Resident Expert: Contacts and Travel

Resident Expert: Contacts and Travel

By Paul Arfee, Resident Expert

Travel! If you're trying to go somewhere, travel is the best way to do it. Far better than sitting or eating, travel actively moves you closer to your destination! Problem is, how do you prepare for the horrors you may encounter upon arrival – bees, basket salesmen, lost luggage? Answer: you can't! However, you can take measures to assure clean, comfortable contact lens wear, wherever you go, and however you get there.

Before You Go

The first step is to double check: Are you actually wearing contacts? If not, what have you been sticking in your eyes all these months? You should probably look into that.

Next, before you leave, clean and disinfect your lenses properly with a multi-purpose solution like OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH®. Think of it as a nice spa day before the torments you're about to put them through: Sandstorms, bilge water, the evil eye from locals... You're not going to be doing yourself any favors if your contacts aren't at their best when you leave.

Getting There

There are a lot of different ways to get where you're going – teleporter, rickshaw, Dodge Stratus – but few are as quick or as consistently annoying as air travel, so let's focus on that, shall we?

The problem is, aircraft cabins are very dry. After several hours of flight, this lack of humidity can cause your lenses to become pretty uncomfortable. There is also probably a stranger asleep on your shoulder, breathing heavily onto your face. This is also uncomfortable, but for a different set of reasons.

Therefore, it's probably a good idea to bring a carry-on bottle of multi-purpose solution, along with some rewetting drops and a clean lens case. That way, if something does pop up with your contacts, you're ready for it.

"But, Paul," you say, "They're not gonna let me take lens solution on the airrrrcraft." OK, sassy pants, you're half-right – thanks to heightened airport security measures, it is now commonly believed that contact solution may be one of the harbingers of the apocalypse. Luckily, nothing could be further from the truth.

While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) generally doesn't allow you to carry-on liquids in containers larger than 3 ounces, the TSA rules are a bit more flexible for certain "over-the-counter medications" like contact solution and rewetting drops. Considering you might be flying to some godforsaken place where they don't actually sell things that are good for you, it's perfectly reasonable that you should be able to bring your own solution along.

Still, there are certain procedures here, so make sure you follow them, unless you want all the fun of a strip search. Here's the deal: You can bring any sized bottle of lens solution you want – just make sure a) you don't include it in your 1 quart sack of regular liquids and b) you declare it to your TSA agent.

Declaring's no big deal – just have the bottle out and let your TSA agent inspect it. You don't have to actually make a declaration of anything – in fact, that is probably more suspicious. "I WISH TO MAKE A DECLARATION. I HAVE A NORMAL BOTTLE OF CONTACT LENS SOLUTION. LOOK AT IT. TOTALLY NORMAL. HOW ARE YOU."

Still, because TSA rules are constantly in flux, you may encounter an agent who doesn't know of the lens solution exception. Luckily, all 4 oz. bottles of OPTI-FREE® now have "TSA Compliant!" listed on the label in bright, friendly letters, eager for eyes to absorb! There's even a little picture of a plane, in case you forget what "compliant" means!

If you'd like to take a closer look at the TSA rules, click here.

If you'd like to see a monkey riding a dog, click here.

Oh - one more thing: Because plane cabins are pressurized, your lens cases or solution bottles may leak a bit. The solution? Put them in a plastic bag after you've boarded!

You're now prepared to go wherever you'd like with your contacts. Or, just stay at home and avoid all the hassle. There's a lot of good TV shows on that you're probably missing.

Until the next adventure, I remain,
Paul Arfee, Resident Expert

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OPTI® eSTORIES is a place for eyes, of course - a forum for sharing tips and stories, for offering new vision and perspective, for discussing lifestyle and image, all through the window of our eyes. More than that, though, OPTI® is about celebrating the beauty within all of us, and the way our eyes can be just as unique as we are. Fun and feisty, elegant and soulful. It's all here. It's all OPTI®.

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