Travel Tips for Scleral Lens Wearers

Travel Tips for Scleral Lens Wearers

“Your adventure awaits!” Whoever penned this popular travel quote probably had no idea they were speaking directly to scleral lens wearers! Traveling with scleral lenses can be quite the adventure, even a bit intimidating. But, don’t let that stop you! With a little information and careful planning, you’ll be able to master scleral lenses on the go! 

Flying with scleral lenses 

If you have dry eyes and travel by plane, you’ve probably already noticed the impact on your symptoms with and without scleral lenses. You can help to reduce the impact of the recirculated, dry cabin air with a few small preparations. 

  • Avoid alcohol and salty snacks the day before and the day of air travel. 
  • Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. 
  • Bring a damp cloth in a sealed baggie to use as a compress during the flight.
  • Turn off the overhead vent blowing air right into your face. If you need additional ventilation, bring a handheld, portable fan in your carry on bag. 
  • If you fall asleep in your lenses, be prepared to rehydrate them when you awake. Have your preservative free rewetting drops handy and don’t be afraid to use them! 

What does the TSA allow me to bring in my carry-on? 

The Liquids Rule states that you may bring liquids that are 3.4 oz or smaller. You may qualify for the medical exemption known as the 3-1-1 rule. This exemption is for medical products you can not find at an airport and could potentially need while in-flight. There are several other rules and guidelines. See if you qualify here

Pro-Tip: What should be in your carryon? Anything you can’t be without for more than 24 hours or easily replace. Here is a checklist! 

  • Preservative Free Saline
  • Applicator Tool
  • Remover
  • MPS
  • Hand Mirror
  • Hand towel
  • Preservative Free Rewetting drops
  • Back-up lenses 

What if I forget or lose my supplies? 

Remembering everything you need starts with organization. Buy a travel bag to keep all our supplies in one place. A clear bag is preferable since you will have to remove your liquids while going through security. 

Make a checklist of must-haves and refer to it as you pack. Refer to the list above and any other recommendations by your Eye Care Provider such as alternative products that are compatible with your specific lenses and ocular needs. Scleral lens products are not readily available in most local pharmacies so knowing if there are any appropriate replacements ahead of time will take a lot of stress away should you forget your recommended products. 

Pro-Tip: Sometimes travelers are forced to gate-check their carryon bag. If this happens, tell the attendant that your “medical” supplies are in your bag and ask to remove them prior to them taking it. 

Long term travel

If you are traveling for an extended period of time, as your ECP for a referral to a local doctor who works with scleral lenses. This information might just be peace of mind, but, should an emergency arise, you will be one step ahead of the game. Check the quantities of your products and ensure you have enough to last. You can also send supplies to yourself using your hotel or other accommodations as a temporary shipping address. 

International Travel

Everything we have discussed so far applies to domestic and international travel except for one important thing- airport rules and regulations. You should investigate the laws and guidelines that will apply to your scleral lenses when you are traveling into and out of other countries. The TSA rules are irrelevant once you are outside of the US.

Tips for handling lenses away from home

Public restrooms are not ideal for handling lenses. However, it might be a necessity. As you do anytime you handle your lenses, wash your hands! Make sure you create a sterile environment using towels to catch your lenses should you drop one. Family restrooms are sometimes smaller and a bit cleaner. They typically have more counter space to work over, as well. 

Hotel restrooms may be more sterile, however, still take proper precautions to ensure you work over a clean and protected area. Any sink that is not at your home is a deathtrap for a scleral lens! Consider working over a table or desk that might be in your room. 

Bag up all of your supplies daily so that environmental services do not attempt to straighten-up the area. Or, place the privacy hanger on your door to ensure your supplies are not touched by anyone else. 

Yes, traveling with scleral lenses is more complicated. But, if you are aware and prepared, you can face the challenges with confidence and not allow it to dampen your travel experience!

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