I’ve got a friend who almost never cleans his glasses; he’ll get rid of the smears and smudges maybe once a month. When asked why, as a nearsighted person who needs glasses to be able to operate at all, he opts not to clean them, he gave an interesting answer. It’s not laziness, he’ll claim; rather, it’s because his eyes adjust to all the smudges, and when he finally cleans his glasses, he has super vision. I think it’s important to note here that changes to subjective experience do NOT, in fact, mean your vision is improved by any measurable metric, and you’re probably better off cleaning your glasses on the regular. Glasses are precision instruments, though, so you need to adopt the right methods for cleaning them.

The first step is creating a somewhat sterile environment; that means washing your hands thoroughly before handling your glasses. After all, your hands are going to pick up dust, grease, grime and all kinds of other glass-smudging substances over the course of your day. Opt to wash with a lotion-free soap; lotions make your hands feel soft, but also kind of oily, and that’s no good for glass. Dry thoroughly, and you can get to work.

The next step is rinsing your glasses under lukewarm water; too hot and you can damage lens coating, too cold and it will be uncomfortable for your hands. Going for room temperature is the best bet. Once the glasses are rinsed off, you have a couple of options for cleaning them. You can use spray on eyeglasses cleaner that you know has been formulated not to damage the coating of the lenses or cause smudges, or you could use lotion-free dish soap. When using soap, use a very small amount to avoid causing damage; a couple of drops on your fingertips will suffice. That’s because dish soap is quite concentrated; some would argue you should dilute every bottle. Gently rub the soap on both sides of the lenses, on the frames, on the nose pads; basically every inch of your glasses.

Once the cleaning portion is done, thoroughly rinse off your glasses in lukewarm water. You want to make sure to get every trace of soap off, lest you end up with soap scum on your glasses; you really don’t want to repeat the cleaning routine again. You can then carefully shake your glasses to remove excess water, then pass over them with a clean, lint-free, soft towel or an eyeglass cloth; make sure the towel isn’t too rough, to avoid scratching the lenses.

And just like that, you can see clearly again! While this might not give you super vision, it does give you consistent vision, which I’ll argue is even more important. If after a thorough cleaning you still can’t see well, it may be time to get new glasses, either because the lenses on yours are too scratched up or because you need a new prescription. Visit your Winnipeg optometrist to find out if you need an adjustment!