Should I Travel With More Than Just Saline Solution?

Ask America's best icon for blogDear America’s Best:

I’m getting ready to do a lot of traveling during the holidays, and I usually only carry my saline solution along with me. Recently a friend questioned me on that decision, but I told her it was fine because the saline sterilizes my lenses while I have them out of my eyes.

Is it okay that I just use saline while I’m away or should I be travel with more than just saline solution?

Melissa in Georgia

Dear Melissa,

For the sake of your eye health, please don’t rely on your saline solution alone! I understand that carrying numerous bottles is a pain, but your eyes are worth it.

Saline solution can keep your lenses moist and can clean off surface dirt in a pinch, but you really need a sterilizing, disinfectant solution that will get your lenses completely clean overnight. If you don’t wear extended wear lenses (such as weekly wear lenses you wouldn’t take out each night), this type of solution is not just a nice idea, it’s a must.

If you are out on a day trip and drop a lens, sure, saline can keep that lens healthy for a few hours until you can get it home and into the disinfectant. But you should never rely on saline solution to clean the lens well enough for day-to-day wear.

When it comes to cleaning, you have many product options. I recommend that you talk to your America’s Best optician about which type of cleaners are best for your particular lenses. You can also investigate which cleaners come in travel size bottles!

Some cleaners require that you actually scrub the lenses, while others require you to use their special cleaning case. The solution actually does the work for you in those cases.

If you’d rather not carry those travel bottles, I’d recommend switching to daily contact lenses. This is the safest and easiest way for you to travel and keep your contacts sterile! With daily wear lenses, all you have to do is pop in a fresh pair of contacts each morning and throw them away at night. You’ll only need saline solution while you handle them each day. Even if you don’t want to wear daily lenses year-round, talk to your optometrist about getting a few weeks’ worth. They might be the best solution during your busy travel season.

Thanks again for your question Melissa! I hope it will help a lot of people remember that saline is not the same as disinfectant!

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