Last week I posted about what I pack for my scleral lenses while traveling. This week I’d like to offer my favorite trips, tricks, hacks, and strategies from the past couple of years. I hope at least some are helpful to other scleral users out there.
#1 — Get TSA Pre-Check! It’s a game changer. My bags sailed through security without being opened, despite containing more than double the allowable liquids. By the time of our return flight, which involved three different screenings in a foreign (therefore non-TSA) airport, I had depleted my supplies to fit in a single 3-1-1 bag.
#2 — Whenever I fly, I take a letter from my eye doctor that explains that I need to travel with medically necessary fluids over the 3-1-1 TSA limits. I keep this letter with my COVID vaccine record and passport.
#3 — Before TSA Pre-Check, I learned the hard way to put regular 3-1-1 liquids and my scleral care bag in separate bins. Fortunately everything turned out all right, but the situation could have been averted by simply placing one bag with my personal item and the other with my carry-on bag or shoes. The security line is so busy that TSA agents won’t know what belongs to which passenger, unless they are together in the same bin.
#4 — Another tried and true travel tip is to use flight and layover schedules to come up with a strategy for adjusting wear time for the destination time zone. On the way to Scotland, I wore my lenses from Kansas City to Newark and for most of the layover. I removed them just before boarding a flight to Edinburgh, and took a Benadryl to help me sleep. We landed first thing in the morning and took a cab to our hotel where I inserted my lenses and started the day with a photo walk. For a more detailed explanation, see my post Sclerals on Safari.
#5 — One of my past scleral travel tips is to keep the PROSE case in a 120-count Almay eye makeup remover pad jar. It fits exactly and keeps any spillage contained. But here’s a fresh hack: for a single overnight stay, remove the neutralizing disk from the PROSE case, fill it with fresh hydrogen peroxide disinfecting solution, screw on the lid and insert the case in the jar. Put the neutralizing disk on top of the PROSE case and close the lid. When it’s time to disinfect your lenses, drop the neutralizing disk into the pre-filled case. Easy peasy! Pop an inserter and remover into the jar as well for a self-contained disinfection kit.
#6 — This tip is for Nutrifill users who also use DMV removal plungers. The lid from the plunger storage tube exactly fits a Nutrifill container! It even makes a satisfying pop when putting it on. This is excellent for keeping the contents from spilling out in a pocket or purse while traveling. Important disclaimer. I do NOT in any way advocate saving preservative free saline for next day use. I use remaining saline to squeegee lens surfaces with cotton swabs during the course of a day, or to refill a lens during the morning. But by afternoon or evening, I will open a new vial. Leftover saline is used to rinse my lenses at the end of the day before disinfecting, and anything remaining after that goes down the drain. I follow the same rule for lubricating drops. One use, just as the manufacturers intend. Yes, scleral supplies are expensive, and Nutrifill is one of the pricier salines. But our vision is priceless, and given that we are wearing scleral lenses, odds are that we already face increased risk factors.
By the way, I also discovered a use for the longer section of the removal plunger storage tube. Keep it with your other scleral supplies in case you need an emergency inserter. Yes, I’ve tried it, and yes, it works. Bear in mind that it’s a little harder to hold onto because it is more slippery than the DMV inserter.
#7 — Keep the tiny storage vial lid clean by dropping it in the PROSE case just before putting the lens basket in to sterilize. This might also work for DMV inserters and removers as there is plenty of room in the PROSE case, but I have not yet tried it. The smaller ClearCare cases that we otherwise discard could also be used for this purpose — I would break off the lens baskets first though.
#8 — Saturate cleaning sponges with a cleaning solution. That’s one fewer bottle to pack, and TSA doesn’t consider the sponges to be a liquid. Rehydrate the solution with a squirt of saline. Each sponge can be used for several days.
#9 — In a past post I suggested packing checked solutions in an absorbent JetBag (designed for wine bottles). The same can be accomplished using a wet bag or a gallon size baggie (though I don’t trust baggies as much not to leak if a bottle breaks). In carry-on bags, a bit of plastic wrap under the lids of opened bottles provides insurance against leaks.
#10 — I wish I had know about this product before overseas travel — Aplicare Hydrogen Peroxide one-ounce packets. One ounce exactly fills the PROSE case. I have purchased a box of packets and tried one at home. I plan to take it on a flight to Las Vegas over Labor Day. With the discontinuation of trial-size ClearCare, these packets may be a godsend for scleral lens wearers suffering from wanderlust.