The visually impaired leading the visually impaired
September 7, 2016 1:38 PM   Subscribe

What tricks and hacks do you know that have made you life with glasses better?

A couple of weeks ago I got my first pair of glasses, reading glasses for astigmatism.*

Neither the optician or the clerk gave me any indications or advice, they just game me the glasses and sent me on my way. I'm having a hard time keeping them clean with the fluid they gave me and of which they expect me to buy more. Instead of just googling "DIY glass cleaning fluid" (which I will) I thought I'd ask for more general advice, beyond that one issue, anything you have learned over the years of wearing glasses that wasn't obvious at first but that has made some aspect of wearing them better, more comfortable or easier.

*I'm aware astigmatism affects vision at all distances, but the optician claimed if I rested my eyes by wearing these glasses when reading, my long distance vision was likely to improve. I'll give it a while.
posted by Promethea to Health & Fitness (34 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've worn glasses for 20 years. I buy them online at about once a year, usually about $30 each.

I wear my glasses in the shower to clean them. I dry them off with a regular towel when I get out. I've done this for a long time.

I recently heard about people using eyeshadow primer on their nose pieces to keep them from sliding down, but this is not a problem I have, so I haven't tried it.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 1:44 PM on September 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

I just soak mine in warm water a couple of times a week, and daily I wet the lenses and dry them with a cloth (not paper!).

Keeping up with one's glasses can be a challenge. A cow-orker uses these ReadeREST magnet thingies:

I like having a hard case so I can toss my glasses in my bag or backpack and not worry about bending them.

Having a second pair is handy.
posted by at at 1:47 PM on September 7, 2016

I also buy my glasses from Zenni, and this time I went for the super-deluxe oleophobic coating. The stuff works; I've never had glasses so easy to clean before. A quick wipe with a Kleenex gets rid of almost everything.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:48 PM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Always set them down on the rims, not with the lenses down or they'll get scratches. Seems obvious now but when I first got mine it didn't occur to me. I just use soap and water to clean them and a cotton towel to dry. Clean the frames too.
posted by BoscosMom at 1:51 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

- When you're taking a nap, don't set your glasses down next to you. You can crush them that way.

- You can get frames at thrift shops. You can get prescription polarized lenses.

-If the nose pads turn green or otherwise get gross, take them into the shop. They'll replace them, usually for free.

- You'll get used to the scratches.
posted by aniola at 1:54 PM on September 7, 2016

You don't need special fluid. I use a (cheap, dollar store) microfiber cloth for normal cleaning and wipes for special cleaning. Lens cleaning wipes come individually wrapped and can be used on your phone and camera lenses as well. Target Optical has like 20 for $10, but I have seen some cheaper packages at Wal-Mart near the registers.

I have a specific place I keep my glasses at night on my dresser. I also have a specific place in my purse if I need to put them away for a long time.
posted by soelo at 1:56 PM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Mine all get wiped down with my T-shirt when they get too dirty (but for reading in the house, how dirty can they possibly get?). Cotton T-shirts work; synthetics don't. Haven't gotten any scratches from doing this. Only got scratches from dropping them.

Have a specific spot where they live and teach yourself to be scrupulous about putting them back there.

Seconding hard cases for putting them in any kind of purse or bag.
posted by bluesky78987 at 1:56 PM on September 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

I clean mine with the wet-wipes you can buy (as a box of sachets) in pretty much any pharmacy. I keep one of the sachets in my glasses case, along with a cleaning cloth (which will generally come with the glasses) so that if my glasses get really smeared I can clean them.

Cleaning cloths get greasy after a while, so wash them now and again (i.e. when they leave your glasses smearier than before!)

According to my optician a common mistake people new to glasses make is to push them too far up the nose so they're too close to the eye. This means they get dirty quickly on the inside from your eyelashes when you blink. Glasses should sit slightly down the bridge of the nose.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:59 PM on September 7, 2016

I use my face soap (this brand). It cleanses very well, without leaving any residue. I dry them with an old Lands End cotton shirt.

