Can You Bring Contact Lens Solution on a Plane and Through TSA? (+ Tips) (2023)

For those who need them, it’s hard to think of a more essential travel accessory than contact lenses.

Unfortunately, getting contact lenses through TSA security is not always as clear as you would like it to be.

Below, I’ll give you some guidance on how to get your contact lenses and solution through airport security as a carry-on and also provide some tips for traveling with them in general.

Table of Contents

Can you bring contact lens solution on a plane and through TSA?

Yes, you can bring contact lens solution on a plane and through TSA in your carry-on or checked bag.

When bringing contact lens solution in your carry-on, you will need to be mindful of the TSA liquids rule and its medical exception (which we talk about below).

But you also need to be careful about certain types of solution, such as those containing hydrogen peroxide because those can be more problematic.

Keep reading below to find out how to potentially avoid problems.

When bringing your contacts and solution in your carry-on, you are going to have to get them through TSA airport security.

And that means dealing with the TSA liquids rule.

TheTSA Liquids 3-1-1 Rulestates that you can only bring liquids in containers no larger than 3.4 liquid ounces (100 milliliters) and that all of your liquid containers must fit “comfortably” into one clear, quart-size bag.

Plenty of suppliers sell contact solution bottles at or under 3.4 liquid ounces so it’s definitely possible to find a container under these size limits.

(Video) TSA's 3-1-1 Liquids Rule

Solution bottles larger than 3.4 ounces

Sometimes you might not be able to find a solution container under 3.4 ounces. For example, maybe you use a special type of contact solution recommended by your eye doctor that is harder to find in travel sizes.

Well, there is still good news for you.

TSA allows you to bring liquids larger than 3.4 ounces if they are medically necessary.

They specifically state: “TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip, but you must declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection.”

In theory, all contact solution — prescription or not — should be medically necessary but that determination could be up to the TSA agent at the screening station.

So this means that you can bring contact solution in containers larger than 3.4 fluid ounces but some discretion will be involved.

The catch when bringing an oversized liquid container for medical purposes is that it needs to be a reasonable quantity for your trip and you need to declare it to the TSA agents.

A “reasonable quantity” is going to depend on the circumstances but generally one oversized bottle should be reasonable for your average trip of a few days or even a couple of weeks.

You would probably only run into some quantity issues if you have multiple oversized bottles or if you had one inexplicably large container.

TSA also mentions that you need to declare your medically necessary liquids.

An easy way to do this would be to place your oversized contact solution container into a clear plastic bag and as you are getting ready to go through security just tell the agent that you have a container of contact solution that is medically necessary.

In most cases, you’ll also need to pull out your plastic bag with your solution container and place it in its own tray just like you normally do with your liquids bag.

You may not have to do this if you have something like TSA Pre-Check but you should always be ready to quickly retrieve an oversized liquids container and explain why you are bringing it with you.

One important thing to note: it’s not hard to find reports of TSA agents sometimes giving people trouble when they bring in large bottles of contact solution.

.@TSA just took my wife’s prescription contact lens solution at LAX. Please explain this! @AskTSA

(Video) Saline Solution for Contact Lenses: WARNING if you're travelling abroad!

— Rebecca Henry (@girlsside) April 15, 2018

For that reason, I would save the screenshot below which comes from the official TSA Twitter account where they make it clear that oversized bottles of contact solution are allowed.

Additional screening and hydrogen peroxide solution

One more thing that you need to be ready for when bringing contact solution through TSA is additional screening.

A lot of times whenever you bring a liquid container over 3.4 ounces TSA agents will want to take a close look at it to make sure that it does not trigger their tests for explosives.

Some types of solution bottles could be considered more hazardous than others. For example, contact lens solutions with hydrogen peroxide (usually the type with a red cap like Clear Care) could draw more attention.

There are many reports of TSA agents confiscating this type of contact solution when it doesn’t pass the explosives test during additional screening.

