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Tips for Traveling with Glaucoma Medications

Posted on July 29, 2019 by Gloria P. Fleming, MD

Are you planning a vacation this summer? If so, here are some tips for traveling with your glaucoma medications.

If you're going to be traveling by air, there are some considerations to keep in mind. It's a good idea to keep your medications with you in your carry-on bag, so you will have them with you in case your luggage is lost or delayed. All prescription medications are permitted in carry-on bags, even those in liquid form.

Be sure you have enough medication for your entire vacation. Keep your medication in the original prescription bottle. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends having the same name on your prescription labels and boarding pass, but it isn’t a requirement.

According to the TSA, you are not limited in the amount or volume of medications you may bring in your carry-on bags. Although all other liquids must be packed in a one-quart, zip-top plastic bag in 3-ounce or smaller containers, the TSA does not require medications to be packed in a one-quart bag or in 3-ounce containers. However, all medication must still be separated from other items (removed from purse, suitcase, etc.) and may require additional inspection. When traveling out of the country you may want to bring supporting documentation such as a note from your doctor.

Because the air in airplane cabins tends to become dry, artificial tears may be helpful for use on a long flight. Most pharmaceutical companies recommend storing medications at temperatures between 59-86° Fahrenheit. If you are traveling 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 help line.

Travel to Different Time Zones

You may want to keep a watch or clock on “home time” and continue to take your medication eye drops at your normal time. However, if you will be visiting for an extended period of time, it may be easier to adjust your eye drop routine to the time zone of destination. Taking your drops 1-2 hours earlier or later is acceptable to re-establish a routine. Try to maintain the same interval between doses and not double up on dosing.

Set Up Reminders

When traveling, you change your regular routine. So how do you remember to take your medication? Here are some suggestions that may help.

  • Use a calendar or your smartphone to keep track of your medications. Mark the calendar when you have taken each one.
  • Set up an alarm on your phone, watch, or travel alarm clock 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 portable calendar, or whatever works for you.
  • Talk to your eye doctor. 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 doctor if there are changes or suggestions that might simplify your treatment regimen.

Most importantly, don't lose your medication, and enjoy your travels.

Gloria P. Fleming, MD is a glaucoma specialist and Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at The Ohio State University's Havener Eye Institute in Columbus, OH. As a Glaucoma Research Foundation patient education ambassador, Dr. Fleming makes education a key component of her glaucoma practice.

Last reviewed on July 29, 2019

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