Did you know dirty eyeglasses can make you sick? Consider the all too familiar case of Molly who had an annual check-up with her doctor. In the waiting room, Molly was handed a pen and a clipboard and asked to sign in. She then put on her reading glasses. Guess what happened next?
Though perfectly healthy before entering the waiting room of the Doctor’s office, 24 hours after handling a germ-covered pen and clipboard, putting on and taking off her reading glasses, Molly had come down with a case of the flu and an eye infection called conjunctivitis, aka Pink Eye. Though Molly’s story may seem surprising and perhaps even ironic – getting sick at the Doctor’s office – it is hardly surprising to those in the medical profession. After all, most people that go to the doctor’s office are sick and they touch many common objects such as door knobs, pens, clipboards, arm chairs, magazines, brochures, and other such things.
Germs and Bacteria Get on Your Eye Glasses
Germs and bacteria are found everywhere. It is incredibly easy to pick up germs on your hands, especially in public places. Anything people touch a lot has germs on it. For example, push carts and basket handles at grocery stores are perfect transfer surfaces for germs and bacteria. They have been handled by everyone at the store, left outside, sneezed at and coughed on, and more likely than not, most people would not have had washed their hands immediately prior to handling them. The door handles of the bathrooms at gas stations, the collection plate and hymnals at the church, and the salt and pepper shakers at restaurants are more instances of places where you may pick up potentially harmfully germs and bacteria. Most of us would probably not pay much attention to this but when you touch these germ-filled surfaces and then put on your sunglasses or reading glasses, you transfer germs and bacteria to your glasses, and this in turn can cause many eye infections.
Types of Infections That You Can get
There are many eye infections that your dirty eye glasses can give you. Bear in mind, the dirt we are referring is not dust and debris which you are likely to notice, but rather the germs and bacteria which can find their way to and remain on your glasses without you even knowing. These infections include:
- Conjunctivitis: This eye infection is a bacterial infection that often requires medication or antibiotic eye drops to clear. Symptoms include a scratchy, burning feeling in the eyes, excessive tearing and discharge of fluids, swelling of the eyelids, and redness of the eye, hence the name Pink Eye. This infection can cause blurred vision and even lead to blindness. Take this infection seriously.
- Keratitis: This eye infection is also a bacterial infection and almost always requires medication or antibiotic eye drops to clear. Symptoms include eye irritation, swollen eye lids, pus and discharge of fluids, and impaired vision. Seeing an eye doctor is essential when you have Keratitis.
- Blepharitis: This eye infection is a bacterial infection which requires a topical antibiotic ointment. Symptoms include vision impairment and sensitivity to light. Left untreated, this infection can lead to conjunctivitis, keratitis, and corneal ulcers.
- Corneal Ulcers: These are serious eye sores that must be treated immediately, typically with strong antibiotics and steroids. Symptoms include pain, sensitivity, impaired vision, and spotting of the cornea. A corneal ulcer is a serious problem that can cause blindness.
Tips for Cleaning Your Eyeglasses
There is no debate that you need to regularly clean your eyeglasses. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind:
- Clean your entire glasses, not just your lenses.
- Use warm water, not hot as that can damage the coating of the lens and distort frames if they are made of plastic.
- Use a soap, an eye glass cleansing product, or homemade cleanser to clean and disinfect your entire glasses, not just the lenses.
- Rinse and gently dry with a clean, premium microfiber lens cleaning cloth.
- Pay special attention to thoroughly clean the arms and nose bridge of your glasses. This is where oil and grease rapidly build up creating a home for germs and bacteria.
- Keep a lot of premium microfiber lens cleaning cloths handy such as in your car, on your desk, in all of your sports bags (golf, tennis, fitness center, etc), in your briefcase, in the glove compartment of your car, your motorcycle, your boat, next to your La-Z-Boy chair, and on your bedside night stand so you can continually wipe your glasses clean.
Even if you have perfect eyesight, chances are that you wear some kind of glasses such as sunglasses, special purpose outdoor glasses for sports, hunting, fishing, work safety glasses and goggles, and on and on. So remember, dirty eyeglasses can make you sick. Don’t let that happen!