For that reason, I would only attempt to transport contact solution with hydrogen peroxide through TSA security if it is in a container under 3.4 fluid ounces.

That way, you can decrease the odds of getting your solution tested.

But even then be aware that some people report their containers being confiscated even when the container is under 3.4 ounces! (Reportedly, some TSA agents confiscate these bottles whenever they see a red cap on them.)

So, at the end of the day it will probably just come down to does your solution bottle: 1) contain a red cap or 2) test positive for certain chemicals not allowed through the checkpoint.

If the answer is yes to any of those, you may run into trouble bringing your container through TSA security.

Bringing contacts and solution in your checked bag

If you choose to bring your contacts in your checked baggage then you can avoid the liquids screening process for your contact solution altogether.

In that case, the liquids 3.4 ounce limitation will not apply.

For people with contact solution containing hydrogen peroxide, putting it in their checked bag is often the best option.

But you still may need to think about a few things.

(Video) Liquids That Do NOT Go In Bag for TSA (Regular Airport Security)

First, your luggage could always be delayed or lost so you should never put anything in your checked baggage that you cannot live without.

For many people, they cannot live without corrective lenses and their contact solution so I would only put those items in your checked baggage if you also had some in your carry-on bag.

If your contact solution will not be allowed in your carry-on (because of something like 3% hydrogen peroxide), you are sort of out of luck in this scenario which is really a shame. You may be forced to risk going without that solution in the event your checked bag goes missing.

Travel tips for your contacts and solution

Prevent leaks

As you increase in altitude, the air will expand inside of your containers.

If you’ve ever flown with a bag of potato chips you’ve probably noticed how expanded the bag gets once you arrive at 30,000+ feet. It’s kind of crazy.

Well, the same type of thing can happen with the air inside of your contact solution bottle. This can cause leaks which is why it’s a good idea to put your contact solution containers inside of a plastic bag.

It can also help to squeeze the air out of your solution bottle before you begin ascending so that there is more room for the air to expand.

Switch to daily contacts

You can always temporarily switch to daily contacts whenever you are traveling.

This will allow you to completely avoid using contact solution and having to worry about keeping up with cleaning your contact cases.

Travel with back ups

When traveling, it’s a good idea to bring some back up contacts just in case your contacts get lost or damaged. I usually always keep a back-up pair in my toiletries bag and one pair in my backpack.

If you already use daily contacts, be sure to bring several extra on your trip because you never know when you might need more.

Bring your glasses

If you have eyeglasses, always make sure to bring those with you, even if you rarely wear them.

When you travel to new destinations, fly on a plane, etc. it’s not uncommon for your eyes to get irritated and putting contacts on irritated eyes is often a bad idea.

So I would always try to have a pair of eyeglasses with you, even if you don’t regularly wear them.

Avoid transferring your solution into another container

Some people might think about transferring their contact solution into a smaller container so that they can more easily get through TSA security.

(Video) TSA Rules for Medical Items and Devices

For example, maybe you want to pour your solution into a smaller TSA-approved liquids container.

The problem with this is that you could contaminate your solution which could increase your chances of getting infected. Therefore, I would recommend against doing that.

Final word

You should not have any problems bringing a travel sized container of normal contact solution through airport security.

But even if your container is larger than 3.4 ounces, you can still bring it through thanks to the TSA medical exemption which allows you to transport larger containers in reasonable quantities.

However, if you have contact solution with a red tip that contains hydrogen peroxide there is a long track record of TSA agents confiscating these when they don’t pass the explosives test.

So I would probably only try to transport those if they were in a container under 3.4 ounces or if you placed them in your checked bag.

Can You Bring Contact Lens Solution on a Plane and Through TSA? (+ Tips) (6)

Daniel Gillaspia

Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.



How do I declare a contact solution for TSA? ›

Contact solution falls under the TSA's definition of medical liquids, which means you can bring on more than the 3 oz. maximum allowance for most other liquids. You don't have to put your solutions in a baggie, just declare them at the checkpoint. Squeeze half-used bottles of solution before air travel.

