Due to the spread of Covid-19, people across the world are increasingly aware of hygiene and the cleaning of everyday objects.
From disinfecting smartphones and keyboards to using toothpicks to push buttons on elevators, numerous techniques have been used to stem the spread of coronavirus.
However, one object hiding in plain sight that's often ignored are spectacles.
They are often touched and also sometimes cleaned by blowing on the lenses before wiping them with a cloth.
According to Dr Anurag Mathur, specialist ophthalmologist at Aster Jubilee Medical Complex in Bur Dubai, about "80 per cent" of people’s glasses are dirty.
“Despite cleaning them regularly, dirt will deposit, especially on the rim of the frame and the nose pad area," he says. "Sweat is one of the reasons for dirt accumulation.
"The secretion from the oil glands of the eyelids also gets smeared on the glasses if they come in contact with eyelashes. The rest can be credited to not keeping eyeglasses in hygienic places."
Mathur recommends cleaning glasses twice daily – once in the morning before wearing them and once in the evening.
How to properly clean spectacles:
Dr Ammar Safar, medical director at Moorfields Eye Hospitals UAE, says soap and water are best for getting rid of a virus from the surface of your glasses.
“The best way to clean eyeglasses is to use regular hand soap and water, and then use your fingers with soapy water to clean the lens," he says. "Coronavirus is susceptible to routine hand washing for 20 seconds, therefore, using soap and water to clean your glasses for 20 seconds will kill the virus. You can do this on a daily basis.”
If you're not trying to clean a virus off your glasses, using clean water and a lint-free cloth is the best option, according to Cyril Sara Babukutty and Sulu Syed Sajin, optometrists with Aster Jubilee Medical Complex in Bur Dubai.
“[Some] lens cleaners in the market come with a slight amount of alcohol, which can damage the lens coating," they say. "That's why it's always recommended to use manufacturer recommended cleaners from good optical stores."
Mathur says soap and water is the best option to clean glasses if you're worried about a virus, but he emphasises that cleaning lenses must be done with the utmost care so as not to damage the coating. Scrubbing lenses, in particular, is discouraged.
Here are some quick tips on proper maintenance, according to Babukutty:
- Always keep the frame inside the case when you're not wearing them.
- While handling glasses, don't frequently touch lenses with your fingers.
- When you're not wearing your glasses, ensure the lenses don't come into contact with surfaces.
- Opticians provide glasses with lint-free cloths, so use those for cleaning.
- Don't keep glasses inside a car, as this can damage the coating.