Cold weather is a wonderful time for enjoying your favorite hot drink, snuggling up by the fireplace, and enjoying outdoor activities. Winter is also an important time to consider the impact that cold weather can have on your contacts and prescription glasses. Thankfully, WebEyeCare is here to teach you how to store your eyeglasses, the best type of glasses cleaner, what precautions you should take to keep your eyeglasses safe when being active, and how to keep your eyes safe and healthy during the winter.
• Can cold weather damage my prescription glasses?
• How to keep your eyeglasses safe in the winter
• How often should I clean my eyeglasses in the winter?
• How to clean your eyeglasses
• Can I wear my prescription glasses in the snow?
• How to keep your eyes safe during the winter
Can Cold Weather Damage My Prescription Glasses?
Chances are you spent a few out of pocket dollars purchasing your prescription eyeglasses. Even if your insurance covered the entire cost, you have a decent chunk of change invested in your eyewear. Although we recommend visiting the eye doctor every year, there's a chance you may not need an update to your glasses because your prescription may remain the same for several years. If your prescription doesn't change, you could keep the same pair of prescription glasses instead of purchasing a new pair. Or you could purchase a second pair and keep the first as a back-up in case of emergencies. Either way, keeping your eyeglasses safe and in working order is important because it protects your investment. Although accidents happen, there are many ways that you can protect your prescription glasses from harm no matter the weather.
Leaving your eyeglasses in your car during the summer can expose them to extreme heat, which can damage your prescription glasses' lenses and frames. However, did you know that exposing your glasses to extreme cold can have the same effect? It's important to know how the elements can damage your eyeglasses so you can take preventative measures to keep them safe.
Exposing your prescription glasses to extreme weather of any type can damage them in various ways, most notably the structure of the frames and the coating on the lenses. When you expose your eyeglasses to extreme temperatures, the lenses can expand and contract. This slight variance on your lenses can cause the coating to crack. Cracks on your lenses can be tiny or cover the entire lens and can reduce clarity.
If you leave your prescription glasses in your car in hot or cold weather, you can also damage the frames. If your frames are plastic, they are more likely to warp than other materials. You should take special care to reduce any excessive temperatures your eyeglasses experience by keeping them stored in the appropriate case and location. Damaged or warped frames can affect how your eyes align with the lenses in your glasses, causing headaches and preventing you from seeing as clearly as you would with correctly aligned frames. Frames that don't fit correctly are also more likely to slide or fall off, an issue that can be irritating and dangerous, depending on the situation.
How to Keep Your Eyeglasses Safe in the Winter
There are a few things to remember that will help keep your prescription glasses safe, especially during the winter months. Knowing where your glasses are at all times, selecting the proper protective carrying case, and understanding what glasses cleaner is the best for your eyeglasses will help extend your glasses' longevity.
Take your glasses with you whenever possible if you believe that they could be exposed to conditions that may damage them. If you typically wear prescription glasses and plan to be outside where you would need sunglasses, swap out your eyeglasses for your sunglasses, but then bring your eyeglasses in the case with you. Don't set your glasses down in a cupholder, pocket of your jacket or coat, or in a pouch in your backpack or purse. Knowing where your glasses are at all times and ensuring they are in a case that will protect them will keep them safe until you need a new pair. We also recommend always having a back-up carrying case with you whenever you wear your eyeglasses out of the house. Although it may seem silly, it's much more convenient to carry an empty case with you than have to pay out of pocket for new prescription glasses if yours are damaged, broken, or lost.
Many sunglasses and prescription glasses come with soft eyeglasses carrying cases that you can also use as a cleaning cloth. Although these cases are stylish and convenient, they do not keep your glasses safe from being broken or scratched. If your glasses don't come with a hard-shelled carrying case, it's essential to purchase one and use it whenever you take your glasses off. We recommend purchasing at least two — one for home and one for your backpack, purse, or gym bag — that way you always have one at your fingertips if you need to take off your eyeglasses. The best type of carrying case has a hard-shell with a soft lining to protect your glasses inside and out.
