Contacts in Europe

In one of my Rick Steves books, he mentions some people find that their contacts don't work in Europe. Is this true? I leave for Italy in two weeks and I don't even own glasses, just contacts.

Posted by Denice
Cleveland, USA
61 posts

I've worn contacts on multiple European trips, and other international trips and never had a problem. I can't think of a reason that they wouldn't. Do make sure that you take any solutions that you need and keep your eyes hyrated. Use the drops frequently during the flight so that they won't dry out. If your contacts aren't daily wear, it is a good idea to take an extra pair with you.

Posted by Katharine
Seattle, WA, USA
46 posts

If you require a certain brand/type of contact solution, be sure to bring enough for the entire trip because you may not be able to find a particular brand in Europe. I agree that it is a good idea to take more than one pair and a copy of your prescription, just in case. Other than that, I've never had a problem with my contacts in Europe. When I read that comment in Rick's book, I was confused and frankly, I still am!

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1145 posts

It might be too late for this trip but you really should have a pair of glasses to wear in emergencies. It is always possible that you could get an eye injury or infection and if you couldn't wear your contacts your trip would be ruined.

Posted by Liz
Malaga, Malaga, Spain
410 posts

That really doesn't make sense. There is no logical reason why they wouldn't work. If the climate is significantly different - usually drier - you might find you need to use drops occasionally. You will also find solution anywhere in Europe.

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1410 posts

I wore soft contacts in Paris in January 2006, with no problems. I brought 2 extras and plenty of cleaning solution, & eyedrops. There currently is some debate about whether you can bring cleaning solution in original bottles - since they do not come in 3oz. But I think if you have your prescription or contacts in original packaging, this will be OK. (check the TSA rules) I would imagine you can get cleaner in Europe too. But you should bring some glasses too!

Posted by Lisa
Beautiful Austin TX
582 posts

I can't understand why so many people can't find it in smaller bottles. No matter where I shop, I can always find Opti-Free in a 2 oz bottle. Also my eye doctor gives it to me for free!
I think it would be a good idea to get classes for emergencies. What if you catch and eye infection and had to take out your contacts? This happened to me before, but thankfully when not traveling.

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

Contact lens solutions must be in the 100ml/3oz or less bottles UNLESS you have a prescription for the fluid, not just the contacts. I've considered getting a prescription for the fluid, but it always turns out that I can either bring a small bottle of moisturising drops or wear glasses and put the fluids in my checked luggaged.
*
Even with dailies, people with dry to rinse eyes like me often need at least saline to rinse the storage fluid off the contacts and/or add extra fluid if it take more than one quick attempt to get them into the eye. And for some reason, I find it much harder to find plain preservative free saline - at least in the UK. They'll stock the cleaner I use but seem to think that people don't need saline as well...odd.
Kate

Posted by Karen
Atlanta
800 posts

A possibly helpful hint for other contact wearers. I usually wear the once a month disposable soft contacts. Not wanting to mess with so much cleaning solution for a 3 week trip, I asked my doctor about also getting a prescription for "Dailies". Now I use those whenever I travel - overnight or 3 weeks. They are separately sealed and quite light and easy to pack. Easier for me than worrying about the cleaning solution.