Travelling with glaucoma

Air Travel

Controlled air pressure inside the plane’s cabin makes up for most of the natural drop in pressure when the plane reaches higher altitudes. A moderate decrease in atmospheric pressure will not cause an obvious rise in eye pressure.

It is always advisable to put your glaucoma drops in your hand-luggage when travelling. The air inside a plane can be dry. If you have ocular surface disease (dry eyes) or are on a long-haul flight, you may need to put drops in while in the air.

Having access to your eye drops is also important with the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Passengers on flights are currently required to wear a face mask unless they are exempt due to medical reasons. Wearing a mask has been found to cause your eyes to become dry. Your exhaled breath can escape from the top of the mask, making the eyes drier than normal.

Although it is safe to fly after surgery, you should bear in mind that your eye doctor may wish to see you for several clinic appointments following surgery, to check that the eye pressure is at the correct level. It is still recommended that if you have glaucoma, fly frequently and have advanced circulatory problems, you should seek advice from your eye health specialist or ophthalmologist.

Most pharmaceutical companies recommend storing medications at temperatures between 59-86° Fahrenheit. If you are travelling to a hot climate, your eyedrops should be fine as long as they are not subjected to extremely hot temperatures for extended periods of time, such as more than a few days.

The package insert that comes with your glaucoma medication will provide information regarding storage requirements. If you have questions, you can talk with your pharmacist or call the drug manufacturer’s consumer helpline.

Travelling can change your routine - Here are some suggestions to help you take your medication on time.

  • Place your eye drops in your hand luggage.
  • Use a calendar on your phone to keep track of your medications. Mark the calendar when you have taken each one.
  • Set up an alarm on your phone to remind you when to take your daily doses.
  • If you’re taking day trips, don’t forget to bring your medications with you. Set up reminders, like a sticky note you keep with your wallet, a note on your hotel key or whatever works for you.
  • Medication schedules can be complicated, especially if you have been prescribed more than one medication. If you find your medicine routine difficult to follow or understand, ask your eye health specialist or ophthalmologist if there are changes or suggestions that might simplify your treatment regimen.

Most importantly, be careful not to lose your medication, and enjoy your travels.

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