How big can contact solution be on a plane? ›

These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item." There is a loophole for contact lens solution though as it is considered a medically necessary liquid. You must declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection.

Do contact lenses have to go in liquid bag at airport? ›

Know the travel security rules

TSA allows contact lenses in both carry-on and checked bags, but contact lens solution is another story. A container of contact lens solution in your carry-on bag must contain 3.4 ounces of liquid or less, and all of your carry-on liquids must fit into a clear plastic bag.

Is saline solution TSA approved? ›

Actual TSA Email Regarding Contact Saline Solution

Contact lens solutions are considered over-the-counter medications and are allowed in carry-on bags. If the contact lens solution is 3.4 ounces or less, it may be placed in a quart-sized, resealable plastic bag along with other toiletries.

Can I bring tweezers on a plane? ›

Yes, tweezers and razors are allowed on planes, in your cabin bag. So are scissors, as long as the edges are less than 4 inches long (10 cm). Straight razor blades, however, are not allowed in the carry-on. They must be packed in your checked bag instead, or left at home.

What are exceptions to TSA liquid rules? ›

Are there any exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule? The TSA does exempt some items from the 3-1-1 rule: medically necessary liquids, formula, and breast milk. You can bring more than 3.4 ounces of these liquids on board, but you may have to undergo additional security screening.

Does mascara count as a liquid TSA? ›

So is mascara considered a liquid? Yes, when it comes to makeup, the following items are considered liquid cosmetics: mascara. nail polish.

What is a travel size bottle of contact solution? ›

Travel Size Contact Solution

You contact solution is sterile and transferring it yourself will introduce contaminants. This will put your eyes at risk for an infection. Travel size bottles are going to hold about 2 ounces of liquid. This should last you a week or two.

How do you pack contact lenses for flying? ›

You're allowed to fly with sealed disposable contact lens blister packs in both your hand luggage and checked bags. You can also pack non-disposable lenses in a small amount of solution (usually no more than 100ml) in a contact lens case within your hand luggage.

Can I put my contacts in a Ziploc bag? ›

You can use Ziploc bags or a cup to put your lenses in for a few hours. TAKE NOTE: This storage solution requires you to have saline, cleaning solution, or even your re-wetting eye drops in with the lenses. Otherwise, they will dry out. (You do not ever want to store your contact lenses in tap water.

Should I wear contacts or glasses at the airport? ›

Contact lenses draw moisture from your eyes, too. If you wear lenses, the best thing to do is to remove them and switch to glasses for a long haul flight.

What is TSA approved toiletry? ›

You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.

What toiletries are TSA approved? ›

Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.

How much liquid medicine can you bring through TSA? ›

It is recommended that medication be clearly labeled to facilitate the screening process. You may bring medically necessary liquids, medications and creams in excess of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in your carry-on bag. Remove them from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings.

Can you bring tweezers and nail scissors on a plane? ›

If packed in carry-on, they must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point. Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.

Can you take nail clippers in carry-on? ›

Nail clippers, nail-trimming scissors and cuticle cutters are totally fine in your carry-on bag. But if the blades are over 6 cm in length, they will need to be packed inside your checked luggage (this same rule applies to small tools such as calipers and drill bits).

Do tweezers need to go in clear bag at airport? ›

Personal items such as small scissors, spoons, disposable razors, nail clippers and files, tweezers and knitting needles are allowed. As are glass items – however you might want to check they are well protected before packing them up.

How many 3 oz bottles can I take on a plane? ›

How many 3-ounce bottles can I carry on? You must be able to fit all your 3-ounce bottles into a 1-quart bag, which is 6 x 9 inches. This usually equates to nine bottles. FYI, you can use a Ziploc or any anything that's about that size, but the TSA doesn't officially approve or disapprove of any bags.

