Can You Bring Eye Drops On A Plane?

Millions of passengers board airplanes every day, many of whom rely on personal care items to manage their health and comfort during flight. Eye drops, for example, are a small but essential item for individuals suffering from dry eyes or other ocular conditions. The ability to bring eye drops on a plane is not only a matter of convenience but also a concern for those who need them for therapeutic reasons.

Since the 9/11 attacks, air travel security has tightened significantly, leading to stringent regulations on what passengers can bring aboard an aircraft. In response to a 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, the restrictions tightened further, introducing rules that specifically limited the amount of liquids, gels, and aerosols that could be carried in hand luggage. These measures, highlighted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States with the establishment of the 3-1-1 rule for carry-ons, dictate that liquids must be in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, and all containers should fit in a single quart-sized, clear plastic, zip-top bag.

However, the rules also provide exemptions for medications, including eye drops, recognizing that passengers may need to access these medicines during their flights. The TSA and other international regulatory bodies have thus created guidelines that permit travelers to carry such items on board while still maintaining a high level of security. Compliance with these regulations ensures that passengers can manage their personal health needs without compromising safety protocols designed to protect everyone on board the aircraft. The current significance of these regulations is particularly pronounced in an era where global travel is both a common lifestyle feature and a potential security concern. Therefore, understanding and adhering to these regulations is crucial for anyone needing to travel with eye drops or other similar medical necessities.

can you bring eye drops on a plane

Can You Take Eye Drops On A Plane?

When traveling by air, passengers are often concerned about the items they can take on a plane, especially when it comes to liquids and medical necessities such as eye drops. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows travelers to carry eye drops in their carry-on luggage. For eye drops in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters, you will need to declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection. Smaller bottles can be placed in a clear, quart-sized bag along with other liquids, following the 3-1-1 rule. This flexibility ensures that individuals who require eye drops for medical reasons can have them accessible during their flight. For a more in-depth understanding of the regulations and tips for traveling with eye drops, continue to the next section where we delve into the specifics of flying with medications and liquids.

Understanding TSA Liquid Rules for Eye Drops

When traveling on domestic flights within the USA, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has set clear guidelines on carrying liquids in your carry-on baggage. These regulations are part of the 3-1-1 rule, which applies to eye drops alongside other liquids, gels, and aerosols.

  • Each passenger is allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes through the checkpoint.
  • These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.
  • The containers must fit comfortably in one clear, quart-sized, plastic, zip-top bag.
  • At the checkpoint, this bag must be removed from your carry-on and placed in a bin for X-ray screening.

For more details on the 3-1-1 rule, visit the TSA Liquids Rule page.

Carrying Medicinal Eye Drops on Flights

Medicinal eye drops are an essential item for many travelers. If you have a medical condition that requires the use of eye drops, you can bring larger amounts. However, this requires additional steps.

  • You should declare these items to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection.
  • Medications such as eye drops are not subject to the 3.4-ounce limit, but you must ensure they are labeled appropriately.
  • It is recommended to bring a prescription or a medical statement to facilitate the screening process.
  • While you are not limited to the amount of medically necessary liquids you can bring, consider only what is needed for your duration of travel.

For further details on medication and special needs, visit the TSA Special Procedures page.

Packing Eye Drops in Checked Luggage

Eye drops can also be packed in checked luggage without the same restrictions that apply to carry-on bags.

  • There is no limit to the volume of eye drops you can pack in your checked luggage; the 3-1-1 rule does not apply.
  • Ensure that eye drops are properly sealed to prevent any leakage that could damage your belongings.
  • Although not a requirement, it’s a good idea to keep them in a plastic bag to contain any leaks due to changes in pressure during the flight.

Tips for Hassle-Free Travel with Eye Drops

Making your way through airport security with eye drops doesn’t need to be stressful. Following these tips can help ensure a smoother process.

  • Pre-pack your liquids, including eye drops, in the regulation 3-1-1 bag before arriving at the airport to save time.
  • Ensure that any medicinal eye drops are easily accessible in your carry-on for declaration and inspection.
  • Label eye drops clearly, and have your prescription handy if the quantity exceeds what’s typically allowed.
  • Check with your airline if they have additional restrictions or allowances for liquids and medications.

For personalized advice and updates, consider reaching out to TSA Customer Service prior to your travel date.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

When flying internationally with eye drops, it’s important to adhere to the guidelines set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These guidelines are designed to ensure safety and security on flights and apply to liquids, aerosols, and gels that passengers may carry in their hand luggage.