My glasses are from a brick & mortar optometrist, with the baked-in Crizal coating. I occasionally have to wipe the lenses with a shirt that's not 100 percent cotton, and have had zero issues with scratches, or anything flaking off.
posted by invisible ink at 2:01 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wash my glasses with a tiny bit of soap (I use dr. bronner's) and warm water every night when I'm brushing my teeth, I rinse them and let them dry on a microfibre cloth in my bathroom, in the morning I use the spray cleaner they gave me to remove the water marks and then they stay pretty good all day if I don't touch them very often.

I have oily skin and wear makeup and I find it's the only way to have really clean glasses each day, smudges on the lenses drive me crazy. I like the eyeglass clothes with little rubber nubbies on them, I find that helps to clean stuff off a lot better than the plain ones.
posted by lafemma at 2:18 PM on September 7, 2016

When I got my first pair of glasses I was told never to clean them with any kind of paper, not even the special wet wipes for lenses. Soft fabric only; microfiber is great, a clean T-shirt is fine too. I don't use fluid of any kind except for (rarely) water and a drop of liquid soap.

My glasses are always in one of three possible spots: on the bedside table, on my keyboard or on my nose. I never need to run around looking for them.

If your glasses are in any way uncomfortable, go back to the store and have them adjusted. It's part of the service.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:18 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

TIL people take way better care of their glasses than I do.

Buying the special fluid isn't really necessary. Use a microfiber cloth -- a lot of places will give you one when you buy glasses. If you wipe with the cloth and it's not clean enough after, use a little bit of water. I will admit I often use spit + my t-shirt, and these glasses I've been wearing for 2-3 years have only a very few very tiny scratches on them.

The best recommendation I have is to get a whole bunch of the microfiber cloths and keep them everywhere. I have one in my purse, one in my desk at work, one in my desk at home, etc. It means there's always one in easy reach so I'm not using my shirt all the time. They get cleaner that way.
posted by possibilityleft at 2:34 PM on September 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

One big thing is that the optometrist will do a bunch of things for free as part of ongoing glasses maintenance. If a screw comes out or you sit on them and bend them out of shape or they leave painful marks on your nose, go in. They will fix them if they're fixable. I've never gotten charged for this.

Little things: Hard sided case for glasses you might keep in a bag. Microfiber cloth if streaks bother you. I wash my glasses with soap and occasionally use a folded tissue to get in and around the nose pieces. A tiny eyeglass repair kit in your medicine cabinet will guarantee you never need it.
posted by tchemgrrl at 2:34 PM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Use both hands when putting on and taking off.
posted by fixedgear at 2:39 PM on September 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

With you not wearing them all day, this is probably overkill, but I really like my ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning my glasses (pretty sure this was a MeFi recommendation!). It also cleans other things.
posted by freezer cake at 2:39 PM on September 7, 2016

you don't need special fluid or special cloths to clean them. i just wipe mine off with the damp towel i've just used after my shower.

don't push them up on top of your head when you're not using them, though, as this will stretch out the arms and make them droop down your nose when you're wearing them.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:47 PM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

You don't necessarily need to use two hands to take off your glasses, but if using one hand, you should securely grip the frame around one of the lenses and pull straight off, as opposed to the dramatic "yank off by one ear bow" Hollywood dismount. The point is to not yank the frames out of shape, or stress the joints.

I bought a 12-pack of microfiber cloths (the fluffy car-polish kind that look like hand towels, not the thin wipes) at Target or Costco and stash them everywhere. One in my work backpack, one at my work desk, one in my bedroom, one in the living room, the rest under the sink. They're cheap, machine-washable, and good for every kind of lens and screen. Use them to clean fingerprints off your tablet and phone, and to dust your TV and computer monitor--to dust anything, for that matter. You can even stuff one on a Swiffer and use it to sweep your floor. Just don't use fabric softener when you throw them in the dryer, and they'll be good for ages.

