Q: I just had an eye exam, and the optician there told me I had scratched my lenses. I am very careful with my glasses and am not sure I really believe her.
A: Yours is a common reaction, and is often not your “fault” but represents a problem with your lenses and/or the cleaning technique you use.
Virtually all eyewear today is made with lenses to reduce glare from oncoming headlights and to improve your nighttime vision. These are called “glare-free” lenses or “anti-reflective” lenses. While the idea is absolutely a good one, the industry sells several grades of anti-reflective lenses and many are not very durable. Like so much in life, you generally get what you pay for. The less expensive glare-free lenses provide some glare reduction, but are not very durable. This means that even the most careful patient may eventually see the outer layers being worn away with everyday cleaning. This is the fault of the lens, and not the patient.
Generally, the best glare-free lenses not only give the sharpest vision for driving, but also are most durable. Many now come with a full year’s warranty against damage. So when given a choice, always select the best anti-reflective lenses you can. Unfortunately, many online glasses sellers do not offer the better lenses, but only provide lower grade materials.
Whatever lenses you have, it is essential to use only an approved lens cleaning liquid when needed, and to use an approved micro-fiber cleaning cloth for everyday use. Never, ever use those “lens cleaning tissues” sold in many retailers. These are made from paper and will gradually scratch your lenses. I have no idea why some optical stores sell them. If you are caught without a micro-fiber cloth and need to clean your glasses, use the softest cloth you can find. But only cloth, never a tissue or napkin or anything paper.
Keeping your eyewear clean does prolong the life of your lenses, and will also help to provide the sharpest vision possible.
DR. THOMAS STOUT, OD, FAAO is an eye physician in private practice at Morgantown Eye Associates. Info: MorgantownEye.com.