Question RE TSA and overseas airport security checks.

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Aug 13, 2019
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#1
Question RE TSA and overseas airport security checks.

I have special (and expensive) contact lenses and need to travel with at least a 3 oz (preferably larger) bottle of a particular soaking solution in my Hand Luggage.

I was once detained at Heathrow security (en route to USA) because the solution, in a thimble-size container, tested positive in their machine - (I think it has peroxide in it! ) I was in a wheelchair and had to wait 45 -minutes until a supervisor finally arrived. She confiscated the container together with a different small bottle of solution that wasn't even tested. (She wanted to take my lenses too in their soaking solution but after fierce protests, allowed me to take them out toand keep them!)

I am traveling again next month to UK (on Virgin) and on to Europe with another airline. I plan to have only hand luggage with a bottle of solution in it.

What can I do to prevent another hassle from security? Can I get a letter from my eye doctor that will be respected or apply in advance to TSA OR ??

your advice will be greatly appreciated.


What's your desired resolution? Please can you suggest what I can do to carry this bottle of contact lens solution in my hand luggage through various airports.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#4
TSA only limits the size of each container. You can put more than one in your luggage as long as you stay within the limit of 3.5 oz and it all fits in a quart-size plastic bag.

However, if this solution is not prescription, you will face the same challenge. A letter from an Opthamologist might work, but it's still going to be a risk . . .
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#5
TSA only limits the size of each container. You can put more than one in your luggage as long as you stay within the limit of 3.5 oz and it all fits in a quart-size plastic bag.

However, if this solution is not prescription, you will face the same challenge. A letter from an Opthamologist might work, but it's still going to be a risk . . .
With a Prescription your Eye/Lens solution is considered Medical and there is NO size limit.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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#7
There are contact lens solutions that contain hydrogen peroxide -- this is a banned substance but exempted in contact lens solution -- but if it alarms, it may not be allowed on.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures

"If a liquid, gel, or aerosol declared as medically necessary alarms, then it may require additional screening and may not be allowed. "

What is acceptable to the TSA in the US may not be allowed in handbaggage in another country, such as the UK. It may be up to the discretion of the officer.

This is one reason why many people check luggage -- to have a back up supply of such an item.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#8
Question RE TSA and overseas airport security checks.

I have special (and expensive) contact lenses and need to travel with at least a 3 oz (preferably larger) bottle of a particular soaking solution in my Hand Luggage.

I was once detained at Heathrow security (en route to USA) because the solution, in a thimble-size container, tested positive in their machine - (I think it has peroxide in it! ) I was in a wheelchair and had to wait 45 -minutes until a supervisor finally arrived. She confiscated the container together with a different small bottle of solution that wasn't even tested. (She wanted to take my lenses too in their soaking solution but after fierce protests, allowed me to take them out toand keep them!)

I am traveling again next month to UK (on Virgin) and on to Europe with another airline. I plan to have only hand luggage with a bottle of solution in it.

What can I do to prevent another hassle from security? Can I get a letter from my eye doctor that will be respected or apply in advance to TSA OR ??

your advice will be greatly appreciated.


What's your desired resolution? Please can you suggest what I can do to carry this bottle of contact lens solution in my hand luggage through various airports.
You should ask your doctor's office what equivalent solutions are available in the country you are going to. Buy what you need when you arrive so you do not have to worry if your bottle will pass TSA in the US or elsewhere. Contact lens solution is available in most of the developed world.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
Since you were affected in the UK, this article may be of help:


It's quite detailed but easy to read and states that "Bausch & Lomb ReNU Multi purpose contact lens solution" passed the screening tests . . .
ReNU does not contain hydrogen peroxide

A sterile, isotonic solution that contains poloxamine, poloxamer 181, diglycine, sodium citrate, boric acid, sodium borate, edetate disodium and sodium chloride and preserved with a triple disinfectant system (polyaminopropyl biguanide 0.00005%, polyquaternium 0.00015% and alexidine 0.0002%

I used to use clear care -- it contains hydrogen peroxide and allegedly it is supposed to be better for cleaning but that was not my experience.

Clear care ingredients
Micro-Filtered Hydrogen Peroxide (3%), Sodium Chloride (0.79%), Stabilized with Phosphoric Acid, a Phosphate Buffered System

Hydrogen peroxide is the problem ......
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#11
It depends on whether you wear hard or soft lenses, or something more exotic. I still wear hard Boston lenses, which are the only kind that will correct my vision. Even that special solution is available in Europe. Boots at Heathrow carries it, and I once bought a bottle in Rome. If your lenses require something that no pharmacy would carry, I advise that you put as many containers as possible in your ziplock, or check a bag. This is pretty far out there, but my colleagues are a diverse bunch and know mega-tons of intel. US pharmacies seem to be well-connected via computer, so you can now refill an Rx at a store in another state. Is there any organization in existance that would liason with different countries to sell you the juice in the country you are visiting?
 
