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I bought a packet of Dr. Optic Optical Lens Wipes recently from my local chemist where they were reduced from £3.20 to just 60p - which is a pretty substantial plummet by any account. Although I wear contact lenses rather than glasses, I was going on holiday with my family and as such, we would all be wearing sun glasses and dealing with the inevitable smears and general grime that always seem to accompany sun-glasses. I think it must be the fact that I seem to get suntan oil all over my hands - and then on my glasses - plus the fact that I never keep them in a case - and so then I end up rubbing them on the towel in order to clear them, and inevitably the towel has oil on it too and so it's a vicious circle. So, for 60p I thought it was too good an offer to pass up!
The pack contained 24 wipes - and so that equates to just over 2p per wipe - which is too cheap to sniff at. I'm not sure I would have purchased them had they been sold at the full price, but at the reduced price I was more than happy. The lens wipes are a little like mini-wetwipes, and so they are smaller because lenses are just not as big, or as messy, as a baby's bottom! They are a decent enough size to do the job at hand. I like the fact that each wipe is individually wrapped and so I was just able to pop a couple in my bag rather than having to carry the whole package around.
As I mentioned, the wipe is moist, but it is not so wet that it leaves a streak or residue on the glasses or your hands. The smell just like the wipes I use for my camera lens, in as much as they are quite clinical and alcoholic in smell - and this seems to be fairly standard for optical wipes.
Using the wipe it simple. It's a matter of removing it from the packaging, and then wiping it across the surface of the lens - until it's clean. They do clean really well and I've found that they've removed oil, fingerprints, streaks, general grime etc. from the surface of the lens - and left them perfectly transparent. The wetness simply evaporates within about 3 seconds of the wipe being applied and so there is no need to dry it afterwards and risk smearing! I also found that we could use the same wipe for several lenses, and so if I was doing my lenses, I would also do my partners and kids.
Overall, I think this is a decent product and it does what it sets out to do.
Twenty years ago when I started wearing spectacles, cleaning them was easy. A rough rub down with a tissue was enough to remove any dirt and grease and leave them clear enough to use. Of course, even with the tough glass in use then, I soon noticed that the surface became scratched. Within two years they needed changing due to the damage, even if my prescription had not changed.
These days, such a roughshod approach would be disastrous due to the complexity of today's lenses. Nowadays, few lenses are made of glass, rather they're produced from much softer plastic. These are far more easily scratched by careless cleaning. Lenses are now often coated for higher performance, too.
Coatings for UV resistance, anti-reflection, polarisation of light, and coloured tints are all more scratch prone than glass, and scratching the lens can ruin the coating completely. Fortunately, I've progressed from using any handy tissue, to using a specialist lens cleaning wipe. The best I have found is manufactured by 'Dr. Optic'.
Dr. Optic's Optical Lens Wipes cost £2.99 for a box of 24. Each wipe is contained in an individual sealed wrapper. The lens wipe package looks a bit similar to a condom packet (warning: opening a wipe to clean one's spectacles could be a conversation stopper in a business meeting).
Now I detest smeared lenses on my spectacles: the sun shining on a smeared lens produces a line across my vision that I find far too distracting. I have to have clean lenses, hence my use of optical lens wipes.
There are many types of lens wipes on the market and I've used most of them. I've realised that, for me, a good wipe must have the following characteristics:
i) It must have enough solvent on the wipe to lift off grease leaving a totally smear free lens.
ii) It must not have so much solvent that drops are left on the lens that evaporate and leave a residue.
iii) The wipe material must be tear resistant.
iv) Finally, for me, the wipe solvent must not leave a residual smell on my hands.
As you can see, my requirements are quite demanding. So far, all the wipes I've used have failed to meet all of the criteria above, with the exception of Dr. Optic's: these have passed every test.
Opening the packet is easy, as is removing the wipe. The scent of the wipe hits the nose almost immediately: a combination of alcohol and some stronger scent, not unpleasant at all. Although the wipe's solvent has an odour, this does not leave any lasting scent on the hand, within a couple of seconds, any smell has vanished.
The most efficient way to clean a lens is to first blow away any loose grime from the surface (leaving dust on the lens can, if the 'dust' is hard, turn a lens wipe into a piece of sandpaper-like material; getting any rough material off the lens before wiping will help to prevent scratching).
Using a fresh wipe, the lens is gently rubbed with circular motions, checking every few seconds for cleanliness and smear free vision by holding it up to a strong light. Using the Dr. Optic wipes, once the lens is clear, any residual solvent evaporates off without leaving a residue, just a clean, smear-free lens.
These lens wipes are extremely effective when used to clean one's spectacles. Even covered in grease, the lenses will eventually clean up, leaving them as new, without scratching. Dr. Optic states that their lens wipes are compatible with all lens coatings, and I've not noticed any detrimental effect on my two pairs of glasses in six months of use (both have different coatings).
The optical lens wipes can, of course, be used for any optical surface, including binoculars, camera lenses, and TV monitors. I use plenty of optical equipment like this and again, have found Dr. Optic's Optical Lens Wipes to work superbly on all surfaces.
At £2.99, they offer reasonable value for money, and I recommend them unreservedly if, like me, you value clean, smear free lenses.