Flying Blind

Updated: Apr 1


Would you send a pilot out in their plane with a blindfold on? Of course not. You would also not send a VFR (visual flight rule) only rated pilot out in extremely foggy conditions. Yet my glasses expect to hop on my face every morning for an eight hour shift without the ability to even see as far as my computer screen! My caretaker has almost completely given up on these glasses. In fact, she calls them the “pain in the butt glasses.” My wife claims the problem is the anti-reflective coating that I don’t remember the optometrist putting on. Either way, most days it is like taking off into the London fog – not that I ever mention this to my wife!

I have never been one to complain about something without offering ideas to remedy the situation. It was with that spirit in mind that I went online to research the problem. The results were perplexing. The very first suggestion was a website that offered a green, clean and cheap way to enjoy spot free dishes. Another promised information on how to get rid of hard water stains on dishes. Yet another promised to tell you how to clean your dull, cloudy drinking glasses with vinegar. I squinted at my computer in amazement, as I had not asked about those things. I then asked my wife to rub the lenses of my glasses a little bit so I could better see Google’s suggestions. Scrolling down, the next suggestion was how to wash and dry wine glasses without having water spots. I was almost ready for a glass of wine at that point!

Obviously not satisfied, I ran a new Google search, and this was more successful. The very first search talked about what not to do. Perfect I thought. My wife and caregiver will be thankful when I point out these handy tips! The article started off by telling the reader that it should not be nerve-racking or time-consuming to clean eyeglasses, but that many of us don’t know what the best way to do that is. Right on, I thought. While easy enough to reach for a tissue or pull up a T-shirt to clean your glasses, the article said, you may want to try something different. Exactly, I thought, my mind fresh with the vision of my caregiver rubbing the glasses with her shirt after being dissatisfied with how the cleaning was going. The article then moved on under the caption "Positive Tips for Better Vision." I paraphrase these tips here as a public service announcement for those charged with cleaning eyeglasses, wherever you may be.

1. If your lenses have an anti-reflective coating, make sure the eyeglass cleaner you choose is approved for use on these lenses.


2. You can moisten the glass lenses with a spray bottle, or spray the cleaning solution on your dry cloth. A wet cloth will just cause mess and frustration, but a damp one will cause smiles and jubilation. If it is too wet, you will have streaking. Streaking = bad; Smiles and jubilation = good!


3. You can also rinse lenses with warm (but not hot) water, then rub a little dish soap (but not citric based dish soap) on the lenses. Rinse with warm water and gently shake to remove excess moisture. Do not use Windex or other window cleaners with ammonia, especially if you have an anti-reflective coating.


4. Do not use a paper towel or washcloth to dry lenses, otherwise lint is guaranteed. Always use a high-quality microfiber cloth, as these cloths dry the lenses very effectively and trap oils to avoid smearing. But ,because they trap debris so effectively, make sure you clean the cloths frequently. Hand wash the cloth using lotion free dish washing liquid and clean water, then allow the cloth to air dry.


5. Do not over rub if there are still smudges. Simply repeat steps 2-4. I have made these suggestions to both my wife and caregiver and, interestingly, both responded in the same manner!

The next two articles I saw seemed to assume one had tried all the above tricks, but that they hadn’t worked. They were entitled, "When to Have Your Glasses Cleaned Professionally" and "Glasses Don’t Last Forever." I’m not sure we are to that point yet, but I would certainly guess my wife and caretaker will be excited when I share this newfound information with them. If the next picture you see of me features a patch over one of my eyes, then you will know I guessed wrong!

Noticeably absent when we all left rehab was the instruction manual for dealing with the myriad of situations we would find ourselves in. Ask This Old Quad articles serve to fill in that vacuum, because we have all developed tricks of the trade that we believe would be valuable for others. Share your ideas and experience with us at info@unitedspinalusa.org.

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