How to properly clean your glasses

One of the questions I get asked a lot as an optician is “why are there so many scratches on my lenses? I clean my glasses with that cloth they gave me?”

There are so many places to start with how to clean your glasses properly, but I’m going to start first with the verbiage I always say to my patients as I am doing a final cleaning of their lenses when I dispense them.

You want to spray your lenses with an eyeglass cleaner approved for all lens types. Wipe them in a back and forth motion, not a circular motion, with the cloth. If the cloth get’s dirty, wash it with a mild soap like Ivory. Never use anti bacterial soap or fabric softener on anything that touches your lenses.

Sounds simple enough, right? Let me break it down a little more for you. Even though we still refer to glasses as….well….glasses, they are, indeed, almost never made from actual glass anymore. Because of this, you want to avoid anything you would normally use to clean actual glass ON your lenses. Avoid Windex or any ammonia product for that matter. Fun Fact……we do not sell anti reflective coating to pig farmers because the ammonia from the pigs will ruin the lenses quickly. Pig farmers automatically need two pairs of glasses. One pair for their day to day work and one for when they are going to be away from the farm.

Ok, back to proper cleaning. Most lenses today have an anti reflective coating on them (we refer to it as AR coating). If it is a premium AR coating, then it will also have an extra durable scratch resistant coating built into the property of it. If it is a cheaper, older style, AR coating, then the scratch resistant coating is placed on the lenses and then the AR coating is applied. As you can imagine, the latter is much easier to scratch in general. Following the tips I am mentioning in this blog will help extend the life of all lenses.

Much of what gets on lenses today is dust as well as oil from your skin. Just like you would not wash an oily pan with just water, you wouldn’t want to clean your lenses without some type of cleaner. Running them under water without anything else will just smear the oil around.

You do not need to have eyeglass cleaner though. You can wash them at your kitchen or bathroom sink with a mild soap and water, then dry them with a clean, 100% cotton or microfiber cloth.

Can’t I use the cloth by itself? Do I need to use a spray?

You can, on occasion, use a light touch and use the cloth to get some dust particles off if you need to, but truthfully, you should try to always have a bottle of spray cleaner with you and a clean cloth or some disposable lens wipes.

Another way to look at it is, if your car’s finish had mud on it, would you take a dry cloth and wipe the mud off or would you go through a car wash and let the soap and water remove it? If you’re wearing lenses to give you the best vision possible, they will have a superior “finish” to them and you want to take care of it.

Why do my lenses always smear or look dirty after I clean them?

Another question I ask my patients when they talk about their lenses always looking dirty after they clean them is; “How often are you washing your cloth?” I usually get blank stares and they respond, I did not know I was supposed to wash them. The cloths get dirty just like everything else. To wash them, you can do one of the following:

  1. Hand wash the cloth with a mild soap. Just make sure it does not have an anti bacterial property to it. If it is a small cloth, I put the soap on my hand, run some water, put the cloth between my hands and act like I am washing my hands. I’ll do this for about 30 – 60 seconds, making sure to get the entire cloth clean. Rinse it well, then lay it over something to air dry.
  2. Throw it in with your towels. OK…another fun fact… should NEVER use fabric softener on towels. Towels are made up of tiny loops of cotton. When you use fabric softener (or dryer sheets, same thing) then you are coating the cotton loops, decreasing the absorbency of the towels by 30%. Wash your towels on hot water, cold water rinse, then dry in the dryer. After about three washes, the fabric softener you used to use will be gone and the towels will absorb more water! I usually throw my lens cleaning cloths in a lingerie bag so they don’t get lost and toss them in with my towels. You can dry them but they dry quicker than the actual towels so you have to pull them out earlier. To save having it remember this step, I usually just take them out and dry them on my sweater drying rack.

Can I use those disposable lens wipes?

Simple answer, YES, you can. More detailed answer, it all depends on which ones and how are you using them. The biggest mistake people make with the disposable lens wipes is over wiping. They contain some alcohol so you want to open them and wipe your glasses in a back and forth motion with them. STOP before the cloth is dry! There should be enough liquid on the cloth for you to clean one more thing, such as your steering wheel, your dash, your cell phone screen, anything really, just don’t wipe your lenses until the cloth is dry. If you do, you are just scratching up your lenses.

Some disposable lens wipes are better than others. I know I have the Zeiss wipes in my picture and you can use those. The key is, when you open the package, the cloth should have quite a bit of moisture in it. If it is dry, throw it away and grab another one. If multiple ones are dry when you open it, stop using the brand you have and go get a different kind.

