Now’s the perfect time to book an eye exam, shop for new glasses, or stock up on contact lenses.
6 tips that will protect your investment — and your sight.
You love the way you look in your new glasses or contact lenses. So now it’s up to you to keep them looking and feeling brand new. Protecting your investment isn’t just for money’s sake. Taking good care of your eyewear can also preserve the integrity of your prescription so that you can see clearly.
Certain habits can chip away at the lifespan of your eyewear, so follow these six dos and don’ts.
Do: Carry a Case
Here’s a catchy motto that opticians love to tell patients: “If your glasses aren’t on your face, they should be in a case,” says Michael Vaughan. He’s an Atlanta-based optician and retail operations manager affiliated with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses.
When you don’t need your glasses, use a case instead of sliding your glasses on top of your head. Styling products and your hair’s natural oils accumulate on frames and lenses. They can also make their way into crevices and hinges, where they can’t easily be washed away. Vaughan also says that a common way people ruin lenses is by inadvertently applying hairspray after forgetting that their glasses were on top of their head.
What’s more, wearing your glasses on top of your head eventually stretches out the frames. Loose frames aren’t just annoying to wear. They’re also more likely to slide off your head and tumble onto the floor.
You might think that putting your glasses in your purse, fanny pack, or backpack will give them enough protection. It won’t. “Bags are one of the most mistreated accessories anyone has,” says Vaughan. Your glasses take the brunt of the beating when inside. Not to mention, things in your bag, such as keys, can scratch your glasses. Before dropping your pair into your bag, take five seconds to protect them in a case.
Has it been a while since your last eye checkup? Now’s the time to book an appointment!
Don’t: Overclean the Lenses
Repeatedly taking your glasses off and wiping them throughout the day will scratch them over time, says Vaughan. Clean them once each morning, he advises, by running them under warm tap water, then drying them with a microfiber cloth.
Dry in a sideways “U” shape, starting at the top and then following down to the bridge and around to the bottom edge of the lens. One swipe should do it, Vaughan says. Then it’s hands-off for the rest of the day. “Your glasses won’t get dirty if you don’t touch them,” he says.
Don’t: Take Glasses Off with One Hand
Vaughan calls this the Clark Kent move — where you rip your glasses off your face with one hand. The consequence? They stretch out. “There’s only a certain number of times where plastic or metal can bend before it eventually breaks and you’ll need your glasses replaced,” he says. Once you put them on, let them stay on. And every time you take them off, use both hands to pull them straight off your face.
Don’t: Leave Glasses or Contact Lenses in a Hot Car
The majority of glasses are made with some type of plastic, says Vaughan. Heat can compromise the plastic, changing the way your glasses fit. Or worse, they can melt — something Vaughan has seen happen firsthand.
It’s not only the frames that could suffer: Most lenses have some type of coating or tint . Extreme temperature exposure can cause crazing, or tiny cracks in the lenses that look like scratches. Your optician may not be able to buff those out without affecting the prescription. You’ll most likely need a replacement.
Heat is also no friend to contact lenses or solutions for contact lenses. While it’s a good idea to carry a spare pair and travel-size solution for emergencies, don’t stash these essentials in the glove compartment. Instead, consider keeping them in a small travel bag that you keep near your keys. That makes them easy to grab each morning when you leave — and keep track of when you return.
Do: Wear Your Contact Lenses as Directed
It’s one rule many people don’t follow, says Vaughan, but it’s important if you use contact lenses. Not wearing them according to the optometrist’s instructions can degrade the lenses, which can lead to eye infections or worse.
If you have daily disposables, throw them away every night. If you have daily-wear lenses, clean them every night. With extended-wear lenses, follow your optometrist’s instructions for how long each pair can stay in before they need cleaning and your eyes need a rest. Wearing lenses longer than intended or sleeping in them at night can make you more vulnerable to developing an eye infection, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you need a refresher on the best ways to wear and care for your contact lenses, stop by America’s Best and one of our opticians can show you how.
Do: See Your Optician Regularly
If you want to get the most out of your glasses, don’t just leave the eye doctor’s office with your new pair and never return. Head in to see your optician once every three months.
“At America’s Best, we’ll tighten screws and clean your glasses. You’ll walk out and feel as if you have a new pair of glasses,” Vaughan says. Adjustments are always free at America’s Best.
Not only will an optician clean your lenses, but they also can pop your frames into an ultrasonic cleaner. This device uses a special solution and vibrations to remove built-up oil and residue. You’ll look better, see better, and extend the life of those glasses you love.