The liquid lens cleaner is also good for screens of all kinds. I poo-poohed my free lens cleaner until I happened to try it on my grody iPad screen.

I'm super-duper near-sighted and have been wearing glasses since I was 9 (and haven't been able to see clearly past the end of my nose since, I dunno, 9th grade) so I've managed to develop decent echolocation and visualization skills. If you can't see shit with your glasses off, it's pretty handy for finding whatever fell off the table in the dark, without having to turn on a light and snoop around with your face two inches off the floor.
posted by Autumnheart at 2:56 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I literally just got glasses a month ago. For various reasons it's going to take me a while to adjust to them so I'm not fully there but it's much much better. So here's some tips from a fresh glasses wearer and from my dad who has worn them for like 30 years.

- I wash mine with a drop of liquid dish soap and warm water usually in the morning. Dry with a microfiber cloth. Be sure to wash the nose pad areas and anywhere they touch your face because your oils build up there.
- I have microfiber cloths stashed everywhere. I use the thin ones not the fluffy ones though I might switch.
- Hand wash and hang dry your microfiber cloths regularly. Otherwise they'll be all gummed up with oils and lint. Handwash and hang dry because fabric softener impedes their absorption.
-Careful to not touch the lenses. I was bad about this when first wearing them because you're like adjusting them and etc.
- I gently wipe off dust and oils in a buffing motion with a microfiber cloth when they get a little dirty. Though it's best for the lenses to use soap and water.
-Rest them on the frame or the arms with the lenses up. Or hang them. I've got a pegboard for mine and my dad just hangs his on a picture wire. I've got handy command hooks by my bathroom mirror so they don't end up on the counter and then knocked onto the floor.
-A month in I'm more used to little specs of dust and hardly notice them. I've even gone without noticing smudges. At first though any little spec of microscopic anything was super noticable to me. Now it's not.
-I'm not sure how I feel about the alcohol wet wipes and I've heard that they're both okay for anti reflective lenses AND that you shouldn't use them. I just found them to be streaky and would smude oils instead of get rid of them.
-Make sure the glasses are adjusted properly so you don't have to keep touching them to move them up your face or anything.
- I also have an astigmatism and crap vision in one eye specifically. I've read and experienced that it can take longer to adjust to glasses with astigmatism because of the way it corrects your vision.
-I also love Zenni. Also Bon Look (just bought a pair to be delivered next week) and Coastal.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:30 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

If your frames get crooked, or if you loose a screw, take it to the nearest optician. They will repair it even if you didn't buy your glasses there, usually for free.
posted by xmts at 3:31 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Glasses-wearer for (does math) 39 years now. Some thoughts, based on experience:

For cleaning, I use warm running water with just a drop of mild dish detergent, then dry with a microfiber lens cloth. I buy them by the 10-pack, preferably in bright colors so they're easier to find, and rotate a new one into my sunglasses case once a week or so.

I always get the scratch-protective coating.

Never set them down anywhere but in their case. As the tech who fitted my last pair of glasses said, "They live on your face or in their case! Nowhere else!"

Polarization often doesn't play nicely with device screens. If you can test a set of lenses's polarization with the devices you use before deciding, do so.

Having more than one pair, in different colors and designs, is nice. It lets you adjust your glasses to your outfit.
posted by Lexica at 4:21 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wash your glasses more often than you think, and use soap that will cut the oils that inevitably get on the lenses and frames from skin and hair! You might not notice the smears and grease, but they are accumulating.

Also, my parents both clean their glasses by fogging their breath on them, which makes the glasses and their cases smell subtly like spit, so that's a thing.

Finally, if you play sports but don't have sport glasses, you can temporarily tighten normal glasses by winding balls of textured adhesive tape (like hockey tape or fabric band-aids) around the ends of the earpieces. This makes the ear piece ends bulky so they grip behind your ears better and are less likely to slip off when you sweat. Rubbing alcohol or olive oil will get the tape goop off afterwards (those solvents MAY discolour some plastics, so test them first!)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:47 PM on September 7, 2016

An alternative to going to an optician if the screws get loose is to buy an eyeglass repair kit. They're pretty easy to find, most stores seem to stock them. I find that the screws start to get loose after a few months but if you tighten them yourself it won't get to the point where the screw falls out (and inevitably gets lost). Also the kits come with extra screws just in case you do lose one.

