Whether it’s your first pair, or your fifth, the big rule in taking care of glasses is “use your case”, or as your mother might put it, rather colorfully, “if they’re not on your face, they better be in your case.”  It’s a rule that, if heeded, will help your glasses last for years, in great condition.  It’s the equivalent to the “wear your retainer” rule after you have had braces.  However, in both situations, it may be easier said than done, and in the course of daily life, we are all prone to neglecting the little things.  Though there is no substitute for diligent use of your eyeglasses case, the following are a few tips to assist with maintenance.  They can also be applied to the care of your sunglasses.

When you’re washing your prescription eyeglass lenses, eye care professionals recommend that you use warm water and soap to gently rub your lenses clean with your fingers.  (Wash your hands first to limit the transfer of oils from your fingers to the lenses).  Once you’ve rinsed the lenses, dab them dry with a clean, soft piece of cloth.  You can purchase, at most optical suppliers, ultra-fine, machine-washable microfiber lens cleaning cloths that are especially proficient at trapping dirt and dust.  Avoid the use of rags, Kleenexes, kitchen towels, or the corners of a scarf or tie or shirt.  These fabrics can scratch the lenses.  Also, do not use household cleaners, acetone, or soaps with cream – as the chemicals in these substances may cause premature wear to your frames, lenses, lens treatments and coatings.

In addition to regular cleaning, protect your glasses by never leaving them loose in a purse or backpack or even jacket pocket.  It’s worth repeating: the best strategy to keep your glasses safe is a reliable case.  Leaving them loose risks scratches on lenses, smudges and stains, or even a break in the frame.  If it helps, you can also choose a case with designs that speak to your personality and that you will enjoy using more.

Okay, okay, we hear you.  You don’t always use the case. Life happens.  However, if you are setting your glasses down on a desk or table or kitchen counter, at least close the frames before laying them down.  Set your glasses frame-side down to circumvent scratched lenses.  No matter what the case, pun intended, do not leave your glasses on the floor.  It’s too easy for someone to unexpectedly step on them.   And, if you are setting your glasses down in the bathroom; just be mindful that a bathroom vanity exposes your glasses to all kinds of splatters, splashes, and products, like toothpaste or lotion, which can dirty or even damage your lenses.  When out and about, don’t let your glasses, or sunglasses, sit in the hot sun or the hot car, for that matter.  And though it may seem like an elegant solution, resist the urge to set your glasses back on your head.  Over time, this can cause the frames to become misaligned.  If the frames are misaligned, this will affect both the fit of the glasses and the proper function of the lenses.

These tips may require a little advance planning or fine tuning of your habits, but if you can set them into motion, in the long term, they will save you both time and money.

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