News Releases

March 15, 2007

Eyeglasses Deserve Our Respect, Says Emory Eye Center

(ATLANTA) Many people today see clearly because of their eyeglasses — often referred to as “spectacles” in times past. A 2006 report states that 72% of the U.S. population requires some sort of vision correction. But most don’t have a clue as to the proper care for those glasses. Even though more and more style-conscious types turn to glasses for their personal fashion statements, they don’t respect those eyeglasses like they should.

Eyeglasses are precision-ground lenses that need to be cared for in order that one’s vision stays clear, says Emory Eye Center’s Susan Primo, OD, MPH, director of Vision & Optical Services. Scratched and damaged lenses will not provide good vision. Bent frames will not sit on the face correctly, giving less-than-perfect vision. Moreover, today’s eyeglasses are an investment worthy of the best of care.

First and foremost, we should treat our glasses for what they are: an opportunity to see the world clearly with eyes that wouldn’t be able to if unaided. Because of the cost of some higher-end frames and quality lenses, taking good care of glasses is as important as caring for any of one’s dearest personal objects. And having a good pair of glasses first means having a professional handle your prescription.

“It is best to have experienced licensed opticians evaluate a patient’s prescription so that the best and most suitable lenses are given,” says Dr. Primo. “In our business, the old adage, ‘You get what you pay for,’ rings true. In order to get better quality both in frames and lens materials/designs, the costs are higher, but well worth it to get optimal vision, comfort and style.”

Lenses
Because most frames are fairly sturdy today, concentrating on caring for the lenses is highly important. Although many choose to add scratch-resistant coatings to their lenses, this does not in itself make them scratch-proof. Most high-quality lenses do come with a scratch coating already incorporated, says Dr. Primo, as well as an anti-reflective coating for glare control. Never put lenses face down on a surface where they would be scratched.

Many opticians will furnish a micro-fiber cloth when dispensing new eyeglasses. Use that cloth to wipe lenses frequently and keep it in the case so that dust doesn’t settle on it. Paper towels, most fabrics and even bathroom tissue are much too harsh and can damage lenses. If all else fails, you can use a soft, clean t-shirt. Specially-packaged moist lens cloths (disposable) can be used and easily tucked into purses, though they are somewhat costly.

Additionally, plain soap and warm water will also clean lenses, particularly if there is grime on them. Opticians may also provide their customers with eyeglass cleaners, a gentler version of window cleaners that will not harm precious lenses. And flecks of debris, including paint, can typically be flicked off the lenses by careful lifting with a smoothly manicured fingernail. Those who use hair spray should note that spray is a particular problem for lenses. It can leave permanent spots.

Frames
Storing glasses is where many folks fail. Not storing them properly in a hard case (to prevent damage if dropped), putting them too near heat or cold (and that means in your car, too), and not getting frames tightened when they are loose, can all add up to eyeglasses that are not going to last as long as they should.

Those extreme temperatures such as summer heat can bend frames or distort lenses. Take glasses with you instead of leaving them in a car.

If your frames become out of alignment, your optician will be happy to provide adjustments to your eyeglasses or you can purchase small kits at many drugstores that include small screwdrivers.

Eyeglasses today are more important than ever, as more and more of us demand the highest quality of vision for our work and play. Taking care of those glasses just makes good sense. Eyeglasses are an important investment not only for our sight, but also in terms of our bank account. We should treat them as such.

Media Contact: Joy H. Bell, jbell@emory.edu, 404-778-3711

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