If you’re planning to fly with glaucoma, it’s common to have questions about how this might affect your pressures and whether it’s safe. The good news is that it usually is. However, there are a few things to consider to make sure you can continue your treatment and look after your eyes while you travel.
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 extra important if you’re required to wear a face mask on the plane. 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.
When you’re travelling, it is best to continue putting in your drops with the time zone you have been on until you arrive at your destination. Once you arrive, move to a schedule for the new time zone you are now in.
Follow the same procedure for the journey home. As soon as you return home, continue to do your drops according to your own time zone.
Although it is safe to fly after surgery, you should bear in mind that your eye specialist may wish to see you for several clinic appointments following surgery to check that the eye pressure is at the correct level. If you have glaucoma, fly frequently and have advanced circulatory problems, you should seek advice from your eye specialist.