Adapting to the new normal – with glasses

Jun 5, 2020

How to keep your glasses and eyes safe in a post-Covid world

While we’re lucky in New Zealand to be relatively safe from the spectre of Covid-19, we still need to keep up the new health and hygiene practices as we transition to a safer way of living and working.

Many of us have become more aware of proper handwashing than ever before, thanks to consistent public campaigns over recent weeks, but this is also an excellent time to remind ourselves of proper glasses and contact lens hygiene to keep our eyes safe.

It’s not just about cleaning, it’s also important to use the right products for your frames, to ensure they retain their quality and durability.

Solutions like acetone or isopropyl alcohol can cause discoloration and deterioration of your frames or lenses and should not be used. To make it easy, we’ve collated some best-practice guidelines to help you keep your glasses, contacts and eyes clean and healthy.

Cleaning your frames and spectacle case

You may be familiar with the nasty reality that your phone hosts more bacteria than a toilet seat. Thanks to infrequent cleaning, putting it down on dirty surfaces, and carrying it with us literally everywhere, our phones end up being a rich platform for bacteria.

Have you ever wondered about your spectacles? You may be guilty of the same practices – frequent handling throughout the day (often with unwashed hands), putting them down on dirty surfaces, and not washing them enough.

Don’t panic though, there’s an easy way to clean your frames and have them germ-free in minutes.

A simple home method for cleaning your glasses is to wash them in soapy water: 

– Add a drop of mild antibacterial soap to warm water.
– Wearing gloves, move your frames underwater for 30 seconds.
– Rinse frames with water to remove soap.
– Remove gloves and wash your hands.
– Dry your frames with a microfibre cleaning cloth, (then wash it before next use).

One possible side-effect of frequent frame washing is that your hinges can lose their lubrication, causing them to stiffen. If this happens, you can simply apply some lubricant oil to them with a q-tip or come into the practice, where we use sewing machine oil to do it for you.

At Greenlane Penrose Optometrist, we use a hydrogen peroxide solution (made according to internationally recognised hygiene standards) to sanitise frames. We do this for all glasses on display, and can do this for your frames when you come in.

If your case needs to be cleaned, you can do this with a single-use antibacterial wipe, or wash it in soapy water and leave to dry. The simplest way to ensure it’s clear of Covid-19 is to leave it in “quarantine” in a box or drawer for a few days.

Caring for your contact lenses

In good news, there is currently no scientific evidence that contact lens wearers are at increased risk of contracting Covid-19 compared with glasses-wearers. However, this doesn’t mean you can get away with taking less care around your hygiene.

The most important way to care for your eyes and contacts is by keeping up good hand washing habits. Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap, and dry thoroughly before touching your contact lenses or eyes.

Contact lens wearers who are sick should temporarily stop wearing contacts, and revert to glasses if possible. This is to avoid any accidental spreading of bacteria or virus particles into your eyes, which can lead to infection.

Basic hand and eye hygiene

There is evidence of SARS-COV 2 virus (the virus that causes Covid-19) entering the body through the surface of the eye, but this should not cause concern if you’re following best practice for hand and eye hygiene.

It is vital to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your eyes throughout the day.

Many of us were never aware before the pandemic that we tend to touch our faces around 23 times per hour, mostly without even knowing we’re doing it. While refraining from touching our face is the best habit to create, it’s difficult when we’re unaware we’re doing it. The next best thing is to ensure our hands are washed and clean, so even if we do reach out we’re not putting ourselves at risk.

With proper practice, we can all keep ourselves and our families safer this winter. Take care, and if you have any concerns about your eyes please come to see us at Greenlane Penrose Optometrist.

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