Also nthing getting a hard case and try not to fall asleep with them on. Probably won't be much of an issue for you but it's a good way to get wire frames all bent out of shape, even if it happens just once.
posted by kassila at 5:25 PM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh also - remember that you're wearing glasses and don't go to rub your eye when it itches and smash your finger into the lens and you're left with a still itchy eye needing to wipe your glasses and feeling like an idiot.

Anyone else? Just me, glasses noob?
posted by Crystalinne at 6:08 PM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I am nearsighted and have a moderate astogmatism. I wore glasses for a couple of decades, and was super fussy about them being clean and scratch-free. I eventually found that the easiest and most effective thing to do was to find a frame that I liked on Zenni, and just order it again every three months or so. They were cheap enough that I didn't have to worry about the expense, unlike with frames from the optometrist's office that cost hundreds of dollars. Then I didn't worry about them too much; I'd clean them with the hem of my shirt when they got smeary, wash them with soapy water when the wiping stopped working, and replace them when they started to get scratchy or bent.

In the end though, I got contacts. Life-changing. No scratches, no sliding down, no pinching the bridge of my nose, no pain behind my ears, no frames obstructing my vision, no restricted field of view, no smears, no constantly worrying if they'll get lost or broken, none of that. Just clear, sharp vision all the time. They were a bit uncomfortable for the first week or so, but I'm about two months in now and even at the end of the day they're so comfortable that I have to be careful to remember to take them out.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:29 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

You've gotten a lot of good advice here. As someone who has worn glasses since 4th grade (which was in 1977-78), I'll just add a couple things:

Don't use paper towels, tissues, or other paper products to clean your glasses, unless it's a matter of safety (e.g. your glasses are crudded up but you need to clean them to drive safely). Those kinds of products often have wood fibers that can scratch the lenses.

Clean them under warm water with a dish detergent that doesn't have softening agents, lotions, etc. that can leave smears. I like Ajax dish detergent. Rinse, shake the water off, then use a microfiber cloth to finish. Wash the microfiber clothe regularly, because after a certain point, it will smear oils around instead of removing them.

I'm seriously handicapped without my glasses, and though I have a couple old single-vision pairs as emergency replacements, I have only one pair with my current progressive prescription. That means that I always know where they are: on my face when I'm awake (except in the shower, when they're on the vanity), and next to my bed when I'm asleep. However, my wife, who wears gas-permeable contacts, now also needs reading glasses. She has 3-5 pairs at any given moment, so she doesn't always keep track of them. Hence, there are times when she can't turn up a pair when she needs them. I infer from this that if you need your glasses only for reading, you should get in the habit of leaving them somewhere predictable.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:31 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you end up needing glasses in a more full-time capacity, it's good to know about anti-fog cleaner -- essential for cold weather sports like skiing and generally helpful when you are constantly going from hot to cool temperatures.

Relatedly, Croakies are essential for anything active, and you can also get things like prescription goggles for swimming/other sports.
posted by veery at 8:24 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I got glasses for the first time in the last few years are these are the tips I have for you:

- the nice light frames that you think might make good starter glasses fall off easily and actually suck, the second chunkier ones with better ear support thingies and pokey-looking nose bits worked much better and don't slide off my ears or down my nose. Even after going back 3 times for adjustments the nice light ones never worked for me.
- there seem to be 2 types of lenses, the plastic which is cheaper and really easy to clean with a thick fluffy cloth and the more expensive glass which you have to clean all the damn time with special cloths and sprays and stuff and its a pain. I think the glass is better for eyes though, but not sure.
- the cool-sounding sunglasses that adapt to light never get dark enough to be good for driving in bright sunlight.
posted by meepmeow at 1:08 AM on September 8, 2016

I get my specs from and never had a problem. But since a few of you mentioned Zenni, I'll have to take a look.