  • Liquids, including eye drops, should be in containers with a maximum capacity of 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) each.
  • All liquid containers must fit comfortably within a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag of a maximum capacity not exceeding one liter (approximately one quart).
  • The plastic bag must be presented separately from other carry-on baggage for screening at the airport security checkpoint.
  • Medications, including eye drops, may be exempt from these restrictions, but passengers should declare them to security officers and may need to provide proof of necessity, such as a prescription label or a doctor’s note.

For the most current information and specific details regarding the carriage of liquids, please refer to the IATA website or contact your airline directly.

Country Specific Regulations

When traveling with eye drops, it’s crucial to be aware of the specific regulations that apply to the country you are flying to or from. Each country may have its own set of rules regarding the transport of liquids and medications on flights, and these can differ from the general IATA guidelines.

United Kingdom

  • Passengers can carry essential medicines, including eye drops, of more than 100ml in their hand luggage, but will need to get approval from the airline and departure airport.
  • Medicines should be accompanied by documentation from a medical professional or a prescription.


  • Similar to the UK, passengers are allowed to carry medicines and dietary requirements including baby foods and eye drops required during the trip.
  • Proof such as a prescription or a statement from a medical professional may be required.


  • Passengers are allowed to bring eye drops and other essential non-prescription medications in their carry-on luggage in containers larger than 100ml.
  • These items must be declared to the screening officers and may be subject to additional inspection.


  • Passengers can carry prescription or non-prescription eye drops on board, but they should be prepared to show a prescription or a letter from their doctor.
  • There is no limit on the volume of such items, but they must be carried separately from other liquids, aerosols, and gels in a clear and resealable plastic bag.

New Zealand

  • Medications, including eye drops, can be carried on board without restriction to volume, but passengers should have a copy of the prescription or a letter from their doctor.


  • Regulations in Asian countries can vary widely, so it’s important to check the specific country’s civil aviation authority for the most accurate information.


  • Passengers are allowed to carry medications such as eye drops in their hand luggage, and while there is no specified volume limit, they should be prepared to show a prescription or doctor’s letter.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with Eye Drops

Different airlines may have their own policies regarding the transport of liquids and medications, including eye drops. It’s essential to review the regulations of the specific airline you are flying with to avoid any inconvenience. Below are examples of airline-specific regulations for flying with eye drops.

American Airlines

  • Medications such as eye drops are allowed in carry-on bags without volume restrictions, but passengers should declare these items for inspection.

Delta Air Lines

  • Passengers can bring eye drops in their carry-on luggage and must inform the security officer during the screening process.

United Airlines

  • United permits passengers to carry medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities, including eye drops, without adhering to the 100ml limit.

Southwest Airlines

  • Eye drops are permitted on board, but passengers should ensure they are readily accessible for screening.

British Airways

  • Medicines and medical equipment, including eye drops, can be carried without restriction, but passengers should carry supporting documentation.


  • Passengers are allowed to carry eye drops and should keep them in a separate bag from their other liquids for screening.

Air Canada

  • Eye drops for medical purposes can be carried on board and must be declared to security personnel during the screening process.


  • Medications such as eye drops are exempt from the liquid restrictions, but proof of medical need may be required.

Air New Zealand

  • Passengers can bring prescription eye drops and should have the prescription label attached to the medication.

Singapore Airlines

  • Medications, including eye drops, are allowed on board. Passengers should have a prescription or medical certificate and present them for inspection if required.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, always check the airline’s official website or contact their customer service before traveling.

Packing Eye Drops in Carry-On Luggage

When you’re preparing to travel by air and need to carry eye drops in your carry-on luggage, it’s crucial to comply with the current travel regulations to ensure a smooth security checkpoint experience. Here’s how you can pack eye drops in your carry-on:

  • Understand TSA Liquids Rule: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows liquid medications such as eye drops in your carry-on bag, but they must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule if they are not medically necessary.
  • Mandatory Declaration: Declare your eye drops to the security officer at the checkpoint if they are in larger quantities than what the 3-1-1 rule allows (3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters). You don’t need to place medically necessary liquids in a zip-top bag.
  • Use Original Packaging: Keep eye drops in their original, labeled containers to facilitate quicker security checks and to avoid confusion about the contents.
  • Protection From Leaks: To prevent spills, place the eye drops bottle in a clear plastic bag separate from your other liquids.

