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Flying with glaucoma

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.

Can you fly with glaucoma?

People with glaucoma can usually fly on an aeroplane without any problems.

Controlled air pressure inside the aeroplane’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.

Flying with eye drops

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.

Using eye drops in different time zones

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.

Seek advice if you’re unsure

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.

Let’s talk about glaucoma

If you want more information, advice or support, our helpline is available, Monday-Friday 9:30am – 5:00pm.

Call 01233 64 81 70 or email helpline@glaucoma.uk and our advisers will be happy to help.

Forum

Visit our community forum to talk to other people with glaucoma, ask questions and learn about other people’s experiences.

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