Flying with contact lenses is, to put it mildly, a pain. An airplane's dry air and high pressure can dehydrate and irritate your contacts, making them feel tight and uncomfortable. Contact lenses might make your eyes more sensitive to light and glare of runway lights during a night approach to landing. Anyone in the aviation sector who wears or is considering using contact lenses should be aware of these problems. However, just because you use contact lenses doesn't mean you have to put up with discomfort while you travel.
Contact lenses are becoming a more feasible alternative for those who need vision correction thanks to new materials and lens designs, but aviation crew members, particularly pilots, must be aware of the risks and benefits of wearing contact lenses while flying. The heating and air conditioning systems on aeroplane constantly circulate cabin air and remove significant amounts of moisture. On both commercial and military aeroplane, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of humidity-induced discomfort in contact lens wearers.
Particulate matter, ranging from dirt and sand to insulation fragments, is carried in the cabin air in all military aircraft conditions addressed here. The presence of a foreign body behind a lens might produce discomfort, distraction, or acute pain severe enough to require lens removal or temporarily incapacitate the contact lens wearer, depending on the nature of the object and the type of lens worn.Soft lenses are far more forgiving of particle pollution than hard lenses in this regard. If a foreign body causes ocular abrasion or microorganisms are introduced beneath the lens, it can cause subsequent difficulties.
The proper removal, cleaning, and reinsertion of contact lenses requires good hygiene standards. Contamination of lenses handled in unsanitary conditions might cause infection or other issues. This is particularly true with hydrogel lenses, which have a considerably higher risk of introducing and culture infectious pathogens than hard lenses.