Coronavirus and Your Eyeglasses
Did you know that our glasses (this includes the lenses and the frame) can potentially transfer viruses, such as COVID-19, to our eyes, nose, and mouth? This is because viruses — as well as bacteria — are easily transferred from our surroundings to our hands and then from our hands to our glasses.
In fact, research has shown that coronavirus can remain on glass surfaces for as long as 9 days. If we're not careful, we can easily touch our glasses then touch our eyes, nose, or mouth, thus continuing the contagion cycle.
The danger is even higher for people with presbyopia, age-related farsightedness that generally affects those aged 40 and above. Presbyopes who wear reading glasses tend to put them on and take them off several times throughout the day. What's more worrisome is that this age group is at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
The good news is that disinfecting your glasses is easy! Let's delve into ways you should and should not disinfect your lenses at home.
What NOT to Use to Cleanse Your Glasses
Many of us may have rubbing-alcohol at home, and although it may seem like a perfectly good idea to use it to disinfect your specs, we discourage you from doing so. It may be too harsh for your eyeglasses, especially if you have any special coatings on your lenses.
Other products you should stay away from include ammonia, bleach, or anything with high concentrations of acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, which can damage lens coatings and some eyewear materials.
How to Safely Disinfect Your Glasses
Now that we've eliminated the substances and chemicals that should not be used on your lenses, let's see what is safe to use to clean eyewear.
Dish Soap and Water
The absolute easiest and most efficient way to disinfect and clean your lenses is to use lukewarm water with a gentle dish soap. Massage the soap onto each lens, rinse, and dry using a microfiber cloth (not paper towels, as the fibers can easily scratch lenses). While you're at it, don't forget to include your frame's nose pads and earpieces.
Lens Cleaning Wipes
Pre-moistened lens wipes are excellent for cleaning your glasses, as well as your phone, tablet and computer screen. They remove bacteria, dust, dirt and germs from your glasses and the formula restores shine to glass surfaces without leaving any streaks or residue. The durable material is tough enough to remove stains, while being gentle enough not to scratch your screens or lenses. Contact Northwood Vision to find out how you can access these.
So, In Summary:
- Do not use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your glasses.
- Avoid using household cleaners or products with high concentrations of acid.
- Clean your glasses with a gentle dish soap and lukewarm water, or lens wipes.
- Dry your glasses with a microfiber cloth to prevent smudging and scratching.
Disinfecting your glasses shouldn't be stressful or worrisome. Just follow the easy steps above to protect your lenses and your health.
Lastly, for some people, contact lenses may be a better alternative, especially if you know yourself so well that you just can keep your hands off your glasses! In today's world, there are a variety of contact lens options available. We even have lenses that correct for astigmatism and presbyopia for people 40 and over. So almost every patient could be a candidate for contact lenses. Certainly a patient can transfer viruses onto their eye when inserting and removing contact lenses. But with very careful and extensive hand washing protocols, and potentially only touching the contact lenses on insertion and removal, it is reasonable to conclude that this may be a safer alternative compared to taking one's glasses on and off all day long. At Northwood Vision, Dr. Keats will be happy to discuss your options when you are ready to come in.
On behalf of everyone at Northwood Vision in Clearwater, Florida, we sincerely hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe during this uncertain time. We ask that only patients with marked reduction of vision, visual discomfort, pain, discharge, or redness make appointments during the shelter at home mandate. If you are just ready for some updated frames and lenses, or are thinking contact lenses might be right for you and can see well, please schedule your appointment in mid May or later. Thank you, and we hope and pray you stay healthy and COVID-19 free!