Tips for travelling with contact lenses

Person taking notes in a notebook on the open suitcase

Getting ready for a short staycation, a holiday abroad or a business trip can often be stressful - and if you wear contact lenses, it's even more important to plan ahead. Keeping up your eye care routine on the go is essential, and the last thing you want is for anything contact lens-related to throw a spanner in your plans. To ensure that your getaway goes as smoothly as possible, our in-house opticians, have gathered the top travel tips for holidaying with your lenses, hassle-free.

Looking to plan your summer break? See where you can go on holiday without quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic here.

Preparation is key

If you're organised in advance, travelling with your contact lenses can be a breeze. Basically, it all boils down to sticking to the schedule advised by your optometrist, following the correct steps for looking after your lenses and packing all your eye care must-haves. Sleeping with your lenses in, unless advised by your optometrist, is a serious no-no, whether you're on a long haul flight or train journey. It's vital to always remove your lenses before nodding off (even for a quick nap) either throwing them away or storing them in a contact lens case of multipurpose solution.

Switch to daily contact lenses

Daily disposable contact lenses are low maintenance, convenient and hygienic, making them an incredible choice for travelling. Even if you're a regular wearer of two-weekly contact lenses or monthlies, asking your optician if you can temporarily switch for your trip could save you a lot of trouble. Given that dailies don't require any storing or cleaning, you can simply take them out before bed, and put in a new, fresh pair in the morning. If during the day, they get dirty in the middle of a hike or sandy on the beach, you can remove them, and put in another set on the spot. Plus, they're thinner in design than monthlies and more breathable - ideal for combatting dry eyes in air-conditioned hotel rooms or during air travel.

everclear ELITE product box

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Exclusive to Vision Direct, everclear ELITE contact lenses are incredibly comfortable and convenient, with an ultra-hydrating formula perfect for those with dry eyes, locking in moisture throughout your travels. These daily disposable lenses are made with a silicone hydrogel material, ensuring your eyes stay and look healthy for up to 12 hours, free from irritations and itchiness. Plus, UV blocking offers an extra layer of defence against harmful sun rays during your tanning sessions.

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Use a contact lens travel pack

Although carry-on bags and hand luggage with liquid restrictions can pose a small problem for contact lens wearers, this can easily be rectified with the help of travel pack solutions. Portable and perfect for slipping into your luggage, without taking up space or leaking, these packs of small bottles of solutions allow you to maintain your eye care routine when you're out and about with ease. To keep all your eye care items in one place, just get your hands on a Daily Contact Lens Essentials Kit or a Monthly Contact Lens Essentials Kit - each featuring a nifty Travel Case for transporting your spare pairs of lenses. Remember to never store your lenses in anything but contact lens solution, and bring enough for your whole trip.

Pack eye drops

You won't regret adding a bottle of eye drops to your packing list and carry-on luggage, or alternatively, rewetting drops. Whether you're travelling on a plane and experience dryness, or post-swim, your eyes feel inflamed, eye drops will provide soothing relief in a flash. Remember, when you're flying to put your eye drops bottle or any other travel-sized liquids in a zip-lock bag, too. If you're looking for a reliable brand for your next trip, our opticians recommend everclear Eye Drops, with a natural yet effective formula, ideal for sensitive eyes. Giving your eyes a break and switching to your eyeglasses is also a good idea, especially if they're constantly exposed to dry air, or start to feel uncomfortable.

Opt for lenses with UV protection

Investing in a good quality pair of sunglasses is obviously a no-brainer, particularly if you're jetting off to a tropical destination. However, you can up your protection even further by opting for lenses with UV blocking. Lens models with exceptionally good UV blocking performance include Acuvue Oasys and TruEye varieties, which both claim to offer around 95% blockage. If you want to give your eyes a break from contact lenses, then prescription sunglasses are the perfect alternative, as they allow you to see correctly while still sheltering your eyes. Don't be afraid to consult your optometrist about the best way to protect your eyes from the sun. Over-exposure to UV rays can be extremely damaging, potentially leading to cataracts, corneal sunburn, and macular degeneration down the line.

Woman and man diving with swimming goggles

Invest in prescription goggles

Water and contact lenses don't mix, which is why you should do your best to not get them wet. With this in mind, swimming with lenses is highly unadvisable. Water contains bacteria and pathogens that can get stuck behind your lens and possibly cause an eye infection. Plus, water can completely change the shape of your lens, so you can't wear it again. The best and safest option is to purchase prescription goggles.

Whether you're a toric lens wearer, with a contact lens prescription for astigmatism, or a multifocal wearer, with a prescription for presbyopia, these goggles allow you to paddle, with perfect vision. If prescription goggles aren't an option, daily lenses, complete with water-tight goggles can do the trick, as long as they fit your face, preventing any water from leaking in. After your swim, you can then take them out, throw them away and put in a new set, or switch to a pair of glasses.