Can I pack a razor in my carry-on? ›

Safety Razors: Because the razor blades are so easy to remove, safety razors are not permitted in your carry-on luggage with the blade. They're fine to pack in your carry-on without the blade. The blades must be stored in your checked luggage. The same applies for straight razors.

Why do you have to remove your shoes at the airport? ›

The dreaded shoe removal ritual became part of the TSA screening process after Richard Reid, better known as the shoe bomber, tried to detonate an explosive device in his clunky sneakers on an airliner shortly after the 9/11 attacks. As a result, in 2006, the TSA began requiring all passengers to remove their shoes.

What makeup needs to go in clear bag at airport? ›

What make-up can you put in your hand luggage? You'll have no problem with powder or solid make-up such as powder, blush, palettes, eyeshadows and pencils. As for liquid products, you'll have to put them (as mentioned) in a clear bag, making sure you don't exceed the limit of 10 containers of 100 ml each.

Does makeup go in the 3-1-1 bag? ›

Adhere To The Tsa's 3-1-1 Rule For Easy Cosmetic Packing

When packing cosmetics for a domestic flight, remember the TSA's 3-1-1 rule. All liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes must be packaged in a quart-sized bag and be kept in containers with a diameter of at least 3.4 ounces, according to the rule.

Does eyeliner count as liquid carry-on? ›

You might think that your makeup products, such as concealer or foundation, don't fall into the “liquid” category by TSA standards—but you'd be wrong. According to the TSA, concealer, foundation, and even liquid eyeliner falls into the same category as other liquid toiletries, like shampoo and conditioner.

Does contact solution count for TSA? ›

TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip, but you must declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection.

Do contacts need to be in a quart bag? ›

Know the travel security rules

A container of contact lens solution in your carry-on bag must contain 3.4 ounces of liquid or less, and all of your carry-on liquids must fit into a clear quart-size plastic bag.

How much liquid is in a contact lens container? ›

The average case well holds 2.5mL of solution, the amount necessary to properly disinfect the contact lens. This breaks down to roughly three cents/mL of solution—just 30 cents per day for compliant use of multipurpose solutions.

Where can I put my eye contacts without a container? ›

Wash and dry two drinking glasses.

If you have access to a pair of shot glasses, those might be the best to use. You could also try short juice glasses. Pat the surface dry inside and out with a paper towel. Don't allow any water to get in contact with your contacts.

What can I use if I have no contact solution? ›

But if you find yourself without any contact solution and you need to get creative, you can try using these substitutes:
  1. Hydrogen Peroxide.
  2. Saline Nasal Spray.
  3. Eye Refreshing Drops.
  4. Home-Made Saline Solution.
Jul 25, 2022

What can you use as a substitute for contact solution? ›

Other alternatives for contact solution: Saline!

Most people have a saline solution at home; either from nasal spray or to clean babies' eyes. Saline is one of a few alternatives for contact solution as a temporary storage liquid to keep contact lenses hydrated and lubricated.

What are 4 items you Cannot bring on an airplane? ›

Restricted Items NOT Allowed on a Plane in Your Carry-On
  • Sharp objects. ...
  • Sporting goods and athletic equipment. ...
  • Self defense items. ...
  • Gel-type candles. ...
  • Large quantities of alcohol (more than 3.4 ounces) ...
  • Guns and ammunition.
Dec 17, 2022

What is allowed in hand luggage but not check in bags? ›

This includes liquids, gels, and aerosols. If you must pack more toiletries than these allowances, you will have to pack them in checked luggage. Check out non-liquid carry on toiletries like solid perfume sticks and solid sunscreen to minimize your liquids. What is this?

What is forbidden in luggage? ›

Firearms, ammunition, and fireworks are prohibited, as are all knives and safety razors (including pocket knives and Swiss Army knives). Straight razors and replacement blades for straight razors are also not allowed. Most tools also cannot be packed in carry-on luggage, as they have the potential to cause harm.

