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How to Clean Eyeglasses with an Anti-Reflective Coating

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A woman cleaning her eyeglasses using a microfiber cloth.

Getting new, clean eyeglasses after an eye exam can be exciting—until they get dirty. Having dirt, dust, and fingerprints on your lenses can be distracting. Thankfully, you can always clean them!

If your lenses have an anti-reflective coating, you must handle your eyeglasses carefully. You should gently clean your coated lenses with a microfiber cloth, water, and a gentle cleanser or dish soap to avoid damage to the lens.

Some cleaning methods should be avoided to protect your lenses from scratches in the coating. As your eye care team, we’re here to offer advice and directions on caring for your new pair of glasses to keep them looking sharp and pristine.

What Is an Anti-Reflective Coating?

Unlike the name suggests, an anti-reflective coating isn’t actually painted on the lens. Instead, it’s fused to the lens itself in layers to reduce reflection and let more light pass through.

The primary benefits of anti-reflective lenses include:

  • Durability: the lenses are firm, and the coating is designed to be durable as well.
  • Vision support: anti-reflective coatings can help more light pass through your lenses for improved visual support.
  • Reduced glare: anti-reflective coatings can help reduce glare from screens and can also help reduce glare while driving at night.

What Are Anti-Reflective Eyeglasses Good For?

In situations with elevated levels of glare, an anti-reflective coating can reduce eye strain, headaches, and eye irritation. Working on screens can lead to computer vision syndrome—also known as digital eye strain. Anti-reflective lens coatings can help some people manage symptoms caused by digital eye strain.

Glare can also be common while driving at night, particularly among people affected by astigmatism, which can cause halos around streetlights. An anti-reflective coating can reduce the appearance of glares at night to help keep you safe and reduce eye strain. 

A man washing his hands in a sink using soap and running water before cleaning his glasses.

How to Clean Your Glasses

Maintaining the look and effectiveness of your anti-reflective coated lenses requires gentle cleaning so they last. Cleaning your glasses is simple. You only need a microfibre cloth, water, and lotion-free dishwashing soap.

To clean your glasses, follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands to avoid transferring grime to your glasses.
  • Rinse your glasses under lukewarm water, but not hot water. (If it’s too hot, it can damage the anti-reflective coating.)
  • Use a drop of dish soap to rub away dirt, oils, and particles.
  • Rinse the glasses and dry them with a microfibre cloth.

Always rinse your glasses with water at the outset, or use pre-moistened wipes if your optician recommends them. The moisture from water can help prevent damage caused by wiping debris away. If there’s debris caught in the nose pads or hinges of the arms, use a cotton swab to access those smaller areas.

When dirt shows up, it can be highly visible. Frequent, light cleaning can prevent dirt and grime from accumulating before they become visible.

If you’re not wearing your glasses, storing them in your eyeglass case is the best way to keep them clean.

How Not to Clean Your Glasses

A lot of products can cause damage to the lens coating on your eyeglasses that you may otherwise think are harmless, such as:

  • Glass cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Products with ammonia, bleach, or acetone
  • Exhaling on your lenses
  • Paper towels
  • Facial tissues
  • Clothes

When you notice your glasses are dirty, it’s tempting to reach for the closest solution, whether that’s the sleeve of your sweater or the hem of your shirt. However, these materials are heavily abrasive and can create scratches on the lenses.

Because of the nature of the coating, anti-reflective coatings on lenses can’t be repaired if damaged, so damaged lenses with coatings must be replaced to get the full benefit of the coating again.

Consult a Professional with Concerns About Cleaning Your Glasses

Taking proper care of your glasses can help them last longer without degrading their quality. If your lenses have a special coating to make your life easier, ask our optometry team how to best care for them.

Schedule a comprehensive eye exam at The Eye Avenue to get an updated prescription and meet the opticians who can help you get your ideal pair of glasses.

Written by Dr. Regina Tran

Dr. Regina Tran is a board-certified Optometric Physician. She is a member of the American Optometric Association, Florida Optometric Association, and current Vice President Central Society of Optometric Physician. Dr. Tran was born and raised in Florida, where she attended the University of Central Florida and majored in Molecular & Microbiology. She proceeded to earn her Doctor of Optometry degree in 2012, where she met her other half, Dr. John Tran. Together, they returned to her hometown in Orlando upon graduation. Dr. Tran is passionate about bringing the latest technology in eye care to her patients. She enjoys providing one-on-one personalized experience and education to her patients to facilitate optimal visual function and lifestyle.
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