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AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#12
JSN's suggestion gave me another thought - bring an EMPTY bottle of whatever you use, and take it to a pharmacy wherever you're going. The pharmacists in Europe are highly skilled and should easily be able to give you an equivalent.
 
Likes: jsn55
May 16, 2018
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#13
You should not have to worry about this, as all medical liquids, and specifically (in writing) contact lens solutions are exempt from both the 3 ounce rule and the rule that it has to fit in the quart ziplock bag. I have to travel with lots of contact lens solution as well as a specific type of sunscreen that is not easy to find. I will not check this stuff. I have doctor's notes for all of this, but have never ever had to produce them, even for the sunscreen.

I suspect that the only reason this was a problem is because it had the peroxide in it. In your case, it would still be exempt since it's medical but I would have a note from the doctor just in case. That said, there are many solutions that do not have any banned substances. You might consider asking your eye doc if there is any other system you can use to clean your lenses so as to avoid this hassle when traveling. I know I wouldn't want to have any banned substance on me unless it was of dire importance and irreplaceable, given that if it gets on my luggage even in microscopic amounts, then my luggage would get flagged and searched as well.

Please remember that no doctor's note, no prescription, nothing from any doctor will be of help if you transfer products or meds to travel bottles. You need to keep the meds and products in the bottles they were sold in. Even if your trip is short, you should always carry the original bottles for contact lens solutions, just as you should carry meds in their original prescription bottles. You cannot expect anyone in any airport to just take your word for it.
 
Likes: jsn55
May 16, 2018
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#14
Hydrogen peroxide is the problem ......
There is just no reason to risk carrying hydrogen peroxide. It is one cleaner of many. It may clean your lenses the best, but if you are traveling, you can probably survive just fine cleaning with something else recommended by your eye doc and then switching back to the peroxide once you are back home.

Personally I cannot imagine putting myself through additional TSA screening and scrutiny over a contact lens solution that could be swapped with something else. I can't use many kinds of lens solutions because I'm allergic to the preservatives so I understand that it's not that easy to switch, but if mine had a banned substance you can be sure I'd be visiting my eye doctor and getting something new. I actually do have a backup brand, just in case, since my brand is likely to be discontinued before long. It's already hard to find.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#15
These are the rules in the UK:

Medicines, medical equipment and dietary requirements

You’re allowed to carry the following in your hand luggage:

essential medicines of more than 100ml, including liquid dietary foodstuffs and inhalers
medical equipment, if it’s essential for your journey
You’ll need supporting documentation from a relevant medical professional (for example a letter from your doctor or a copy of your prescription).

Airport staff might need to open the containers to screen the liquids at the security point. Medical equipment is screened separately.

Item Allowed in hand luggage Allowed in hold luggage
Tablets and capsules Yes Yes
Essential liquid medicines Yes Yes
Hypodermic syringes Yes Yes
Inhalers Yes Yes
Cooling gel packs Yes Yes
Medical equipment (for example CPAP and TENS machines) Yes Yes
Special food and liquids needed for medical reasons Yes Yes
Oxygen cylinders Contact your airline Contact your airline

https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions/essential-medicines-and-medical-equipment
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
There is just no reason to risk carrying hydrogen peroxide. It is one cleaner of many. It may clean your lenses the best, but if you are traveling, you can probably survive just fine cleaning with something else recommended by your eye doc and then switching back to the peroxide once you are back home.

Personally I cannot imagine putting myself through additional TSA screening and scrutiny over a contact lens solution that could be swapped with something else. I can't use many kinds of lens solutions because I'm allergic to the preservatives so I understand that it's not that easy to switch, but if mine had a banned substance you can be sure I'd be visiting my eye doctor and getting something new. I actually do have a backup brand, just in case, since my brand is likely to be discontinued before long. It's already hard to find.
When I used clear care for a year I put it in check in so I never had a problem. Hand baggage is the problem. The hydrogen peroxide is diluted but still enough of it is there that it causes alarms for carry ons.

I also have allergies to many of the preservatives in cleaning solution — now I use daily wear disposables so no more cleaning— yes they are more expensive but a lot less of a hassle.

The UK is particularly sensitive to hydrogen peroxide as the liquid explosive plot originated there.

I would not chance it in carry on either.
 
Likes: VoR61