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COVID-19 can live on your lenses: Here's how to disinfect eyeglasses without damaging them

COVID-19 can live on your lenses: Here's how to disinfect eyeglasses without damaging them
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The nation is adapting to life during COVID-19 by washing hands regularly and wearing face masks, but according to new research, you could still risk infection if you're not also disinfecting your eyeglasses. Glasses can act as an effective barrier for your eyes when you're out in public, but much like your cellphone, it also can act as a surface that the virus can cling to. 

We recently reported that face masks are causing issues for eyeglass-wearers, causing GlassesUSA, one of the best eyeglasses online providers, to launch an anti-fog lens solution, but the trouble caused by coronavirus for the bespectacled is not over. Research from the Journal of Hospital Infection has found that coronaviruses can 'persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days' if not disinfected. That means your eyeglass lenses and even frames could carry the virus for over a week. 

The CDC has advised people to avoid touching their faces where possible, but it's somewhat inevitable that eyeglass wearers will have to touch their glasses multiple times a day, so it's important that you're cleaning them. And with summer around the corner, this goes for sunglass wearers, too! 

Speaking to Today.com Dr. Barbara Horn, president of the American Optometric Association, said “every time I walk in my home, the first thing I do is wash my hands and then wash my glasses."

How to disinfect your glasses 

According to Today.com, the best way to tackle the novel coronavirus is with soap and water. However, when cleaning your eyeglasses, you'll need to take extra care. Using soap, water, and a microfiber cloth is a  good way to avoid scratching your lenses and potentially damaging the frames. 

Horn suggests cleaning the lenses first, with a soluble soap like dish or liquid hand soap and a cloth. There are also smaller areas which need to be addressed, such as the nose pads and frame, including the ear pieces. 

Number one on Horn's list of what not to do is breathing on lenses to clean them. For obvious reasons, exhaling onto your glasses and potentially spreading your own germs or droplets onto your lenses is a big no. The same goes for using alcohol-based disinfectants if you can avoid it. Alcohol can be harsh and potentially damage sunglasses, lenses and frames, so stick to soap and water. 

When it comes to coronavirus safety, the CDC has advised that we wear simple cloth face coverings where possible. In fact, stores are increasingly demanding that customers wear face masks when entering the building. Check out our face masks 101 feature for everything you need to know, including how to make them and tips for making face masks more effective. We've also shared how to disinfect your phone in this handy roundup