I've worn glasses since forever and keeping them clean was always a problem. One day I discovered that the stuff you use to clean computer/TV screens and a micro fiber cloth does a super job. Nothing else has ever worked so well.
posted by james33 at 5:03 AM on September 8, 2016

I just use the bottom of my shirt to wipe them...

I like to actually sleep with glasses on (because I am lost without them - need glasses to find my glasses, dislike feeling disoriented when I wake in the a.m. or the middle of the night). When I was a kid, I'd just abuse my glasses in that way; now I wear an old crappy pair to bed and save the nice pair for going out in public.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:20 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh and for future pairs - I only go to brick and mortar opticians to fill prescriptions, because I have a slightly larger than average PD, and sort of unusual facial proportions for most glasses in North America (i.e. high and shallow nose bridge, round face, kind of a "baby" face :/ *), and a high prescription, so it's useful to get feedback from a skilled optician on appropriate frame choices. (E.g. metal alone will leave huge flared edges, unless the frame is "doubled up"; some frames might look nice on, but aren't optimal PD-wise, etc.) I only ever go to small, independent opticians, because they'll usually cut you a deal. (Just paid 70 bucks less than the quote I got from LensCrafters (ie 20% off the frame and no stupid markup on the lenses), even given LC's quote included their "50% off lenses" pricing.)

*For people with this kind of facial configuration, "asian fit" glasses can work well (whatever your ethnicity).

You can get eyeglass repair kits to tighten screws yourself if you do mistreat your specs, though yeah, any optician will make adjustments on the fly for free. They are awesome that way.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:35 AM on September 8, 2016

Buy a new pair whenever you feel like it and have spare cash, because it's tonnes of fun; it's like getting a new head.

A $450 pair of Lafonts with a badly-made arm, shit response from Lafont, and the expectation that I would PAY for a replacement arm made me completely give up on pricy frames. Warby Parker and below are just fine.
posted by kmennie at 8:17 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

in high school and college i always bought my frames from zenni, and then warby parker once that became a thing, but i never had a pair of frames that were comfortable and really fit me properly until i invested in some oliver peoples. i have a really small face though so maybe i'm just hard to fit? in any case, i think investing in one pair of really awesome high-quality frames and then maybe having some cheapos on hand is a great idea. nose pads drive me batty so i always get frames without them. also i totally just clean my glasses with my shirt, or with a microfiber cloth if i'm feeling fancy. and having an eyeglass screwdriver/repair kit on hand is essential!!
posted by burgerrr at 9:45 AM on September 8, 2016

My son recently broke his frames (but not the lenses) in his glasses. At first, he claimed they fell off his dresser whiel he was sleeping (?) but later admitted it was due to doing some sweet jump kicks at recess.

ANYWAY, I ordered duplicate frames online (for like, $10) and thankfully my local Target would install his old lenses into them for free. Beats having to order a whole new prescription pair. So, depending on your price range for frames, it might be good to have a duplicate pair on hand.

Side eye-related tip: if you have a tendency to rub your eyes, make sure you rub them with that eye with the same hand (so, right eye means using your right hand). Get into the habit and you'll prevent yourself from cross-contaminating with pink eye, etc.
posted by Twicketface at 12:50 PM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is kind of a weirdly high-level kind of suggestion but I came back because I remembered that my favorite way to get glasses is to use my FSA. If you have access to one and don't use the max benefits already, it's super convenient. For less than $20 per pay period, which I really don't notice, I can have $500 in the FSA, and therefore brand new glasses every year from a brick-and-mortar store. I highly recommend this if you decide that brick-and-mortar is the way you want to go. It can be used for stuff that your insurance doesn't cover or only partially covers, like transitional lenses or more expensive frames.
posted by possibilityleft at 1:46 PM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

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