Several years ago I wrote one of my most controversial posts, Don't Clean Your Glasses. If I keep wearing dusty glasses I find I stop noticing the dust, and then I save the time of washing and drying. I'm embarrassed to admit it, however, but I do now clean my glasses.

In June 2020 I got a new pair of glasses, and this time I got them with a "Super Hydrophobic" coating. This has two main effects:

  • Water evaporates from the surface without leaving any splotchy residue or other trace.

  • They smudge really easily.

The place this has the most advantage is when playing in the water. My glasses get wet, then they dry, and through all of it I can see clearly. Previously I would leave my glasses on the shore and have pretty blurry vision beyond about ten feet, which does not combine well with keeping an eye my kids in the pond. The coating also helps a lot with walking in rain.

The easy smudging, however, means I often need to clean them every few days, or even every day, especially if the baby is playing with my face. Luckily the coating also means they're much faster to clean because I no longer need to dry them: I just put them back on, and within a couple minutes they're fully clear again.

On balance I do prefer the coating, but it's closer than I would have guessed.

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What is the name of the coating?

Usually, you can look up somewhat detailed information about a lens coating using the Internet. Then, at the store, you can select the one you want.

For example, Sola had a patent on coatings that got transferred to Zeiss and Zeiss has a PDF that lists all the options and which coatings can go with which lenses.

It's whatever Zenni calls "Super Hydrophobic"

I haven't seen this hydrophobic yet, but some of my glasses are afraid of water hehe. jk. I disagree with letting the dust stay and your brain will adjust...it's just increasingly opaque and the clear light is good. Here's my best practice, I think the main problem is getting enough soapy water on them to lift all the gunk off and not scratch the lens in the cleaning, so I rinse them first under fast water, then I use dishwashing detergent, foam it up in my hands and using my foamy fingers clean the lenses and the frame and do it twice, rinse good, then dry with a good micro fiber like they give you at opticians shops. I feel happy when I see nice and clear. 

dry with a good micro fiber like they give you at opticians shops

This was the main thing that made cleaning them annoying for me. With hydrophobic it's great but needing to do this.

Well that's going to a level I wouldn't have been able to imagine before. microfiber cloths were a great advancement over using a towel or paper towel, which didn't wick up the water as well, and sometimes might scratch the lens. I have seen differences in quality between different microfibers...but going next level to no need for a cloth sounds great. 

I've also seen stores use Kimwipes to clean lenses.