It’s important to follow strict hygiene practices, especially in the middle of a pandemic. In particular, people should avoid touching their nose, mouth and eyes, as they can serve as an entry point for infected droplets into the body.
What many don’t realize is that several things they use on a daily basis, most notably their eyeglasses, could be harboring viruses and bacteria. This fact is all the more concerning in light of recent evidence suggesting coronavirus can remain on glass surfaces for as long as 9 days. That’s why it’s important to clean and disinfect your eyeglasses every day.
Keep in mind that improper cleaning can scratch or damage the eyeglass lenses. To avoid inadvertently scratching the lens, it’s best to keep in mind these cleaning tips:
Avoid Using Alcohol to Disinfect Eyeglasses
Using alcohol to clean your eyeglasses may seem like a no-brainer at first, but it can damage the lenses’ special coatings. In general, it’s best to avoid anything that contains ammonia, bleach, lemon juice, vinegar, or high concentrations of acid (for homemade cleaning solutions) to clean the lenses. Instead, it’d be better to use a solution that’s specifically made for cleaning eyeglasses.
You can also use special lens wipes, which happen to be suitable for cleaning your phone, tablet, and computer screens—surfaces known to harbor bacteria and viruses—as well. They should be able to remove stubborn stains without scratching the screens of electronic devices or the lenses of eyeglasses. Plus, they won’t leave behind annoying smudges, streaks, or solution residue.
Keep in mind that certain brands of lens wipes might not be able to clean the lenses that wall, so it’d be a good idea to consult your local eye doctor about the brands they recommend.
How to Clean Your Eyeglasses Properly
Even with lens wipes or a mild cleaning solution, it’s still possible to damage your eyeglasses if certain cleaning precautions aren’t observed. Some of these precautions include:
Rinsing eyeglasses before cleaning or disinfecting them – Always start by rinsing your eyeglasses, as wiping the dust and debris off the lenses might scratch the glass surface.
Spraying the cleaning solution – Use a spray bottle to apply the cleaning solution. This not only makes sure not a single drop of the solution is wasted but also prevents the solution from dripping onto the table.
Cleaning the eyeglass frame’s nose pads and earpieces – Don’t forget to clean the nose pads, earpieces, and other parts of the frame where bacteria and viruses could be hiding.
Letting the lenses air-dry – It’s best to let the eyeglass lenses air-dry, but if there’s not enough time to let them air-dry, you can use a microfiber cloth to wipe off the solution residue. Avoid using paper towels or ordinary pieces of cloth that can scratch the lenses.
Some people have the habit of wiping their glasses using the tail of their shirt, but we don’t recommend doing so especially if not’s 100% cotton. The fabric can scratch the lenses, not to mention your shirt may contain dirt, viruses, or bacteria.
Gripping the eyeglass frame firmly – While cleaning your eyeglasses, hold onto the frame piece that crosses the bridge of the nose to avoid accidentally bending the frame. Bent eyeglass frames not only affect your ability to see but also make your eyeglasses uncomfortable.
General Care and Maintenance Tips
Here are some general care and maintenance tips for your eyeglasses:
Wash your eyeglasses’ lenses at least once a day – Dirty lenses can interfere with your vision, so it’s important to clean your eyeglasses at least once every day. If, however, you find yourself squinting or can’t see properly even though your lenses are clean, you may need to visit your eye doctor soon. Frequent squinting is a sign you need a new prescription for your eyeglasses.
Store your eyeglasses in a protective case when not in use – This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget how fragile certain types of eyeglass frames are. When traveling, always keep your eyeglasses in a protective case. Avoiding placing eyeglasses in cramped spaces such as your purse or bag without placing them in a hard case or leaving them on top of your car’s dashboard or the glove compartment. Ultraviolet rays and heat from the sun, which are magnified by the windshield, can cause irreparable damage to the lenses or frame.
What if you find hard cases too bulky to carry around all day? There’s always the option of using sleeker microfiber pouches. You can ask your eye doctor or local optical shop for one the next time you visit them the next time you pick up your new contact lenses or see them for an eye exam.
Keep your eyeglasses on your nose, not on your head – Here’s another habit you should avoid: Don’t place your eyeglasses on your head when they’re not in use, as the frames might get bent accidentally.
What to Do If the Lenses Were Scratched?
Scratches are essentially depressions on the surface of the lens. There are several so-called hacks on the internet about repairing scratched lenses, most of which involve sanding the lenses to level the glass surface. However, these hacks almost always end up damaging your eyeglasses, so it’s best to avoid them.
If your eyeglass lenses suffered scratches or any kind of damage for that matter, you should see your local optometrist or go to an optical shop. Only qualified professionals will be able to tell if your eyeglasses can simply be repaired or it needs to be replaced.
How to Tell if You Need New Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses
Of course, getting new eyeglasses shouldn’t be the only reason why you should see your eye doctor. In general, you should see your local eye doctor for an eye exam at least once a year. Through routine eye exams, eye doctors can treat possible vision conditions before symptoms start to emerge.
Aside from difficulty in seeing or frequent squinting, here are the warning signs that will tell you when it’s time to get new prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses:
Frequent headaches – Outdated eyeglass prescriptions increase eye strain, which can in turn cause headaches. Keep in mind that while frequent headaches are usually a sign you need new eyeglasses, they can also be a symptom of a more serious condition. As such, it’s best to see your eye doctor if you’re experiencing frequent headaches.
Frequent squinting – Your eyes squint to reduce the light entering your eyes to improve the clarity of your vision. Squinting is normal in exceptionally bright settings, but if your eyes need to squint even if you have your glasses on, you should see your optometrist for an eye exam. Squinting is a sign your eyes can’t see clearly. This symptom might be considered to be just an annoyance, but over time, frequent squinting can increase the strain on your eyes and exacerbate vision problems.
Difficulty cleaning your glasses – When the special coatings on your eyeglasses start to break down, they’ll leave behind a coating, which can make cleaning your eyeglasses a lot harder.
When to Upgrade Your Eyeglasses
What if you haven’t experienced any of the aforementioned symptoms? How can you tell if you need new eyeglasses? If you haven’t replaced the lenses for more than a year, it might be time to upgrade your eyeglasses. Manufacturers introduce several improvements in lens technology to the market every year; these improvements can help you see better in ways that would’ve been impossible for older lens technology. To learn more about these new lens features, consult your local eye doctor.
Looking for optometrists near you?
Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist provides quality eye care and vision correction services. With our friendly and experienced staff, you can feel comfortable and well-cared for in our office. To schedule an appointment, call us at (703) 293-5222. We serve homeowners in Lorton and Newington, VA, as well as the surrounding communities.
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