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Spring Cleaning for Your Eyewear: Protecting Your Investment

Spring is in the air and for many of us, it gets us in the mood to tackle some spring cleaning. There is one task that you should add to your to-do list…don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think..spring clean your eyewear! That’s right, it's easy to overlook the state of our eyewear but just like our homes, our glasses deserve a thorough cleaning and tune-up to keep them looking and performing their best.

So, today, we're diving into the importance of spring cleaning for your eyewear and sharing expert tips for protecting your investment.

Over time, daily wear and tear can take a toll on your frames and lenses, leading to dullness, loose screws, and even frame wear that could compromise their integrity.

That's where professional care comes in. By making an appointment or taking the time to visit your optician for a thorough cleaning and inspection, you're not only prolonging the lifespan of your eyewear but also ensuring optimal performance and comfort.

During this process, your optician will meticulously clean your frames and lenses. I tend to use an ultrasonic cleaner and an extra soft toothbrush for those hard to reach areas, removing any built-up grease or grime that can accumulate over time. Typically the lenses are popped out of the frame for this step, which allows for better removal of any build up in the frame groove that can get trapped beneath the lens.

So if you have ever noticed streaks or smudges on your glasses, no matter how diligently you clean them this is usually why and it is caused by bits of oil from your skin that get trapped beneath the lenses and smear around when you clean them. Removing the lenses and then cleaning the frame and lenses separately, yields the best results.

As for the lenses, once they are removed, I will typically use a mild liquid dish detergent in lukewarm water (not too hot because heat can cause lenses to craze). I rinse them off and dry them before inserting them back into the frame.

I'll also check for any loose screws or signs of frame wear that could lead to breakage down the line. Lastly, if the frame has adjustable nose pads, I typically will replace them with a new pair before one final cleaning of the lenses with a lens cleaner and a fresh cleaning cloth.

TIP: Those cleaning cloths that you typically get with your glasses can and should be washed. As I mentioned earlier, those streaks you eventually get when you clean your glasses are a result of oil from underneath the lens that oozes out, which collects onto the cloth. When you go to use the cloth later on, it has a build up of that oil on it and it just streaks your lenses, so throwing them in the wash is encouraged to keep your glasses as streak free as possible. Just avoid traditional fabric softeners and opt for vinegar instead for the laundry cycle.

Here are some tips on how to manage your glasses everyday, to protect your eyewear investment:

  • Remember to always use both hands when removing your glasses, as single-hand removal can put excess stress on one side of the frame, leading to hinge failure over time. I find that the biggest issue arises with spring hinge frames. Over time the hinge will wear and can separate from it’s internal housing. The fix… you need a new temple, which can be a tall order if the frame is no longer in production, or possibly a new hinge reset. A double barrel hinge will be more sturdy than a single barrel hinge, so they will be less likely to break, but two hand removal is still the way to go.

  • Keep your glasses in the case when they are not being worn. Many people I am sure can attest to the fact that they placed their glasses down somewhere and forgot where they were and…crunch! Found them… if you are taking your glasses off for a brief second, just hold onto them. But if you will be without them for a period of time (even if you are heading to bed) put them in the case. I have heard so many stories of people placing them on their nightstand and in the middle of the night they got knocked over and they stepped on them waking up to go pee in the middle of the night, or my other popular favorite…their dog mistook it as a new chew toy. Another hot topic for keeping your glasses in a case is with sunglasses. I am guilty of this next one, as we all have done this at some point, but when you are outside and go into a store, you take off your sunglasses and pop them onto your head or hook them onto your shirt. I have had some unfortunate events with both these methods. Firstly, when we are always sliding our sunglasses (or regular glasses) onto the top of our head, they tend to stretch out and become loose. This will cause them to not fit well when you wear them, requiring an adjustment and they can easily slip and fall off (I have many tales of sunglasses sitting at the bottom of Georgian Bay for this reason). I also find that if you slip your glasses at the front of your shirt, you need to be careful when bending down or leaning forward, because this too can cause them to fall off. I’ll share this story with you briefly: I once went into a grocery store to pick up buns. I didn’t have my purse with me and I didn’t want to slide my glasses on my head or slip them onto my shirt, so I placed them on top of the cabinet. I got my buns, went to the cash register and paid. Just as I was leaving, I noticed I forgot my sunglasses. I immediately went back and they were gone! So now I make sure I have my purse with me at all times to put them into the case or if I do take them off I double check that I haven’t left them behind. One tip, in the winter, I have stored my sunglasses inside my mit (soft coating) and kept it in my pocket. I don’t advocate for this on a regular basis, but in a pinch, it’ll do.

TIP: To keep your specs organized and protected, a great option is the FTG (Frames-To-Go) travel case. You can store up to 4 pairs of glasses or sunglasses, it's compact and can easily be placed in your purse, carry-on or used at home as to make it easy to decide which pair you will wear , while quickly being able to roll up the case and bring your favorite sunnies with you! - It really is an all-in-one solution. (You can grab yours here)

  • Don’t keep your glasses in the car or glove compartment. Glasses are sensitive to heat and our vehicles can get pretty warm in the summer months. Excessive heat can cause frames to lose their shape and lenses can craze, which is where the layers of the coating expand from the heat and crack from the pressure against the frame. It tends to look like cracked glass. This is why I also advise people to be careful wearing glasses around open fires, BBQ’s and ovens.

  • Only use a non-abrasive cleaning cloth and approved lens cleaner to clean your glasses. The down and dirty habit of wiping your glasses with your shirt or using tissue on the lenses will scratch your lenses over time, creating a breakdown in the coating which can lead to coating failure. Avoid using household glass cleaner or homemade solutions using vinegar. If in a hurry or in doubt, rinse your lenses in water (not too hot) and dry with a cleaning cloth. Always make sure your lenses are wet before using a cleaning cloth on them. Periodically you can wash your glasses in lukewarm water with a mild liquid dish soap. Most frames, but not all can be cleaned this way from time to time. If you are unsure, you can always ask me for guidance.

Now for a few tips on refreshing frames that you LOVE, are in good condition structurally, but need a cosmetic update due to paint chips or dull, white finishes.

  • If you have acetate frames that are looking a little dull and lackluster, maybe have a white-ish film on it, they can be brought back to life with a good polish. Acetate frames can also be tinted to freshen up or change a colour. This is most effective with translucent acetate frames. If you have a metal frame with some paint chips, ask about having the frame resprayed to give it a new lease on life. This can also be an option if you are wanting a change of colour.

  • And lastly, by investing in quality and multiple pairs of glasses (2 regular, 2 sunglass, one task specific), building up an eyewear wardrobe over the years, you will have different options to choose from that will not only change up your look but also give your frames a break from the daily use because you will be rotating your eyewear throughout the week.

So there you have it – spring cleaning for your eyewear and tips on making the most of your eyewear investment that can pay big dividends in terms of extending the life of your frames and ensuring clear, comfortable vision year-round. Thanks for checking in, and until next time, keep rock’n those specs!

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