People with glaucoma can usually fly on an airplane without any problems.
Controlled air pressure inside the airplane’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. All passengers on an airplane 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.
Placing your eye drops in your hand luggage also means that you won’t be without them should your hold luggage go missing.
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 doctor.
With Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already living under nation-specific lockdown levels, England will be entering a nation-wide lockdown from Thursday 5 November. We have received many calls from people living with glaucoma who are concerned that their treatment and upcoming procedures may be disrupted or cancelled during this time.
In response to these concerns, we have reached out to a number of glaucoma consultants for their feedback. They anticipate that appointments will continue, however should hospital admissions for coronavirus rapidly increase then ophthalmology staff may be redeployed to the COVID-19 wards. These will be junior staff in a first instance, to allow consultants to continue seeing their patients and proceed with any upcoming surgeries.
The intention is still to provide a level of service where possible, therefore if you have been told that you have an appointment, this will hopefully still stand. But should COVID-19 numbers rise sharply, there is a possibility that some appointments and surgeries may be cancelled due to more ophthalmology staff being needed on the COVID-19 wards.
As per the first lockdown, individuals will be assessed and priority given to urgent cases.
If you have any concerns or need advice, particularly during these uncertain times, our glaucoma helpline team are always here to support you. You can reach them on 01233 64 81 70 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:00pm.Read More