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Most of us probably have accepted a new normal where we go out in public wearing a mask. But for those who wear eyeglasses, the concept of having to wear a mask comes with an additional set of challenges. For one, it’s a little difficult to get the masks to sit comfortably on your face with your glasses. Not only that, but there is also the problem of how cloth masks often fog up your glasses. But perhaps the biggest challenge facing people wearing glasses is that your eyewear – just like your cellphones, keys, doorknobs, etc., – are considered “high-touch” objects that need to be regularly disinfected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the virus behind the current COVID-19 pandemic is spread through person-to-person exposure when an infected person coughs or sneezes, releasing respiratory droplets. When these droplets settle onto a surface you can still be exposed and contract COVID-19 if you touch these items or surfaces and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, as the CDC has relayed.

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Additionally, research has revealed that the COVID-19 germs can, in fact, survive on surfaces for a long time – not just hours, but days! As the Journal of Hospital Infection revealed in a study, the virus can survive on a glass surface for four days, or up to 96 hours. As the Cleveland Clinic has further stated, the virus can live longer – around five days – on glass, and up to three days on plastic or stainless steel surfaces.

Given this news, this makes it quite important to take precautions to lessen your risk of infection. Given that eyewear, such as glasses, sunglasses, or blue light-blocking glasses, are all created out of materials that consist of glass, metal, and plastic, experts suggest that it’s best to disinfect your eyeglasses regularly.

Some experts even gave specific tips to do it. Ashley Katsikos, O.D., with the Golden Gate Eye Associates, which is part of the Pacific Vision Eye Institute, cautions that you should begin the disinfection process by cleaning your hands using soap and water for 20 seconds, then do the same with your glasses. You should make sure that the water is lukewarm and you use dish soap. Once they’ve been thoroughly washed, you can rinse them and dry them off using a microfiber cloth. Katsikos further stated that once the eyewear has been disinfected you can use an approved eyeglass lens cleaner on them.

Optician and owner of A Sight for Sport Eyes located in West Linn, Oregon, Shannen Knight, has stated that Clorox or other disinfectant wipes can also be used to wipe down the frames of your glasses, but they should not be used to clean the lenses as the chemicals could break down coatings.

Knight further cautioned that people who wear glasses should be sure to properly adjust their eyewear in order to avoid them sliding down the bridge of your nose – that way you’re less inclined to constantly be touching them. As she explained, the impulse to touch your glasses is from the feel of an improper fit. Therefore, if they fit well you won’t feel like constantly adjusting them.

The CDC might not have specific instructions or rules as to how to clean your eyewear, but it does recommend that everyone wear disposable gloves while disinfecting hard, nonporous surfaces. They also stress the importance of keeping up with washing your hands.

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