How to Clean Glasses With Anti-Reflective Coating

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How to Clean Glasses with Anti-reflective Coating

Anti-reflective coating, also called "AR coating" and "anti-glare coating," is a special treatment for eyeglasses. As with other anti-glare products, this coating eliminates reflections of light. By eliminating reflections from both sides of the lenses, the coating allows 99.5 percent of available light to pass through the eyeglass lenses to the wearer's eye, thus improving the wearer's vision. Additionally, the lack of reflection improves the look of the eyeglasses by making the lenses almost invisible, ensuring the wearer's facial expressions can be seen in all lighting conditions. This makes anti-glare and anti-reflective eyeglasses preferable to standard spectacles. To maintain the integrity of the coating, as well as its benefits, those with anti-glare eyeglasses should use a special cleaner and be careful when cleaning the lenses in order to avoid scratching or otherwise damaging them.


The Benefits of Anti-reflective Coating

Standard plastic lenses reflect approximately 80 percent of light hitting the lens, while high index lenses reflect around 12 percent. This is a problem in low-light situations, such as when driving at night. As a result, anti-glare coatings are an important addition to eyeglasses, particularly those that use thin, high index lenses. Eyeglasses wearers with anti-reflective lenses have sharper vision and benefit from reduced glare when driving at night or when using computers. Many sunglasses manufacturers apply a coat of antireflective protection to the back of their lenses to reduce the amount of glare from sunlight reflecting off the reverse surfaces.

Many AR coatings are hydrophobic, meaning the surface layer of the coating prevents water spots from forming. This actually makes it easier to clean the lenses. Additionally, many coatings are oleophobic. This means the coating repels oil, and that smudges and fingerprints are less likely to form and easier to clean off if they do form.



Common Mistakes When Caring for Anti-Reflective Glasses

Caring for anti-reflective lenses involves more than giving the glasses a quick wipe with a cloth. Careless treatment may result in damage to the lenses, so it is important to be aware of common mistakes.




Cleaning lenses when they are dry

Results in fine scratches

Rubbing lenses before removing dirt

Results in fine scratches

Cleaning with tissues or paper towels

Results in fine scratches

Using ammonia-based cleaners

Corrodes the anti-reflective coating

Using fabric softener on lens cloths

Softener residue transfers to the lenses during cleaning


The jury is out on alcohol-based cleaners, but generally speaking, sources agree that solutions containing isopropyl alcohol should not be used to clean eyeglasses with anti-reflective coating on a daily basis.
Fine scratches on anti-reflective lenses are particularly problematic. This is because of the way the lens works to eliminate light reflections that otherwise mask lens defects. Fine scratches are thus more visible.


Cleaning Anti-reflective Lenses

Despite the many mistakes that may harm anti-reflective lenses, keeping such lenses clean is not difficult. It simply involves using warm water, hand soap, and a microfiber cloth.

Preparing the Lenses

The most important thing to remember is that anti-reflective lenses must never be dry during the cleaning process. Rubbing dry lenses grinds dirt into the coating, which causes scarring. In very severe situations, this scarring is visible, ruining the look of the lenses and affecting the wearer's vision. Bearing this in mind, the first step in the cleaning process is to wet the lenses. Do this by rinsing the lenses under warm running water. Do not submerge the glasses in a bowl of water, as this increases the risk of accidentally damaging the lenses or the frame, and it is less efficient for removing dirt.

Washing the Lenses

Once the running water has washed away the bulk of the debris, it is possible to clean the lenses with an AR lens cleaner or soap. Do not pat the glasses dry before applying the soap. The eyeglasses should remain damp throughout the cleaning process to avoid an accidental scratch. Hand soap, dish soap, or liquid soap diluted in water is ideal for cleaning the coated spectacles. Gently rub the soapy water on the lenses. Do not use a rough sponge or scouring pad, as this may scratch the anti-reflective coating. As an alternative to soapy water, it is possible to use any lens cleaning fluid that is "AR safe," which should be clearly noted on the bottle.

Rinse the Glasses

After rubbing the lenses, it is essential to wash all the soapy water away. Be sure to use lukewarm water, as extreme temperatures and hot water can damage the lenses. Soap residue left on the lenses may impair vision. The easiest way to make sure the lenses are free of soap is to rinse them with more water, and then gently shake off the excess.

Dry the Glasses

It is important to dry the lenses after cleaning. This prevents water spots. Simply wipe away any water using a lint-free or microfiber cloth. A suitable cloth is often included with the purchase of eyeglasses.


How to Buy Lens Cleaning Products on eBay

Besides warm water and liquid soap or AR cleaner, the only thing you really need to clean anti-reflective lenses is a lint-free cloth. However, you may also wish to purchase some specialty lens cleaning fluid or wipes. One glasses brand, Zeiss, sells individually packaged cleansing wipes that work well with their glasses. When in doubt, always turn to the manufacturer's website to see about specific care instructions for your lenses and/or frames. Then, you can find the cleaning products you need from the reliable sellers on eBay by using the search function that appears on every page. Simply enter a search term, such as "anti-glare lens cleaner," and then use the filters to refine your search. Because searching by keyword pulls up specific results, try "anti glare" and "anti-glare" if the results of your search do not seem sufficient.

Take your time to browse the search results, reading the descriptions carefully to make sure any products you are considering are safe to use on anti-reflective lenses. If there is insufficient information in a description, you can always contact the seller to ask for additional specifications, such as ingredients and intended use. You'll have cleaner glasses in no time.

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