to always wash your hands with soap and water before touching your lenses. Be sure to use contact solution and not other liquids for storing your contacts. And, clean your lens case and change the solution daily. The CDC recently published a study showing that contact wearers aren’t doing these things enough, and such neglect can lead to all kinds of nasty eye infections. The last place you want to deal with eye problems is on vacation!
Be security conscious:
The TSA has very strict rules regarding liquids. Nothing more than 3.4 oz may go in a carry on. If you have a small bottle of solution that you would like to keep on your person on the airplane, be sure to place it in a clear bag that can be removed for examination by security officials. Other countries, like the United Kingdom, have similar regulations. Another option is to simply forego bringing any solution and purchase a small bottle when you arrive, or pack the solution in your luggage.
Swimming is fun! Amoebas are not:
Just like at home, swimming with contact lenses is not the best idea, and it is especially not a good one if you are visiting a less developed country. If you normally shower with your lenses in, consider removing them if you are in a location where drinking water from the tap is not suggested. And, be sure to wash your hands with bottled water in these locations to avoid incidental contamination. Amoebas and other water-borne critters can cause all kinds of problems.
Always have a backup:
If you do run into any problems with your contacts, be it an infection or even a ripped lens, be sure to have a backup plan. Bringing an additional pair or two of lenses will help you out if something happens to the ones you are currently using. Have a pair of glasses with you as well, since you never know when you might need them. Finally, bring a copy of your prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses. These numbers are recognized globally and will be useful in case anything does happen.
If something happens, seek help!
Red, painful, or light sensitive eyes can be a sign that something has gone wrong. If you experience these symptoms, remove your contacts immediately. It could just be something minor, but you are better off not risking it. To be safe, put the lenses in their case, and wear your glasses until you see an eye professional. It is possible that you may have to travel a long way for help as eye doctors may not be as common as you would expect in your destination. In the end, though, it is better to make a three hour trip to be told things are okay rather than to end up having a more serious problem with your vision.
Do you use contacts when you travel? What have you found to be the most effective methods to handle them as you vacation or travel? Comment below or on the Passport Health Facebook page and let us know!