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I recently swapped over from glasses to using disposable contact lenses. I'm already planning on carrying "travel-size" contact lens solution bottles to stay under the limit for liquids.

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What about the disposable contact lenses themselves though: they come packaged in small blister packs immersed in a saline solution (usually). Does this fall under the category of "liquids" and need to be screened separately / kept in ziplock bags for being processed as a liquid?

For what it's worth, I'm flying from the UK to Myanmar via Qatar.

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    Where are you travelling? flyertalk.com/forum/16748718-post7.html and the whole thread is relevant. The TSA is more lenient towards medical necessities than the Brits (in general, screening in the UK is even more awful than in the US). – chx Mar 8 '16 at 15:54
  • @chx UK to Myanmar via Qatar. That thread doesn't really answer my question though - I'm not talking about contact lens solution, I'm talking about the liquid in disposable contact lens blister packs (opening them would basically spoil the lens) – Ankur Banerjee Mar 8 '16 at 16:22
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    #1-#6 that thread talks about just that and a few more after. – chx Mar 8 '16 at 16:26
  • Why not just put them in your Ziploc bag and be done with it? If you don't, though, as I have on occasion, they'll probably not be noticed. If they are, just stick them in your bag. – phoog Mar 8 '16 at 16:33
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    I regularly travel through UK airports with these. Usually I put them in the plastic bag - you can easily get several weeks' supply in there, they're not very big - and this has never been commented on. However, I have no idea what the official position is, hence posting as a comment not an answer! – djr Mar 8 '16 at 17:23
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The Heathrow Security FAQ page says that disposable contact lenses are considered liquids and should be placed inside the transparent bag:

Can I carry disposable contact lenses or contact lens solution in my hand baggage?

Yes, but the standard liquids rules apply. Each solution container or lens packet must have a capacity no greater than 100ml and must fit inside your transparent liquids bag.

Personally I would carry a few in my hand luggage and put most in my hold luggage. I would also declare them as liquids to avoid being questioned, swabbed and re-screened, as is usually the protocol in the UK when one forgets a liquid item outside of the transparent bag.

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    Interesting, I have never had these looked at and I hadn't thought to put them with the liquids. Maybe they don't show up well on a scanner. – Andrew Lazarus Mar 8 '16 at 22:54
  • I had some confiscated at Luton after they searched my bag. However, they only confiscated half of them (misssed the other packets) and they were supposed to be searching for the metal spike that showed up on the x-ray (I could see the screen highlighting the item to be examined). the metal spike was actually a folding iPad stand and would almost certainly have been confiscated if found :-) – Steve Ives Mar 9 '16 at 14:02
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I travel with a small number of these in my carry-on luggage within Canada and the US (usually 2 pairs as spares just-in-case).

I do not separate them out into the liquids-bag.

I have never had an issue, and they have never been separately searched.

  • This is not relevant to the UK! US/Canada has very different rules in this specific case. – chx Mar 8 '16 at 16:26
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    I've flown from the UK to the US - and back again - with daily disposable contact lenses in my carry-on, and also had no issues. – Anthony Grist Mar 8 '16 at 16:27
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    Yes - but when I posted my comment the OP had not indicated where he was flying. – RobotAndy Mar 8 '16 at 16:29
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    The fact that you don't separate them doesn't mean they're not required to be separated. It just means you haven't been discovered. – user29850 Mar 8 '16 at 20:18
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    Yes that's right. I simply indicated my experience and I have not made a comment as to the official requirement. – RobotAndy Mar 10 '16 at 19:25
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I think they do fall in to the liquid category and should be put in the plastic bag.

However I frequently forget that I have a pair in my handbag, so far that has never caused problems, not even in Heathrow or other UK airports. I think a few disposable lenses may simply be to small to register in the scan.

I would not recommend doing it on purpose, simply because additional security screening can take a long time. Some airports (including Heathrow) seem to have the policy that if you forget anything in your bag that you should have take out (like liquids or laptops), than your bag will be inspected more closely. Depending on how forgetful people in front of you were, you might have to wait a long time.

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(this should be a comment, but i don't have enough reputation, sorry about that)

Also be aware that some companies, like Ryanair don't allow you to take contact lenses in your checked baggage:

You must not include in Checked Baggage money, jewellery, precious metals, keys, cameras, computers, medicines, spectacles, sunglasses, contact lenses, watches, mobile phones, personal electronic devices, negotiable papers, securities, cigarettes, tobacco or tobacco products or other valuables, business documents, passports and other identification documents or samples.

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    It's not that they don't allow it. Rather they are saying that if you place contact lenses (or any expensive good mentioned) in hold luggage they'll refuse to reimburse you in case of damage/theft. – JoErNanO Mar 9 '16 at 11:09

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