Replacement eyeglasses 1.67 Super Thin High-Index Lenses
April 18, 2009 4:36 PM   Subscribe

What happens to my eyeglass lenses overtime?

I buy replacement eyeglass lenses from an online company using my old frames and 1.67 Super Thin High-Index Lenses. After about a year of use the lenses suddenly get splotchy and clouded. I use only a soft cotton cloth (an old t-shirt) to clean them. It's not scratched. I don't get any anti glare or scratch resistant coatings applied when purchasing a new pair. I've used 2 different companies with the same result.
Am I doing something wrong or is one year the life expectancy of 1.67 Super Thin High-Index Lenses?
posted by boby to Technology (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by ian1977 at 5:13 PM on April 18, 2009

Even being very careful and using lens cloths and whatnot, my glasses always gradually develop a million tiny scratches--dunno if it's dust or eyelashes or what. It sounds like something else is going on here, though.
posted by box at 6:01 PM on April 18, 2009

Could heat be the issue? My son totally destroyed a pair of lenses by heat exposure, (possibly leaving them on the dash of the car).
posted by 6:1 at 6:07 PM on April 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Are you sure this company doesn't add some type of coating by default? This sounds like some coating wearing off. I used to always clean my glasses with soft cotton, but the coatings would always wear down. Now, I don't clean my glasses with anything but a microfiber lens cloth and it doesn't kill the coating on even my cheapest pair of online-purchased glasses.
posted by zerokey at 6:59 PM on April 18, 2009

Just FYI, high index glass really needs the anti glare coating to work properly.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:13 PM on April 18, 2009

It's the anti-glare coating.
posted by delmoi at 7:19 PM on April 18, 2009

My mother is currently having the same issue. It's the coating in her case. It's wearing off.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:23 PM on April 18, 2009

You need an anti-scratch coating for anything that is not glass. No one uses glass. You need an anti-scratch coating. Your soft cleaning cloth is probably adding tons of very small scratches that over time equal a cloud. Don't cheap out the next time. Whether you do or do not cheap out, get some good microfiber cloths, the ones for camera lens cleaning seem to work really well. Walgreens has one for eyeglasses, their store brand, which is really superior.
posted by caddis at 8:16 PM on April 18, 2009

Also, you do not need a cloth. Use dish soap, "Madge, you're soaking in it", and but one small drop and then rinse it off under a very slow flow of water, lenses right side up and then upside down, not too hot, but warm, which leaves the surface clean with perhaps a stray droplet which you blot off. This anal attention to flow rates, temperature and flow direction applies really to those with the newest anti-glare coatings which seem almost impossible to keep clean.
posted by caddis at 8:22 PM on April 18, 2009

I've been doing some reading for my new plastic lenses and the general consensus is to clean them with mild soap and water and then gently dry them with lens clothes designed for glasses lenses. Cleaning them dry can rub dirt around and scratch them.

some people recommend dish soap, others cry it will ruin any coatings forever
some people recommend vinegar, other cry it will ruin any coatings forever
some people recommend paper towels, other cry it will ruin any coatings forever

I'd see if I could give the manufacturer a call and see what they recommend for cleaning.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 8:45 PM on April 18, 2009

I've been using dish soap to clean my glasses (1.61 HI polycarbonate with AR and AS coatings) and nothing's been ruined. As to the question, yep, it sounds like the coating is coming off. With polycarbonate lenses, you should definitely, no-question, absolutely no doubt get an anti-scratch coating because the material is so soft.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:20 PM on April 18, 2009

I've used dish soap a lot with no problems. Whenever I clean my glasses I ALWAYS first rinse them off under water, then use a paper towel at the bottom of the frame to blot excess water, then wipe the lenses with a microfiber cleaning pad. There is always small amounts of dirt on your lenses and if you don't rinse that off first, every time you clean you are rubbing it around on the lenses, introducing small scratches and wearing away the coating.

May seem anal retentive, but my lenses last me years, no problem.
posted by sickinthehead at 6:22 AM on April 19, 2009

I have had similar problems with high-index lenses.
When I asked about the coatings I was told that there is a "default" coating that is always placed on the lenses.
The recommendation I received and use (with years of success) is to wash with soap (dish soap is OK) and running water. Use a paper towel or lint-free cloth to blot the water from the lens. Do not rub the paper or cloth on the lens, blot ONLY.
posted by Drasher at 8:03 AM on April 19, 2009

If you rinse your glasses under the tap to clean, make sure you dry them thoroughly. I had an old pair that corroded around the screws and could never get the stains out. Didn't affect the lenses, but it still bothered me.

Costco sells what they call an "Optical Eyeglass Kit" which contains their own Kirkland Signature brand anti-reflective cleaning solution in a squirt bottle, a microfiber cloth, and one of those mini screwdrivers for $5.00 or $10.00 ( I can't remember exactly since I bought mine a long time ago). I've been using this on the same pair of glasses for over five years and they still look practically new; no cloudiness or chipped coating. My husband used to dry clean his glasses with an old t-shirt and they looked like crap in less than a year. Don't use t-shirts, unless you're in a pinch, and never dry clean your glasses.

I heartily recommend the Costco cleaning kit (or a suitable equivalent); Costco will even give you free refills - just bring the bottle back to the Optical Center next time you're there.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 9:01 AM on April 19, 2009

A drop of dish-soap, yes.

But drying, no. It simply shouldn't be necessary if your glasses are really clean. The water should gently cascade off the lenses and no drops should remain. If your glasses are already scratched, however, you'll probably have to blot a little (paper towel is good; cotton is not).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:49 AM on April 19, 2009

Never use paper towel, it has wood fibers and can scratch. Get a hold of an old, all cotton diaper (call your local diaper delivery service for old ones that they sell) and use it. We were told to use 1/4 Isopropyl Alcohol to 3/4 water on our lenses. Rinse to get loose crap off first, apply solution, and rinse off. Dry with old diaper.
posted by 6:1 at 12:04 PM on April 19, 2009

All cotton t-shirt is probably good, though. Call the manufacturer and ask them their advice. Go through customer support. If you don't get anywhere, go above them. Your lenses should be lasting longer than a year.
posted by 6:1 at 12:05 PM on April 19, 2009

There's so much contradictory advice given on cleaning eyeglasses! What about Ultrasonic Jewelry and Eyeglass Cleaners? Anybody have any experience with these devices?
posted by boby at 3:37 PM on April 19, 2009

We asked about ultrasonic cleaning, and were told not to. Can't remember why, though.
posted by 6:1 at 4:48 PM on April 20, 2009

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