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Contact Lens Solution

I have a question re taking Contact Lens Solution in your carry on. I live in Canada and I am getting conflicting reports as to whether or not I can take over 100 ml in my carry on. I checked the CATSA site and it said "considered to be essential non-prescription medications and you are allowed to carry volumes greater than 100 ml in your carry on baggage" but when I contacted the airport, they said it falls in the liquids category and it has to be less than 100mls...Any thoughts

Posted by
290 posts

In my experience, it counts as liquids and cannot be in your carryon. However, smaller container for almost all brands are for sale, they are like 40 ml and can be carried!

I have had no problems with those

Posted by
2768 posts

It's a liquid medication and can be separate - but you have to present it at the security check. My son takes a medically necessary liquid prescription drug (over the 100ml limit) and we pull it out of the carry on and alert the screeners. We've also had contact solution or liquid allergy medicine in with it at various times. Often a sample is taken and tested. It's pretty fast.

That said, if you can get one or two bottles under the 100 ml limit into your regular liquid bag it would be easier.

Posted by
1097 posts

This does not answer your question, I know... try daily lenses! They are awesome for travel and so much more comfortable and hygienic. I was out of town on work travel once and lost one of my non-dailies down the sink and had to call the eye doctor, make an emergency run to an optical shop, etc. Now I take the dailies and a few extra and as I use them up along the way, free up a tiny bit more space in my bag.
I know they probably aren't suitable for everyone, but I like 'em!

Posted by
1292 posts

I think the airport is is liquids. My sister had a similar issue. She needed distilled water for a sleeping machine that was doctor ordered. However, security confiscated her water. (We were not checking bags and arriving very late and she did not want to "have" to find a store to get the water) When they talked to us they explained that although the machine was doctor ordered, the liquid was easily available anywhere and did not count as "essential non-prescription medication" (She was not planning on using the machine on the flight and therefore was not allowed the distilled water it took to run it) This is just my own experience and others may have different results. However, I would be aware it could (and I think probably will) be confiscated. Lens solutions are readily available for sale in Europe, so I don't think they qualify as "essential". I think you would have to make a case that it is something you HAVE to have and can't get just anywhere. (They politely listened to my sister about why she felt it was essential, apologized and confiscated it. it was worth a shot, but we had to find a grocery store and purchase more when we got there.)

Posted by
1078 posts

The daily lens are great for packing light. Also, you could just get 2-3 bottles that are less than 3oz. and put it in them but they would have to be sterile.

Posted by
3941 posts

Goodness, I'm trying to remember what hubby has done. I know we have taken the travel size ones and keep it out of the 311 bag and just take it out separately and put it in the bin when going thru security/X-ray. Never had an issue with 'it must be in the 311 bag'. We leave it sealed. And we only take carry on when we go overseas.

Depending on how long you are going for and how many people are using it, a travel size one should last a few weeks. We took a small one once for a 3 week trip and ran out halfway thru (we were both wearing contacts then). He's had a small one last almost a whole 3 week trip. Ran out a few days before our trip was over when in the UK and easy to find at a Boots or other pharmacy.

Where are you travelling? Perhaps people can tell you the best place to buy it. When we went to Italy, we couldn't find it at all in a pharmacy and had to buy it from an optometrist in Milan...that was fun figuring that one out when we were down to one or two nights of solution left

I keep thinking he did take a full size one once, but most likely that was when we went to California and checked a bag.

Posted by
1194 posts

I recently went on a 5 week long trip with contacts. I decided that it was easier to take multiple bottles of 3 oz lens solution and eye drops rather than try to work my way past security. I was also going through security at foreign airports with different rules. I went with the sure thing.
My 3-1-1 bag was fairly full of lens solution. I only used 1/3 of it as I decided to wear my glasses more than my contacts (especially on air travel days).

For a 2 week trip it's less hassle to just put the lens solution in the 3-1-1 bag.
I was in the mountains and the jungle for most of my trip. Many times the available water was non-potable so cleaning my hands was difficult. I brought small packs of alcohol wipes to clean my fingers for lens insertion/removal. A small 10x magnifying mirror helped too.

Posted by
102 posts

Yup, counts as a liquid and needs to be in the plastic bag. A new 3 oz. bottle usually lasts me for a 2 week trip, and you can find if fairly easily in any large city. As stated above, get it from an optometrist and not the pharmacy.

Posted by
33 posts

When I used the non-daily lenses I bought my solution from a pharmacy when I arrived. I really liked the single use ampoules I could get in France.

Now I use dailies - so much easier!