Why shouldn’t I use anti bacterial soap or fabric softener?

Because I said so! Ok, Ok, the better answer is because they have properties in them which may ruin your lenses depending on what you have on them. They can eat at your scratch resistant coatings / anti reflective coatings. Similar to how I talked about why you should not use shaving cream when your glasses fog up. You can read that blog here.

Overall, the thing to remember is eyeglasses are an investment. If you purchase the right features to give you the best optics and the healthiest eyes, then you will have to take care of them properly. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds if you have the right tools. Your glasses can look as sparkling clear after you clean them as then do when you optician cleans them!

If you have any additional questions about how to properly clean your eyeglass lenses, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me here or on Facebook.

See the world as it was meant to be seen! 🤓

If you liked this article and want to read more, please follow me on Facebook @PaulaTheOptician or subscribe to this blog.  You can find my other writing, not related to eye care or optical on my site:  HaliPawz  Where I enjoy writing reviews, ADA adventures with my mom, as well as just some humorous things that happen to me.

Frame Friday – June 22 – Dilli Dalli Collection

Today’s Frame Friday is going to be a little different.  I wanted to stay with the theme of sun protection for your eyes with next Wednesday being National Sunglasses Day.  One of the most forgotten ages for sun protection for the eyes is in infants and toddlers.  On a hot summer day, I see parent’s putting suntan lotion all over the skin, but then, when it comes to protecting their child’s eyes, most don’t even give any thought to it.  I understand it’s a lot easier to put suntan lotion on than it is to get the infant or toddler to keep a pair of sunglasses on, but I want to talk about the importance of it as well as talk about another obstacle faced, getting a pair that fits!

When my friend’s son was born, I wanted to get him a good pair of sunglasses.  I ordered “infant” size ready-made sunglasses and they were horrible.  When he was in his car seat, the pressure from the seat pushed them off his head.  I ordered another pair from a different company and while they were better in the car seat, they still slid off him when we picked him up.

Pre-made ones falling off at the dog park, I'm sporting MyMaui Maui Jim's with Neutral Grey bi-gradient lenses
Pre-made ones falling off at the dog park, I’m sporting MyMaui Maui Jim’s with Neutral Grey bi-gradient lenses

I had worked with Dilli Dalli frames for young children who needed prescription glasses, so I decided to custom make a pair of sunglasses.  We ordered the frame in and then I sent them to the lab to have plano (no prescription) polarized lenses made in them.  I added the scratch coating to give them a two-year warranty but, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t recommend it for an infant because he / she is going to grow out of them before they can scratch them unless you plan on having more children and want to use them for the other infants, I would just do the plano polarized lenses.

First Pair Already too Small - he looks like a little professor!
First Pair Already too Small – he looks like a little professor!

I will admit, I have already had to order a second, larger pair for him and I did put the scratch coat on them because I figured he would be able to wear them a little bit longer.

Dilli Dalli frames come in a variety of sizes from infant to their newly expanded sizing which extends to some 3 and 4 year olds.

DILLI DALLI MUD SLIDE – a new extended size version Photo Credit: Clearvision Optical

You can see the variety of frames, the shapes, and the sizes by clicking here.  The Dilli Dalli frames are soft and comfortable.  When you first put them on the infant or toddler, they won’t like them.  They will pull them off, they will want to play with them.  The best advice I can give any parent or grandparent is to put them on OUTSIDE so the world doesn’t look too dark for the child and then immediately distract them with something to keep their hands busy.  The more they wear them, the better they will get used to them, to the point they will know, if the sunglasses are going on, then they are going outside!  Parent’s of children who have to wear glasses for vision correction go through it all of the time, having to teach their child to leave their glasses on.  It is possible, it just takes some time and some patience.

Now let’s talk about WHY  a good quality pair of sunglasses are so important.  Let’s start with suntan lotion.  WHY do you put suntan lotion on your child(ren)?  Why do you put it on yourself?  Most people say it’s because they know it’s not healthy for the skin to burn.  They want to try to minimize their exposure to the sun.  They want to minimize their chances of getting skin cancer.  The sun damages the eyes AND the skin around the eyes.  Plain and simple.  The same UV damaging your arms and legs is doing the same amount of damage, if not more, to your eyes.  The difference is you don’t always feel the sunburn on your eyes the way you do on your skin and it is not reversible.  It is the beginning of long term damage to the eyes.