Do you have to take your glasses off at airport security? ›

2. Most small belt buckles, eye glasses, earrings and other small metal items should not set off our metal detectors, but a few small items combined might cause an alarm.

Why do they scan your eyes at the airport? ›

The technology lets you speed through airport security by scanning your eyes and fingertips, rather than requiring you to fork over identification documents. CLEAR matches those scans with an encrypted code that corresponds with data on your irises and fingerprints. Once they sync, you're able to proceed.

How many clear bags of toiletries can you take on a plane? ›

ALL liquids must be taken through security in a clear polythene bag no larger than 20cm by 20cm. These are normally available for free at airport security terminals. You can take one clear bag per person, so it's wise not to bring too much liquid with you, even if it's in containers of less than 100ml.

Do toiletries have to be in a clear bag in hold luggage? ›

Any items considered as 'liquids' by security must be in containers marked 100ml or less and must also be placed into a transparent, resealable, airtight bag of approx. 20cm x 20cm in size.

How do you pack makeup in a carry-on? ›

Again, liquid makeup is allowed in carry on luggage as long as each container is 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller and is stored in your 1 quart (1 liter) clear zip top liquids bag. Remember this is the limit for taking liquid toiletries on a plane.

What is the best seat to choose on a plane? ›

Exit rows, aisle or window seats, and anywhere close to the front are typically considered the best seats on a plane. On a short business trip, you might want an aisle seat near the front of the plane so you can debark as quickly as possible on arrival.

Can you carry unmarked pills? ›

3) Medication generally doesn't need to be presented or declared, but it's helpful to know exactly what you have in case they ask. The TSA does not require you to have your medication in its original prescription bottle, so traveling with a pill case does not violate any rules.

Does TSA check your pills? ›

Medically required liquids will be subject to additional screening that could include being asked to open the container. You can bring your medication in pill or solid form in unlimited amounts as long as it is screened. You can travel with your medication in both carry-on and checked baggage.

Can you take unmarked pills on a plane? ›

You can take unmarked pills with you on a plane in carry-on and checked baggage. Your medication does not have to be in its original packaging.

Does contact solution count as FSA? ›

Contact Solution is eligible for reimbursement with flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA), health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) and limited-purpose flexible spending accounts (LPFSA).

Do packaged contacts count as a liquid TSA? ›

Plus, single-use lenses are individually packaged and sealed so they are carry-on safe! Your lenses do not count as a liquid according the TSA, but any contact lens solution does. If you're trying to reduce the amount of liquids you have in your carryon, then switching to dailies is a good option.

Does toothpaste and lotion count as a liquid TSA? ›

Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.

Is mascara or eyeliner considered liquid for TSA? ›

Yes, when it comes to makeup, the following items are considered liquid cosmetics: mascara. nail polish. perfume.

Is eye solution FSA eligible? ›

Eye drops are eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), or a limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA). Eye treatment medication reimbursement is not eligible with a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

Does face wash count for FSA? ›

FSA/HSA eligibility extends to a variety of products including facial cleansers, sunscreen, prescription acne medications, over-the-counter acne treatments and medicated body lotions that are designed to alleviate certain skin conditions.

Is saline solution FSA eligible? ›

Saline nasal spray is eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Saline nasal spray is not eligible with a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) or a limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA).

What items need to be in a clear plastic bag when flying? ›

TSA has a limit on the size of liquids, gels and aerosols that travelers can bring in their carry-on bags. It's called the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Each item must be 3.4 ounces or less and must be able to fit inside a one-quart size clear zip-top bag. The limit is one bag per person.

Does makeup go in the 3 1 1 bag? ›

TSA's 3-1-1 Rule: How to pack makeup in carry-on luggage. The TSA's travel size rule says you can bring a 1–quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. The containers need to be 3.4 ounces or smaller and placed in the resealable clear bag.


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