Caring for your Eyewear
Proper care of eyewear isn’t rocket science, however many of us choose to employ other, more creative methods to clean our glasses. Another very important, yet often overlooked aspect of caring for eyewear is proper storage. Following the suggestions for proper cleaning and storage below can extend the life of your lenses and be sure you have the clearest view possible.
Windex is for windows, not for your glasses! But do you know why it’s not good to use Windex on your glasses? Don’t feel bad if you don’t know the answer, most people don’t. Most lenses have protective coatings added such as UV or anti-glare. Cleaners containing ammonia, bleach or vinegar can strip away these coatings…coatings you pay extra $$ for.
So what should you use to clean fingerprints, dirt, make-up and other random goo that may end-up on your lenses? The AOA recommends warm water and dish soap. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. If dish soap and warm water can clean pretty much anything (food, grease and lipstick) from your finest china and stemware, why not from your eyewear? All it takes is a drop of dish soap on your finger mixed with warm water (we recommend removing your glasses before doing this), create a lather on the lens, then rinse. Be sure to give the nose and ear pieces of your frames equal attention when cleaning. Use a dry, clean, soft cotton cloth to wipe dry. The AOA (American Optometric Association) recommends daily cleaning of your eyewear using this method.
The necessity for in-between cleaning of your eyeglass lenses is inevitable. Natural oils from the face, eyelashes, fingerprints and airborne debris can leave regular build-up on lenses. As it turns out, a sink, clean water, dish soap and a clean soft cotton cloth are not always readily available. So what should you do when you can’t do what you’re supposed to do? Invest in a soft microfiber cloth (preferably one specifically for lens cleaning purposes) and keep it in your purse or desk drawer for these occasions. A majority of lenses today are made with plastic, which scratches easily. Once you scratch the lens, the scratch is there forever and cannot be buffed out, so the choice of what is used to clean your lenses is an important one. Obviously using anything abrasive will scratch the surface of the lens and achieve undesired results. Kleenex, your sleeve, paper towels and napkins are not recommended as they can leave debris or lint on the lens. Using saliva isn’t recommended either. First, it’s just gross and second, its’ not effective. Using a microfiber cloth will not leave debris, removes residue very well without scratching and isn’t gross. Microfiber cloths made just for eyewear cleaning are inexpensive and can be purchased at retailers where eyewear or eyewear accessories are sold.
In terms of storage method, most eyewear retailers provide some type of storage case with purchase. A hard case, sometimes called a clamshell case, is your best bet. If your eyewear did not come with a case, or came only with a soft case, hard cases of all shapes, sizes, colors and prices are readily available online, or at retailers where eyewear is sold. When purchasing a hard case it’s best to take your glasses along to be sure they will fit properly inside the case, or take measurements when purchasing online. Once you have your case, use it. When stored in a hard case, eyewear is protected against the elements and anything that could be flying through the air like, dog slobber, people slobber, spaghetti sauce, hairspray and beverages.
The best location to store eyewear is going to vary from person to person because everyone’s environment is going to be different. Common sense is a good guide to follow when choosing the location to store your eyewear. Some examples of storage locations that are not recommended: driveway, fireplace mantle, stovetop, back of the toilette, the floor and dashboard of your vehicle. Let’s face it, even if stored inside a hard case, nothing is going to save your eyewear from a car or truck running over them, fire or flying out the window of your car while changing lanes on the freeway at 70mph.
Taking the time to properly clean and store your eyewear will help you get the best performance and lifespan of your investment.
For more information on eyewear and vision care visit www.aoa.org.