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Can Dirty Glasses Cause Eye Strain?

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A man taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes due to eye strain

If you’ve worn glasses for any length of time, you’ll know how annoying it is to try and look through smudges or dirt on your lenses. It can make it difficult to see but can dirty glasses cause eye strain?

The short answer is yes, it can. With eye strain comes all sorts of uncomfortable side effects like headaches or itchy and burning eyes. In addition to eye strain, there are a couple of other issues you can run into, which we’ll look at below.

It’s worth mentioning that your glasses must remain pretty dirty to cause significant eye strain symptoms. So, if you’re experiencing these uncomfortable symptoms but your glasses aren’t that dirty, it’s a good idea to book an eye examination to ensure nothing else is happening with your eyes.

Proper Cleaning of Dirty Glasses

It’s not only dirt on your glasses that cause eye strain. Damage to the lenses from improper cleaning or excessive debris can also cause eye strain. The best way to prevent scratching your lenses is by following some best practices for cleaning.

Cleaning your glasses isn’t a complicated process and shouldn’t take more than 20–30 seconds once you’ve got it down. But it’s essential to do it correctly to avoid unnecessary damage.

Here are a few basic steps to get you going:

  • Wash your hands: Before touching your lenses, always ensure that your hands are clean to avoid putting more debris on the lenses before cleaning them off.
  • Rinsing glasses: Using plain warm water, rinse loose debris off the lenses.
  • Wash lenses: Use a solution for cleaning eyeglass lenses. After applying the eyeglass cleaner, gently lather it on the lenses with your fingertips for a few seconds.
  • Rinse again: After thoroughly cleaning the glasses, rinse again under running water to ensure all soap is washed away.
  • Dry hands and glasses: First, dry your hands with a clean towel. Then, with a microfibre cloth, dry the frames and lenses of your glasses.

Cleaning Your Glasses While You’re Out

It happens. You’re out and get a smudge on your glasses. You don’t always have the luxury of a microfibre cloth. Many different single-use lens cleaning wipes are available that work great in a pinch. It’s best not to rely on these wipes for everyday cleaning.

Things to Avoid

While cleaning your glasses isn’t complicated, several things should be avoided to prevent damage to the lenses:

  • Kleenex or other tissue papers
  • Napkins, paper towels, or toilet paper
  • Clothing (this includes the “clean” edge of your t-shirt)
  • Windex
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cleaning products with harsh chemicals
A woman cleaning her glasses with a cloth

When Should You Clean Your Glasses?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how often you should clean your glasses. Generally, you should clean your glasses at least once a day. For example, a good clean in the morning before you put them on is a great idea. 

However, if they’re getting dirty more often, you may need to clean them several times a day. Regular cleaning prevents the possibility of eye strain due to dirty glasses, and it also minimizes the risk of scratches from the debris.

Other Problems With Dirty Glasses

Aside from causing eye strain, other potential problems can arise from dirty glasses. For example, how dirty the lenses are can impact your vision and how well you can see. This may not seem like a big deal, but it has the potential to create a safety risk.

As was mentioned above, dirt and other debris on your lenses drastically increase the chances of getting scratches on your glasses. The problem with scratches is that there is no way to fix them. Some people say that rubbing toothpaste on the lenses can fix them. While this may work to help polish a vehicle’s headlight, it won’t work to fix a scratch on glasses.

Proper Cleaning and Storage Solutions in North York

Ensuring you use a suitable cleaner and cloth when cleaning your glasses is a significant first step. Still, it’s also important that you store them properly. As easy as it is to toss your glasses on the table beside your bed, it’s much safer to put them in a suitable case. This is especially important if you don’t wear them all the time but carry them with you.If the damage is done and you’re dealing with scratched glasses that you can’t get clean.

Stop by our office today and look at our great selection of frames and lens options. Our helpful and knowledgeable staff at York Mills Eye Care are happy to answer all your questions and ensure you get the perfect new set of glasses.

Written by Dr. Vagners

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