Last but not least, you should always have the right cleaning kit with you to keep your glasses safe. In the winter, you'll probably experience your eyeglasses fogging up at least once. Although it may seem tempting to clean your prescription glasses with your shirt or a towel, you could end up doing more damage than you think if you aren't using the proper glasses cleaning tools.
How Often Should I Clean My Eyeglasses in the Winter?
Cold weather often means exposure to wind, ice, and snow. Many cities use salt to help prevent ice from accumulating on roadways during the winter, and this salt can wreak havoc on the cleanliness of your sunglasses and prescription glasses. In addition to building up on the lenses and causing them to appear cloudy, salt residue and moisture can settle into the spaces in your frames, causing rust to develop, jamming the screws that hold the arms to the front of the frames, and even causing the coatings on the frames and lenses to peel away.
In addition to carrying a hard-shelled case, we recommend keeping a glasses cleaning cloth with you to wipe your lenses and frames when necessary. Each week, and more often during the winter, if necessary, take extra time to do a deep clean on your eyeglasses to keep them looking and feeling their best for as long as you need them.
How to Clean Your Eyeglasses
If your idea of an eyeglasses cleaner is the hem of your shirt or tissue, you could be reducing the lifespan of your prescription glasses with every wipe. A proper cleaning routine is essential for your glasses year-round, but keeping your eyeglasses safe and clean during the winter takes a bit more effort than other times of the year.
If you spend a lot of time outside during the winter, it's essential to use a glasses cleaner more often to avoid the buildup of moisture and other substances on your lenses and frames. For someone who is only outside every so often, cleaning your glasses once a week, or more frequently if you notice they're dirty, will keep them looking as good as new.
Here are a few important things to avoid when cleaning your eyeglasses:
• Only use a cleaning cloth that is made for cleaning eyeglasses. Although it may seem more convenient to use your shirt, a tissue, or paper towels to clean your prescription eyeglasses, these materials are too harsh for your lenses and can scratch them. Try a microfiber eyeglass cleaning cloth to keep your prescription glasses clean on the go.
• Don't use your saliva to clean your lenses. Many companies offer cleaning solutions specifically for use on eyeglasses to use with a microfiber cleaning cloth to clean your lenses and frames.
• Don't use a cleaner on your lenses that isn't made for eyeglasses. Household cleaners have chemicals that will clean your bathtub but aren't made to clean your eyeglasses. If a cleaner isn't made for prescription glasses or sunglasses, don't use it as a glasses cleaner. Instead, choose sprays and lens wipes made with isopropyl alcohol. This type of cleaning solution is strong enough to tackle the task of removing smudges and smears from your lenses but gentle enough to protect the lens coatings and frames.
• Don't use toothpaste, soap, or shaving cream on your lenses. Many people have found items that may reduce the fog on your lenses during the winter or while wearing a face mask. Although these may seem convenient and cost-effective, you'll only end up doing more harm than good, which will cost you more money in the long run. Invest in a spray that prevents fog and keep your lenses clean and moisture-free.
• Don't leave your eyeglasses on your bathroom counter when doing your hair and make-up. Hairspray and other beauty products can leave a residue on your lenses and cause permanent damage.
It's essential to give your prescription glasses a thorough cleaning each week to keep them free of buildup and other materials that may harm your lenses and frames. Here is a step-by-step glasses cleaning guide to keep your glasses looking and working like new:
• Put your eyeglasses in a clean sink and turn on the warm water, using light water pressure. Ensure your water isn't too warm, or it could damage the lens coatings and cause plastic frames to become bendable.
• Rinse your glasses with warm water, taking care to turn them over gently.
• Place one drop of mild dish soap on the tip of your finger. Avoid using soaps with moisturizers, as these can damage your eyeglasses.
• Rub your fingers together to create a lather. Then gently rub the soap onto the lenses, along the top and bottom of the frames, the nose pads, and the lenses' edges. Take special note of any small spaces that can trap dust, oils, and debris. Do not use a toothbrush or other instrument that isn't made for cleaning glasses, as it can damage your lenses and frames.