taking eye drops through airport security

Packing Eye Drops in Hold Luggage

For those who prefer to pack their eye drops in their checked baggage, it’s still important to protect them adequately to prevent breakage and spills during transit:

  • Cushioning: Wrap the eye drops bottle in bubble wrap or a soft cloth and secure it to prevent movement and potential damage.
  • Leak Proofing: Encase the wrapped bottle in a plastic bag to contain any possible leaks and avoid damage to other items in your luggage.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: Be aware that the cargo hold can sometimes be subject to extreme temperatures, which could affect the efficacy of the eye drops. If possible, pack the eye drops with thermal insulation.
  • Quantity Considerations: If you’re traveling for an extended period, ensure you have an adequate supply of eye drops for the duration of your trip, along with a prescription or doctor’s note if needed.
  • Check Restrictions: Before you travel, check if there are any restrictions on traveling with medications to your destination. Some countries have strict rules regarding the import of drugs.

Travel Essentials Similar to Eye Drops

When packing for a flight, alongside eye drops, consider including nasal spray to combat dry cabin air, which can irritate nasal passages. Lip balm is another must-have to keep your lips moisturized. Hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes are essential for maintaining hygiene and warding off germs. For those prone to motion sickness, anti-nausea medication can be a lifesaver. Don’t forget travel-sized sunscreen if you’re heading to a sunny destination, and a small tube of moisturizing lotion to prevent skin from drying out. Earplugs or noise-cancelling earbuds can also enhance comfort by blocking out the drone of the airplane engines. Lastly, a sleep mask might prove beneficial for resting during long flights, especially when crossing time zones.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring Eye Drops On A Plane?

Traveling by air can lead to questions about what is permissible to bring in your carry-on and checked luggage, especially when it comes to liquids such as eye drops. Understanding the rules and regulations can help ensure a smooth security check-in process during your travels. Below is a collection of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding traveling with eye drops on an airplane.

Can you bring eye drops on a plane?

Yes, you can bring eye drops on a plane in both your carry-on and checked luggage.

Do eye drops need to be in a quart-sized bag?

For carry-on luggage, eye drops, like all other liquids, must be in a container of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and fit in a quart-sized, clear, zip-top plastic bag.

Can you take eye drops in your carry-on without a prescription?

Yes, you can take eye drops in your carry-on without a prescription, adhering to liquid restrictions for carry-ons.

Can you bring full-size eye drops in checked luggage?

Yes, you can bring full-size eye drops in checked luggage without any size restrictions.

Are there any limits on the quantity of eye drops you can bring?

There are no limits on the quantity of eye drops you can bring in checked luggage. In carry-on luggage, each container must be 3.4 ounces or less, and all containers must fit in a single quart-sized bag.

Do you need to declare eye drops at the security checkpoint?

Medically necessary liquids, like prescription eye drops, should be declared to the Transportation Security Officer at the checkpoint. Over-the-counter eye drops within the liquid limits do not need to be declared separately.

What if your eye drops are more than 3.4 ounces?

If your eye drops are more than 3.4 ounces and are medically necessary, you can bring them in your carry-on, but you must declare them to security personnel. They may require additional screening.

Are gel eye drops treated differently than liquid eye drops?

Gel eye drops are subject to the same TSA liquid restrictions as regular liquid eye drops when carried in your carry-on luggage.

How should you pack eye drops to prevent leaking due to pressure changes?

To prevent leaking, ensure the cap is tightly sealed, and consider packing eye drops in a leak-proof bag. Some travelers also recommend storing bottles in an upright position.

Can TSA confiscate your eye drops?

TSA may confiscate eye drops if they do not comply with the liquids rule and are not declared as medically necessary, or if they are deemed suspicious for any reason.

Packing It All Up

In conclusion, you can indeed bring eye drops on a plane, either in your checked luggage or in your carry-on. When packed in carry-on bags, eye drops are subject to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) liquids rule, typically allowing you to carry liquids in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less. For those who need eye drops for medical reasons, such as prescription drops, you can carry larger quantities as long as you declare them to TSA officers at the checkpoint for inspection.

Additionally, it is essential to keep eye drops easily accessible during your flight, especially if you experience dry eyes due to cabin pressure and air conditioning. As per TSA regulations, using the original packaging with the prescription label is advisable when traveling with prescription eye drops, as this will help facilitate the screening process. For all types of eye drops, adherence to TSA guidelines ensures a smoother security checkpoint experience, preventing unnecessary delays or the confiscation of your eye drops. Remember to pack smart and check the latest guidelines before flying to have a stress-free trip.