Anyone who wears glasses or contacts (unless they’ve had them since they were toddlers) can remember what it was like to suddenly be able to see individual leaves and blades of grass when they started wearing them, and being able to see clearly is critical for so many things we do every day. That’s why taking good care of our lenses is so important!
Glasses tend to gather dust, oil, and other small debris throughout the day, and so they require a lot of cleaning. It might be tempting to reach for the corner of your shirt, but it’s better to use a cotton or microfiber cloth with glasses cleaner. A drop of dish soap in a small spray bottle of water makes a pretty good homemade glasses cleaner if you don’t already have some.
If you don’t have a glasses cloth handy, the edge of a cotton shirt can work in a pinch, but definitely avoid any wood-based materials like tissues or napkins. Anything made of wood pulp can easily leave scratches in a glasses lens. You also want to avoid using chemical cleaners like window cleaner or ammonia, as they will dissolve the protective coatings on your lens.
Aside from using the right materials to clean it, you should really store your glasses in their case when you aren’t wearing them. Try not to fall asleep with them on because you could damage them in your sleep!
Taking care of contact lenses is a slightly more involved process. Contact lenses are medical devices that sit directly on the eye, so cleaning them is more about hygiene than maintenance. Here are the major points:
Don’t cut corners on your contact lens care! Even if it saves you a little money in new bottles of contact lens solution, it could cost you an eye infection somewhere down the line. The trade-off isn’t worth it.
Anyone who wears contacts should be especially diligent about minimizing their eye infection risk. That includes things like avoiding rubbing your eyes (because it could introduce germs, damage the lens, or scratch your cornea), remembering to blink often, staying hydrated, and using eye drops if your eyes ever feel too dry. That all goes hand-in-hand with our previous advice!
Whether you have glasses or contacts, feel free to bring us your questions about how to properly care for them. We want to make sure our patients are getting the most out of their corrective lenses! Also make sure to get in touch if you experience irritation, redness, or other symptoms of an eye infection, and even if everything seems to be going great, your regular eye exams still matter. Not every eye problem or prescription update is obvious to the patient.