The secret to ultra-clean eyeglass lenses

If you’re tired of looking through a hazy film that used to be your sparkling, clear eyeglass lenses, you’re not alone. Today’s lenses, though often scratch-coated, are susceptible to minute cleaning scratches that build up over time and obstruct your view.

Rinsing your lenses under very warm tap water prior to cleaning is always best. If you don’t get the dirt off the surface you’ll only rub it in with whatever you choose to clean them with. We love blue Dawn dish detergent as a degreaser, and you should use a tiny bit between your fingers and the lenses, and even on the nose pads and the rest of the frame. If you have a great anti-reflective or mirror coating, you can shake briskly, and most moisture will slide off easily. Use a microfiber cleaning cloth to absorb any remaining liquid. As an aside, your microfiber cloth should be cleaned regularly, either washing by hand with blue Dawn, or with your regular laundry. Avoid using fabric softeners, as it will absorb into the cloth, which you’ll then have to replace. Air drying is recommended for cleaning cloths.

When wearing eyeglasses, body oil will build up on the surfaces. Body oils are slightly acid, and the combination can reduce the life of your lens coatings. If you keep the oils off the surface, your eyewear will last longer. Coatings are also of differing quality, so some of the lens coatings will start to separate sooner than others. We almost exclusively use Good Housekeeping-approved Crizal coatings, which come with a 2-year manufacturer warranty against defects.

We also recommend that you stay away from paper products for cleaning your eyeglasses, including those in packets that are made from wood fiber. Strong chemicals can also spell disaster for today’s lenses, so avoid using products that include ingredients such as ammonia.

We have an ultrasonic eyeglass cleaning machine in our office as well, so if you have stubborn dirt trapped around your nose pads or between the frame and lenses stop in and we will be happy to clean them. Like jewelry cleaners, the machine produces tiny bubbles from sound waves that help remove dirt particles from cracks and crevices.

Image: UltraClean by Suzi Coleman

Suzi Coleman loves finding the best fit for individual customers and has been a licensed optician in the state of Arizona since 1981. Currently practicing in Flagstaff, she is the current Secretary of the Arizona State Board of Dispensing Opticians.

Avoid snow blindness

Overexposure to the sun’s damaging ultra-violet (UV) rays can result in blindness caused by temporary damage to the cornea, which is similar to a sunburn. This condition, also known as photokeratitis, can be caused in regular sunny conditions, not only where it’s snowy. Snow can reflect up to 80% of the damaging light, but other sunny conditions can also damage your corneas. Other light exposure that can cause symptoms include arc welding and tanning booths.

Symptoms include a gritty feeling, tearing, pain and redness, and in some cases a loss of vision. By the time you notice symptoms of this disorder, the damage has already been done.

It’s recommended that you protect yourself in sunny conditions, particularly on the slopes, on the lake, or anywhere you’re exposed to intense light. In high altitudes where the air is thin there is more UV light, so be very cautious to protect sensitive eye tissues by wearing ski goggles, or protective sunglasses.

Children are also at risk, so by all means get those little bambinos some eye protection.

Click here to read more about photokeratitis.

Image credit: Boy Making Snow Angel, by Petr Kratochvil