• Place your eyeglasses on a clean towel and wash your hands to remove any soap. Having clean hands will prevent you from transferring any oils from your skin to your clean glasses.
• Once your hands are clean, rinse your eyeglasses under warm water, turning them over to ensure all visible soap residue is gone. Again, make sure to avoid hot water that can damage your lenses and frames.
• Once you've washed away all of the soap, shake your glasses gently to remove any excess water. Use a microfiber cleaning cloth to dry any remaining moisture from your frames and lenses. This cloth also removes any smudges that were left on your lenses.
Can I Wear My Prescription Glasses in the Snow?
If you enjoy spending time outside, winter is a great time to enjoy activities such as sledding, skiing or snowboarding, and ice skating. Don't forget to make a plan to keep your prescription glasses safe any time that you're planning on participating in outdoor activities.
Many types of prescription glasses are made to wear in all types of weather. However, traditional glasses don't protect your eyes from the danger they may experience while taking part in winter weather activities. If you're planning on spending a lot of time in the snow and ice during the winter, consider your activities when deciding on the best type of eyeglasses for your needs.
If you will be skiing, snowboarding, or engaging in other more dangerous winter sports, investing in professional goggles with your eyeglasses prescription is a smart move. Goggles will keep your eyes safe, while the prescription allows you to see clearly. Choosing goggles over traditional glasses for extreme sports also keeps your eyes safe if your glasses were to break.
For more relaxing winter activities such as holiday shopping, taking a walk, or going about your daily life, there are still tips you can take into consideration to keep your eyes happy and your eyeglasses safe:
• Invest in a set of eyeglass holders to keep your prescription glasses close at hand without having to store them in your pocket or bag. Eyeglass holders are available from a wide variety of companies and are typically made with chains or cords. Each end includes a rubber piece that you attach to the arms of your glasses, allowing you to remove your eyeglasses and place them around your neck when you're not wearing them.
• Bundle up against the cold if you plan on staying outside for long periods. Your eyeglasses are delicate and need protection, just like your skin. If you know you'll be out and about during a particularly cold and windy day, take care to keep them safe from the elements or choose to wear contacts if you have a prescription for them.
• Purchase a spray or wipes to prevent your lenses from fogging up. Some companies offer a lens coating that helps repel water, decreasing the amount of fog and moisture that accumulates on your eyeglasses. Other companies make wipes and sprays that create a protective coating on your lenses, preventing condensation from building up and distorting your vision.
How to Keep Your Eyes Safe During the Winter
Staying knowledgeable and practicing winter eye safety is just as important as taking care of your eyeglasses. If you haven't already, purchasing a pair of prescription sunglasses is a great way to add a further layer of protection to your eyes throughout the year. Although most people tend to reach for their sunglasses more during the summer, winter weather can actually be more harmful to your eyes than during the summer.
Our eyes experience up to 85 percent more reflective UV radiation during the winter due to the ice and snow. For people who enjoy skiing, snowboarding, or other mountain activities, UV radiation exposure increases exponentially the higher you go in elevation. Exposure to harsh weather conditions, wind, and UV rays also cause more problems with dry eyes. Sometimes, too much exposure to winter weather can cause snow blindness, a temporary condition that can result in intense pain.
Investing in good quality prescription sunglasses is a great way to protect yourself from harmful UVA, B, and C rays, as well as keep the skin surrounding your eyes safe from sun damage. Sunglasses should be large enough to cover your eyelids to protect your eyes thoroughly. If you're participating in winter sports, investing in goggles or sports sunglasses that are lightweight, impact-resistant, and offer coverage for peripheral vision is a great place to start.
We also recommend keeping a bottle of hydrating eye drops on hand to help alleviate dry eye symptoms during the winter. Increasing the heat in our homes, offices, and stores we visit, as well as wind and cold temperatures, can make dry eye symptoms worse. Keeping your eyes hydrated will prevent the dry, painful, and gritty feelings that come with dry eyes.