YourSightMatters breaks down some of the harmful effects of the sun

  • Photokeratitis— Also known as sunburn of the eye or “snow blindness.” Photokeratitis can cause loss of vision for up to 48 hours.
  • Cataracts— This progressive clouding of the lens of the eye can cause slow vision loss.
  • Pterygium— Commonly known as “surfer’s eye,” this condition causes a growth (not cancerous) on the eye’s surface that can itch, swell and be bothersome. Surgery may be necessary to remove it, but the growth can return.
  • Age-related macular degeneration— UV rays can damage the macula of the eye, which can blur vision and dull colors.
  • Cancer— UV rays can cause cancer of the eye, eyelid or skin

Children with blue eyes, or lighter color eyes, are more susceptible to the sun’s UV than a child with darker eyes, but all eyes can be affected.

Another thing to take into consideration is children spend a lot more time looking up into the sun as they talk to adults or older children than adults do.  Studies have shown half of the lifetime sun exposure occurs in the first twenty years of life. Children are generally outdoors much more than adults.  Many times parents think hats solve the problem of the sun and it doesn’t.  While it may protect somewhat from directly above, it doesn’t take into count the time looking up, as well as the reflected UV from water, sand or concrete.

In the end, it is important for everyone to wear quality polarized lenses when outside.  Just like our skin, the sun doesn’t always have to be completely visible to cause damage.  Teaching a child the importance of sun protection in all factors at a young age will help protect them throughout their lives.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay sun safe! 🤓

Frame Friday – Maui Jim Lava Tube – June 15th

Hey everyone, I think Spring and Summer had a meeting and decided to merge their seasons because it has been HOT!!! While I’m not one to only talk about outdoor lenses (aka sunglasses) when it’s hot, I figured today would be a good day to showcase a new Maui Jim sunglass I am falling in love with. It is the Maui Jim Lava Tube. The one I’m wearing in the video is the Satin Sepia with Maui Sunrise lenses.

I’ve been a fan of Maui Jim sunglasses for years. The clarity is amazing. Colors are sharp. While I’ve tried all of the lenses, my favorite has always been the neutral grey bi-gradient lenses. Today, while I was doing the video I looked around for the first time with the Maui Sunrise lenses and I was pleasantly surprised. The clarity is similar to my grey lenses. They are pretty. The colors were vibrant. I will definitely have to get a pair of the Maui Sunrise lenses!

Maui Jim sunglasses are available in prescription, non- prescription, readers (meaning no prescription on top, just a reading segment on the bottom), and customized. For example, if you wanted a Satin Sepia Lava Tube frame with HCL bronze lenses in them, you could do it. I am always customizing Maui Jims for patients.

Lava Tube Satin Dark Gunmetal
Lava Tube Satin Dark Gunmetal with Blue Hawaii Lenses Photo Credit: Maui Jim

If you like aviator style frames but they just don’t look right on you, the Lava Tube is a nice alternative option. As a modified aviator, it will look good on multiple face shapes. Overall, the new Lava Tube is sharp looking, lightweight, and fits a variety of people, from a larger head, like mine, to a smaller head.

Lava Tube Gold Matte
Lava Tube Gold Matte with HCL Bronze Lenses Photo Credit: Maui Jim

Lava Tube Black Matte
Lava Tube Black Matte with Neutral Gray Lenses Photo Credit: Maui Jim

I hope you liked today’s Frame Friday and have a great weekend! 🤓

Frame Friday – Maui Jim Breezeway – April 13

Today’s Frame Friday frame is my Maui Jim Breezeway Sunglass.  This frame is stylish and fit’s well.  It is lightweight so I always enjoy wearing it on a warm day.

The frame I wear is the Rose Gold frame with the HCL Bronze bi-gradient lenses.  I used the MyMaui option to configure it how I wanted it.  The Rose Gold frame normally comes with the Maui Rose Gradient lens.  I almost always prefer the bi-gradient lens because then the lens is doing the “squinting” for me in the sunglight.

I like the frame because it’s comfortable to wear at any time but has a dressy look to it as well.

PaulaTheOptician with Maui Breezeway Frame
Wearing my Maui Jim Breezeway Frame

It is available in three colors, Rose Gold, like I’m wearing, Silver, and Gold.  To see it and any other Maui Jim sunglasses, visit their website.

Maui Jim Breezeway Gold

Have a great weekend everyone!

  • PaulaTheOptician