People will try to sell you anything, including a magic potion to repair scratches in sunglasses or the very best cleaning solution that will make your sunglasses sparkle. I would like to believe that this solution and advice as to how to fix a scratched lenses would work, but I have yet to see anything that actually works. Almost every person with sunglasses (or prescription glasses) has had this very common problem. Those who have tried to eliminate a line right in the middle of their field of vision by using a "scratch repair" tell me they simply created a permanent smudge where the scratch once was. The internet is full of cures for sunglass scratches; however, it is not full of robust testimony from people saying that they found the answer for their scratched lenses.
Wow. I really did not mean to be so cynical. Believe me, I have thought long and hard about this. Wouldn't it be amazing to be the person who invents the remedy to this problem? Everyone would be happy with your new invention and most of us would buy it! Meantime, we have to pay attention to how to prevent scratches in the first place. Part of this discussion needs to include the cleaning of the lenses, too. Occasionally and sadly, these two topics can be related.
First, consider the obvious. The old adage "prevention is worth a pound of cure" comes to mind. Preventing scratches is your best defense.
1. Pouches or cases. This is one of the best ways to prevent marring those $300 or $10 sunglasses. These pouches are now ubiquitous. Any company selling sunglasses is probably providing you with a protective pouch. If not, there are easy and affordable to find for purchase. Now the trick is to actually use the case!
2. Respect gravity.
Ok, this might sound obnoxious, but don't drop your sunglasses. Gravity is unforgiving and when your glasses leave your hand they usually shift and hit the ground lens first. And regardless of what some manufacturers tell you, all sunglasses scratch. A scratch coating might help a little but asphalt will eventually win. So, take a moment to put your glasses in the pouch when you get off your bike or out of your car. Slow down. Don't carry your sunglasses with a bunch of other stuff.
Example of what not to do: I remember the first week I had my new prescription sunglasses. I was in a hurry but determined to stop for a cup of coffee on my way to work. As I quickly left that famous name brand coffee shop holding my coffee, keys, phone and sunglasses in my hands, I dropped the sunglasses in the parking lot and then inadvertently KICKED THEM and sent them skidding under the car. Yep. They were scratched all to heck. A very expensive mistake, indeed. I felt like a walking public service announcement for sunglass cords, which is my next point.
3. Use Retainers or Cords This might not be for everyone but sunglass cords can be a big help in preventing scratches. How? You are less likely to drop them or to have them slip from your hands if they are secured around your neck. Sunglass cords (Croakies® are a famous example of these) This easy preventative measure usually costs between $3.00 - $10.00.
4. Clean Your Sunglasses Properly You might think that a super soft paper towel would be great to use to clean your glasses but don't do it! Paper products really can scratch your prescription glasses as well as your sunglasses. A soft microfiber cleaning cloth is your best bet for cleaning the lenses of a sunglass. We've all been tempted to use a cotton t-shirt, which, in theory, isn't the worst idea; however, a dedicated cloth is best. Part of the reason for this is that small particles of debris can land on your t-shirt and then scratch your sunglasses if you run that debris across the lens as you attempt to clean it. It is a good idea to make sure that the sunglasses themselves are free of sand and dirt before attempting to clean the lenses. This way, you won't scratch the lenses with what's already on the lens. This may seem obvious, but easy to forget if you are anxious to get on the road or ready to leave the sandy beach.
Another important point regarding cleaning your lenses:
Do not use chemical glass cleaners, unless specifically intended for eyewear. Cleaning products with ammonia can leave a dull, cloudy film. Some harsh cleans can also damage the lenses leaving them permanently streaked or murky.
5. The Lenses You Buy Earlier in this blog post, I mentioned earlier that how expensive the lenses are really doesn't matter to having them get scratched. Yes, a non-scratch coating can make some difference; however, most lenses will suffer the same or similar fate. There is an exception to this rule but it has very little to do with the cost of the sunglass. What most sunglass experts agree upon is that those super cool mirror sunglasses (silver mirror, red mirror, blue mirror, any mirror!) scratch easier than a regular smoke or gray lens. In part, this is due to the mirror finish is a coating that can be damaged easier. Some will say that it maybe isn't even that it is easier to scratch but is simply more apparent when it is scratched. Either way, it doesn't mean you shouldn't buy that super cool reflective lens that makes it nearly impossible to see your eyes when you're talking to people. It is just one more consideration when buying sunglasses.
The point of this blog is to say take care of your sunglasses regardless of the price or the name brand. At the risk of sounding parental, I made this post to offer some information and maybe even some details about sunglass care that you hadn't considered before now. The harsh reality is sunglasses do get scratched but putting some thought and time into prevention may very well extend the life of that very important accessory that we all need to protect our eyes from the wind, sun and debris. So when you make the purchase of a new pair of shades, protect them and they will serve you well for a long time to come. Be safe, be seen and enjoy the ride.