Can You Get Scratches Out of Glasses?

April 30, 2021

scratches on eyeglasses

Anyone who wears glasses knows the irritation factor of smudged or dusty lenses, let alone scratches!

A small scratch might not be particularly noticeable when you have your glasses on. Larger or multiple scratches can be distracting though, and may even obscure your vision.

Can you get scratches out of your lenses? Unfortunately, the short answer is no. So before you take to your glasses with the hem of your t-shirt or a tissue, there are a few things you need to be aware of!

Glass versus plastic

Originally, lenses were made from glass, which made dealing with small scratches a little bit easier. It’s where the home remedy suggestions like toothpaste or a paste of baking soda and water originate. Small scratches could be effectively buffed smooth again by using either substance.

However, modern lenses are made from highly sophisticated plastics, which are lighter and more durable for everyday wear. There is less risk of them cracking or shattering, so they’re safer for your eyes. The trade-off is that they can be susceptible to scratching – and once they are scratched, there’s not much you can do about it.

What not to do when cleaning your lenses

Plastics attract dust, lint and other particles. These can all cause scratching if you try to rub them off your lenses using the wrong products.

A towel or your t-shirt can leave a deposit of lint on the lenses. Tissues and toilet paper will leave small fibres. If you have fingerprints or other greasy marks on the lenses, and use any of these things to try and polish them, you risk more scratches. The only time you can use a tissue on lenses is when they are wet (although you will need to avoid tissues with added aloe vera – these might be great for a sore nose, but result in smeary lenses!).

Household products like Windex are a no go. Windex is designed to clean glass, not plastic, and the chemicals in it and similar products can strip away scratch-resistant coatings on the lenses, leaving them even more vulnerable.

Preventing scratches on your lenses

The real key to dealing with scratches on your glasses is to try and prevent them happening in the first place. Here’s how:

  • Use a microfibre cloth and specially formulated cleaning spray to clean your lenses, and do that regularly, so you avoid getting a build-up of grease and dust. Microfibre cleaning cloths pick up fine dust and wipe it away rather than wiping it across the lenses and scratching them like your t-shirt or your tie would do!
  • If your glasses are particularly greasy, dirty or covered in fingerprints, you can wash them in warm (not hot) water with mild soap before wiping them dry with the microfibre cloth. That way, any particles are washed away and not rubbed into the lenses, and the soap leaves a fine residue that helps the lenses resist fogging up.
  • Use a hard case for storing your glasses. This will protect the lenses, and the frame as well.
  • If you have multiple pairs of glasses and you’re changing from one to the other, try to not leave them lenses-down when you swap over.
  • Keep an older pair for jobs like gardening, or other activities where they might get covered in grit or dirt.
  • If you use a cord to hang them round your neck, be mindful of zips or buttons on your clothing that could damage the surface of the lenses.

The odd small scratch here and there may well be tolerable. However, significant scratches can be really irritating! If you are noticing scratches on your lenses, it’s probably time to buy a new pair of sunglasses or glasses.

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