Posted by
127 posts

My initial thought isn't helpful- that I'm happy to see the CATSA rules are just as arbitrary and conflicting as those in the US. Sorry, I had the flight from hell on AA this week and your post took away some of the lingering sting.

That being said, if the CATSA is anything like the US TSA, much of what is true or not depends on the local airport's interpretation of the TSA rules. I would put more weight on what you were told than what the website says. Is there something special about the solution you need? It's likely you can even find your brand of solution at your destination.

Posted by
1097 posts

Yes, the dailies are in little individual capsule type packs. You peel back the foil on top and there is a fresh, new contact lens every day. There is enough solution in the pack that if you're careful opening it you can use the solution it's packed in to rinse if you need to. I rarely need to supplement with saline. I didn't even take any with me to Europe. I had no trouble finding saline there when I needed some.
Keep in mind that there are quite a few different kinds of "solution." If you're using plain saline, that's easy. But if you're taking a specific enzymatic or peroxide type solution, you may not find exactly what you need there. My eye doc always told me not to switch up brands.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for all helpful advice and tips everyone :-) not heading to Italy till next spring but wanted to try my hand this month at using carry on only as we are headed to Saint Lucia....figured I'd try and get myself used to it now...kinda like a trial run :-)

Posted by
3 posts

Contact lenses aren't considered "liquids" like the other items that have to be 3oz or less. I have to wear special contacts, and need to use saline solution with them, which isn't usually available in the small bottles, so I travel with a full-size bottle of it. If you do have a larger bottle, you'll need to let them know, and they'll take it aside and do a special test on it to make sure it's not a hazardous liquid. It just involves them squeezing some of the liquid onto a test strip, and they've always done it in front of me so I can make sure that the bottle isn't improperly handled.

If you can use the smaller bottles, it's definitely easier, but it's completely doable if you can't. Just make sure to give yourself a little extra time to get through security.

Posted by
3941 posts

Flying from Halifax, I've never had to have my travel size lens solution in the 311 bag. Perhaps the USA is different.

Posted by
2753 posts

Where you fly from is a consideration.
We packed our college twins to Europe a couple summers back, they both have contacts. Their large shared bottle of saline, enough for the trip, was fine in their carry-on as medicine - leaving our US airport. On their transfer in Heathrow, flying BA, the Brits made them throw it out. Same thing on their return, boarding their BA plane in Amsterdam they had to toss their fluid.

Posted by
911 posts

I wear Gas Permeable rigid contacts. Depending on how long I am going to be gone, I carry 1 to 3 bottles (1 oz. each) of Boston Simplus Solution in my 311 bag. Two bottles will suffice for 2 to 3 weeks. I have found the solution in London, Paris and Singapore along various other types if you need more fluid.


Posted by
2609 posts

I buy 2 travel size lens solutions (not drops but the soaking solution), 1 goes in my checked bag and the other in my carry-on. Both are under the allowed limit and I could put both in my carry-on 3-1-1 bag but don't to save room for other must-have liquids. I get 8 nights' worth out of each so for 2 weeks this works perfectly.

Posted by
1221 posts

Another person who uses gas permeable rigid lenses. I put the oversized bottle of soaking solution separate from the 3-1-1 bag (I bag it over leakage concerns but it's not required) tell the security person it's contact lens solution, and have not had it questioned in the USA (TSA bulletin specifically says it fits the 'medically necessary' definition) over multiple flights. Can't remember if I checked it for UK or Germany-originating flights.

While the box is the same, the Boston lens cleaner I bought in the UK after running out did seem to have a different color and viscousity to it than what's sold in North America, but it cleaned my lenses correctly.

Posted by
139 posts

Hi! this is my first post, long time lurker though...

As far as I know, contact lens solution is consider liquid, even with prescription. I know you're in Canada, but I checked the TSA app and it says this

You may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in your carry-on bags only if they adhere to the 3-1-1 rule: containers must be 3.4 ounces or less; stored in a 1 quart/liter zip-top bag; 1 zip-top bag per person, placed in the screening bin. Larger amounts of non-medicinal liquids, gels, and aerosols must be placed in checked baggage.

I used to buy the travel size and get two-2 ounces bottles with me, just in case one spilled. But now I switched to Dailies when I travel, and I'm glad I did. No more bringing my solution bottles and lens case. I mean, I use lens cases to store moisturizer or concealer, but not for contact lenses anymore.

Posted by
2091 posts

Contact lens solution is a medical necessity therefore it goes in a separate ziploc bag from your 3-1-1 bag and can even be in a 1 gallon-size bag for medications.