How to clean spectalce lenses?
Teach your customers the right methods
Mr Haresh Potluri and Mr Syed Saif Ahmed
Modern spectacle lens really are miracle in technology with advanced coatings, which provide great benefits - thanks to their optimized hardness properties. However, caring for and cleaning lenses correctly is very important for every-one who wants to enjoy wearing their spectacles for lasting years. Improper handling of spectacles can lead to scratches – which are initially invisible on the spectacle lenses. Gradually spectacle wears down, the potential of the even best lenses is diminished and ultimately impairing the vision, the primary reason for which the spectacles are brought.
Life is made up of many challenges. Even customer spectacles have to withstand a lot every day. High quality spectacle lenses are an investment. Good quality lenses cost anywhere between 2000 Rs to 40,000Rs. It’s a financial investment that not only provides better vision but also better attitude towards life and their own safety.
What are the challenges?
Scratches are common during handling lenses. Tiny dust particles on handkerchief, shirtsleeve, or jacket cuff and on the glasses themselves can scratch the spectacle lens coatings. Rubbing lenses with these rough materials can cause a minor damage, particularly to plastic lenses with coatings. That’s why one should prefer spectacle lenses that are robust enough to face all these challenges. Repeated cleaning can add few more micro scratches on the surface of lens. Because of this, it is important to try to keep lenses free of fingerprints and dirt, and avoid repeated physical interaction-this includes touching lenses and-yes-cleaning. Although most people believe that the defect is only a cosmetic one, the light is actually diffused by the microfine scratch grooves, which will irritate eyes. The fact is, once scratches are formed they are impossible to remove from both plastic and glass lenses. Therefore prevention is best.
Can water be used to clean spectacle lenses?
Spectacle lenses must never be cleaned dry, no matter what material the spectacles are made of. Use liquids that are recommended while wiping. Liquids act as lubricant, and help reduce friction, and the risk of scratching.
Water not only works as lubricant but also removes dirt and debris from lens, without scratching lenses. One should be cautious in using hot water, as it can crack coatings. Luke warm water should be fine. Also, soft water is preferred over hard water as hard water can leave glasses dull and cloudy because of its hardness.
How about recommending a cleaning solution?
If you are one of the lucky ones who got coatings on your glasses that are water-repellent, you can usually run them under water, and slowly remove them, leaving the lenses spot free. If you end up with a couple drops left, you can probably dab them off lightly with a tissue without causing too much harm. Unfortunately, if your glasses didn't come with any coatings (or with any that are water repellant), you're probably going to have to rub them with micro-fiber cloth to dry them.
The benefits of a microfiber cloth
Microfiber cloths are made of a combination of nylon and polyester and are made up of extremely small fibers of those materials. Microfiber cloth offers most effective cleaning performance as dust and dirt cling to it there by reducing the chances of scratches while cleaning. Remember, general cloths aren’t a suitable replacement for a lens cloth.
Recommended method of wiping spectacle lenses
Wiping in concentric circles will reduce the occurrences of streaking more than working across the lens. When wiping, apply only enough pressure to remove the offending smudge.
Wash microfiber cloths at temperature not to exceed 40°C and do not add a fabric softener, as using one could cause cloth to leave streaks the next time you clean glasses.
Cotton swabs are a good option for cleaning, and can be especially effective for cleaning the edges of a lens.
Some tips for your customers
Do not clean spectacles with clothing, towels, facial tissues or paper.
Do not use commercial glass or household cleaners for cleaning spectacles. You also shouldn't use anything with ammonia, bleach, vinegar, or window cleaner because those chemicals strip away the coatings on glasses.
Acetone is a great cleaner, but, direct use onto spectacle lenses may have adverse effects on plastic lenses, as well as the optical coatings. Acetone is a strict NO for polycarbonate materials as it can turn the smooth lens surface rough when interacted. However, diluted form of acetone (Nail polish remover / thinner) is used by practitioners to clean temporary markings on progressive additional lenses. Recommended procedure is to take a microfiber cloth and wet it with diluted form of acetone and then clean the lenses with a single rub, rather than poring the solution onto lenses for cleaning.
Using single swipe alcohol swabs to clean spectacle lenses would be dangerous as the alcohol content has high chances to get imbibed by lens and therefore denaturing the tough coat of lens.
Spectacles need a home of their own. A hard case is the best place for them whenever not wearing. Always store spectacles in a spectacle case wrapped in a microfiber cloth to avoid damage by shaking the case
Temperature above 80°C will damage even the sturdiest of lenses and frames (e.g. Car dash board in sunlight).
Advise your customers to wear their spectacles using both hands. Using one hand can make them crooked.
Despite every effort you make, accidents and mishaps can damage lenses. However, in most cases, changing cleaning methods will keep glasses looking like-new for years.
About the authors
Mr Haresh Potluri completed his graduation from BLSO in 2008. He worked with Cornea and Contact Lens Services of LVPEI (2011-2013). He also obtained a Masters in Optometry degree (distance learning) from NIMS University, Rajasthan in 2015. In 2014, he joined Essilor India as a Senior Varilux Consultant for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states. He received the Award of Best Performer for South Indian region for the year 2014 by Essilor India Pvt Ltd.
Mr Syed Saif Ahmed completed his graduation from BLSO. During his graduating years he developed strong passion towards dispensing which led him to take a Dispensing Optometrist position at Titan Eye Plus (2010-2012). Later, he joined Essilor India in 2012 and is working as Senior Varilux Consultant for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states. Mr Saif has also obtained a post graduate degree in marketing.