A 2006 report on vision states that 72 percent of the U.S. population requires some sort of vision correction. As more and more style-conscious individuals turn to glasses to correct their vision as they make personal fashion statements, many do not understand the proper care for those glasses, say experts at the Emory Eye Center.
Eyeglasses are precision-ground lenses that need to be cared for in order to maintain clear vision, says Emory Eye Center's Susan Primo, OD, MPH, director of Vision & Optical Services. Scratched and damaged lenses will not provide good vision, she says, and bent frames will not sit on the face correctly, giving less-than-perfect vision. Moreover, today's eyeglasses are an investment worthy of the best of care, says Dr. Primo.
Carefully managing the use of glasses is first and foremost. Because of the cost of some higher-end frames and quality lenses, taking good care of glasses will prevent the need to replace them because of damage.
Dr. Primo says owning a good pair of glasses first means seeking a professional to handle your prescription.
"It is best to have experienced, licensed opticians evaluate a person's prescription so that the best and most suitable lenses are given," says Dr. Primo. "In our business, the old adage, 'You get what you pay for,' rings true. In order to get better quality in frames, as well as lens materials and designs, the costs are higher, but well worth it to get optimal vision, comfort and style."
Because most frames are fairly sturdy today, concentrating on caring for the lenses is highly important, says Dr. Primo. Although many choose to add scratch-resistant coatings to their lenses, this does not in itself make them scratch-proof. Most high-quality lenses do come with a scratch coating already incorporated, as well as an anti-reflective coating for glare control. Lenses face should never be put down on a surface where they would be scratched, notes Dr. Primo.
Many opticians furnish a micro-fiber cloth when dispensing new eyeglasses. This cloth can be used to wipe lenses frequently, and keeping it in the case prevents dust settling on it. Paper towels, most fabrics and even bathroom tissue are much too harsh and can damage lenses. If all else fails, you can use a soft, clean t-shirt. Specially packaged moist lens cloths (disposable) can be used and easily tucked into purses, though they are somewhat costly.
Additionally, plain soap and warm water will also clean lenses, particularly if there is grime on them. Opticians may also provide eyeglass cleaners, a gentler version of window cleaners that will not harm precious lenses. Flecks of debris, including paint, can typically be flicked off the lenses by careful lifting with a smoothly manicured fingernail. Hair spray is a particular problem for lenses, as it can leave permanent spots.
Not storing glasses correctly is a common problem. Not using a hard case (to prevent damage if dropped), putting them too near heat or cold (and that means in a car, too), and not getting frames tightened when they are loose, can all add up to eyeglasses that are not going to last as long as they should.
Those extreme temperatures such as summer heat can bend frames or distort lenses. Take glasses with you instead of leaving them in a car.
If your frames become out of alignment, your optician will be happy to provide adjustments to your eyeglasses or you can purchase small kits at many drugstores that include small screwdrivers.
Eyeglasses today are more important than ever, as more and more of us demand the highest quality of vision for our work and play, and taking care of those glasses just makes good sense, says Dr. Primo.
The Emory Center in cludes the Department of Ophthalmology, part of the Emory School of Medicine, its clinical sector and all aspects of research. Ranked in the top 20 of the U.S. News & World Report's annual survey of the nation's best eye centers, Emory Eye Center remains in the top ten of the peer-evaluated Ophthalmology Times survey. The South's first corneal transplant was performed in Georgia in 1947; its refractive surgery trials were conducted in the 1980s, and it remains at the forefront of many national clinical trials, including those on macular degeneration and glaucoma.