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Whether you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, here are the eye-care accessories that you must own.
Contact lenses? Check. Prescription sunglasses? Check. Ready to go? Not so fast.
Taking care of your new contacts or eyeglasses involves more than carrying around a spare case or tucking a cleaning cloth into your lint-filled pocket.
In fact, according to Janetta Porter, a contact lens merchandising manager for National Vision and America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, if seeing clearly is the goal, investing in the right tools and accessories—and fitting them into your daily routine—is a must.
A good care and maintenance routine helps you have a clearer field of vision, which may reduce eye fatigue. Plus, it can extend the life of your contact lenses and eyeglasses.
Here’s our checklist and the how-tos to get you started.
Did you know that contact lens prescriptions need to be renewed every year? Click here to find an exam time that fits your schedule.
5 Must-Haves if You Wear Contact Lenses
1. Multiple cases. If you wear monthly lenses, you really can’t have too many cases. One for home, plus one for the car, purse, briefcase, even the gym bag. (If you wear daily lenses, keep extra lenses in all the same places.) The rule of rotation: replace every 3 months, or immediately after an illness or eye infection, says Porter.
Keep your primary case clean by rinsing every day with contact lens solution—not tap water, which can contain harmful eye infection-causing bacteria! Let the case air dry, preferably in a designated drawer or cubby and not on the bathroom counter, where it’s easy for cross-contamination from airborne germs.
2. Contact lens solution. This is another one for monthly lens wearers. Keep a large bottle of solution at home and travel sizes in the car, at the office, or in your bag. Use the brand recommended by your eye doctor and pay attention to expiration dates.
If you wear dailies, lens solution will still come in handy occasionally—keep a travel bottle at home and at the office.
3. Emergency kit for kids. If your teen wears contact lenses, have them keep a travel-size bottle of solution, a spare case, and a fresh pair of contact lenses in their locker or backpack—just in case a lens comes out or some debris gets in their eyes.
For younger contact-lens wearers, loop in their teacher or school nurse so an adult on site is aware that your child wears contacts. Ask them the best place for your child to store his or her emergency kit.
4. Rewetting drops. Rewetting drops refresh your eyes, moisten your lenses, and help remove dust and irritants that can cause discomfort. Keep a small bottle in your bag, in your pocket, and at your desk. Again, one is never enough.
5. Sunglasses. Even if your contacts offer some amount of UV protection, nothing protects the eyes (and the surrounding skin) from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays like a good pair of shades.
Not only is cancer a concern, but these rays can penetrate the eye and chip away at healthy vision. Look for sunglasses that boast 100% UV protection (the frame or tag may also say UV400) and wear them whenever you are outside—even on cloudy days.
5 Must-Haves if You Wear Eyeglasses
1. Protective cases. When your glasses aren’t on your face, they should be in a case, where they’re less likely to get knocked around and bent out of shape, says Melis Martinez, a brand marketing manager for National Vision and America’s Best.
A soft leather sleeve will slip effortlessly into a coat pocket, but a hard case will enclose your glasses in a protective shell. If you are unsure which choice is right for you, you have options.
Tossing your frames into a large backpack or tote? Go with the durability of a hard case. Carrying a small evening bag? A soft satin sleeve should be fine.
Cases at America’s Best are available in an assortment of colors, patterns, and materials, including those that double as a cleaning cloth. So go ahead—express yourself.
2. Cleaning spray. You wouldn’t try to clean your windshield without using wiper fluid, would you? So don’t try to clean your glasses without using a lens spray specifically formulated for eyeglasses.
The spray flushes away dirt and debris, Martinez says, preventing those small particles from scratching your lenses. Ammonia-based household cleaners can degrade your delicate specs. Stock up on a few travel-size bottles to keep in your work bag or car.
3. Microfiber cloth. A microfiber cloth cleans and dries lenses without harming any special lens coating that you’ve selected. You’ll want to keep a few of these cloths, designed to trap oils and pick up fine bits of lint and dust, handy at all times.
A microfiber cloth is easy to care for: Shake it out after every use, then wash monthly (or as needed) with warm water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid and air dry.
4. Tool kit. Having the tools on hand to tighten or replace a loose screw can save you an extra trip to America’s Best for a professional adjustment. Martinez recommends giving your frames a quick once-over every month to look for any potential problems.
Look for an eyeglass tool kit that includes a small screwdriver, replacement screws, and a magnifier (if you can’t see up close without your glasses). At America’s Best, you can pick up a handy key-chain screwdriver for a couple of bucks.
If your eyeglasses are loose or out of alignment, though, don’t try to adjust them on your own—it’s easy to make matters worse! The staff at America’s Best are happy to get your frames back in line at no charge.
5. Eyeglass cord or a chain. If you want to secure your eyewear at the gym or on the playing field, an elastic cord or a stretch band is a great add-on item.
These are also great for active kids. And if you are prone to misplacing your frames, a decorative chain will keep them close at hand.
Don't Forget A Spare Pair of Eyeglasses
If you wear contacts, a backup pair of eyeglasses with your current prescription is perfect for those times when your eyes are irritated or tired or you simply need a break from your lenses.
And if you wear eyeglasses, a spare pair can be a lifesaver if your primary frames are damaged or broken.