Smudged and Streaked Glasses - Fixed!!

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Postby george » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:04 am

The topic of smudges, streaks, and a residue or film on eyeglasses has come up in a few different places on the forum and I had never had the problem until recently. You can see a lot of frustration in the Crizal thread around November 2014, reported with both Crizal and Costco eyeglasses there. It has come up several times in the thread on anti-reflective lenses too (see March 2012 and April 2013). Surprisingly, it doesn't seem to have come up in the thread on the best ways to clean your glasses.

Anyway, the bottom line is that many people have reported problems with their glasses not being able to get clean. I couldn't understand how so many people were getting streaks on their glasses. I figured they must have been touching the lenses with oily fingers or something. And then I got my new Costco progressive lenses which have a high quality anti-reflective coating. About a month after I got them, while at work I notice this horrible film on my glasses and I can't get rid of it. I do my usual routine of rinsing my glasses under cool water and then wiping them dry with the microfiber cloth. The film was still there so I resorted to my rare approach of using a very small amount of dish soap and rubbing it between my fingers and the lens. I figured there most be some residual oils on the lens and the soap should break that up. I rinse again and wipe it dry with my microfiber cloth and the film is still there!! I'm getting kind of pissed figuring that Costco has either cheapened their anti-reflective coating or I got a defective set of glasses. I'm puzzled and just for the heck of it, I wipe the glasses with a different microfiber cloth. I've attached a picture below of how they looked after wiping just the lens on the left side.




This first two pictures were taken without the flash and the last picture is with the flash. You can see in the picture with the flash that the lens on the left is almost invisible and the lens on the right has a ton of fine pieces of dust. So in my case, it turns out the microfiber cloth that came with my Costco lenses was actually causing a horrible film / smudge. I had never had this before. The new Costco microfiber clothes are these light bluish / grayish thicker cloth than what most other companies provide. When I went with another company's thin microfiber cloth, the lenses became spotless. I don't know if my Costco cloth just got dirty over time or what the deal is. I haven't tried washing the cloth yet, as I've just been using one of the others I have. I am shocked that the cloth made that much of a difference.

I hope the suggestion is helpful for others.
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Postby JLS1945 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:51 pm

Interesting... I'm waiting on my first pair of Crizal lenses and stumbled across this site while looking for information. I've had my first pair of poly-carbonate lenses for about 6 months and share the smudging issues (love the photos for reference). I'm having reasonable success washing under the faucet with warn water & a bit of Dawn. I've been drying with a clean T shirt (without any fabric softener on it).

Postby Bill » Fri May 22, 2015 9:12 pm

I have Costco lens with anti-glare and they are totally smudged by midday. I clean them every morning first with a Kemwipe (used for fiberoptic connectors) and Costco cleaning solution then polish using the microfiber cloth. The kemwipe gets most of the oil and dirt off but leaves them streaked with a film. The microfiber cloth makes them clear. Washing the microfiber cloth in the laundry helped it to clean a lot better. Still not happy with my glasses which is why I came to your site to see if Crizal would be the hero but I see it isn't so.

I tried some Smitty's glass wax which seemed to make a noticeable difference in ease of cleaning but I never had this much problem with smugged glasses in the past.I am sure the smudging comes from my eyebrows. I made several trips to the Costco eyeglass counter for adjustments and they have them pushed almost against my face. I think they are just tired of seeing me show up. Kind of frustrated and have sort of given up on being able to see clearly.

Postby Eyedoc » Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:37 am

I am an optometrist and will tell you that smudges will appear more prominent on any lens with an AR coating. This is because AR coatings transmit much more light and make the lens look much more transparent, making any smudge more visible. The best AR coatings transmit virtually all light (not really as the coatings work by constructive and destructive interference, but functionally...). This makes oliophobic (coating that resists oil, present on most touchscreen devices) and anti-static coatings a good idea. ALL COATINGS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. It should also be noted that AR coatings will also perform differently on different lens materials. For instantance, the same coating on a high-index or polycarbonate lens will not perform as well as the exact coating on a CR-39 or Trivex lens do to differing Abbe values. Crizal products do have a hefty price tag and great marketing that most people don't fully understand, but I can tell you there are differences.

First, if you see a darker, more prominent reflection on the lens, this lens is transmitting less light and reflecting more light and looks less clear. In general lighting conditions there might not be a noticeable difference, but under special and low-light conditions there will be a marked difference. There are a number of reflections on lenses the reflection on the front surface is only the most prominent.

Second, many coatings will not last as long as name-brand products. Many of these coatings chip and scratch easily when compared to name brand products and other genrics through high quality labs (ie not the inferior coatings from online retailers, Costco and Walmart). Although there have been improvents in getting the coatings to adhere to the lens to prevent chipping, scratches are still a problem with lenses.

In summary, the best way to keep your glasses clean, and scratch free is to:

1)purchase name brand coatings or make sure they come from a high quality lab (much easier to just ask for Crizal)
2)keep your glasses oil free. When you go in to get your glasses adjusted they should put your glasses in a ultrasonic bath with a strong cleaning solution, but in between I recommend cleaning your glasses (frame and lenses, especially nose pads) with dish soap to remove all oils.
3)use a quality lens cloth. These should be provided with Crizal lenses, but I bought some large ones that work really well, which you can find online at retailers like Amazon.

Postby george » Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:03 pm


Thank you very much for posting here. I appreciate your comments. Crizal does make a great product and the COLTS testing verifies it is a great anti-reflective coating. My issue is that having gotten anti-reflective coatings that range from $5 on Zenni glasses to $140 for Crizal and overall, I'd be really hard pressed to notice the difference if someone asked me. If I have a hard time noticing the difference, I'm guessing most people can't tell. All of my lenses have lasted the year that I wear them without scratches, but I'm very careful with my glasses.

If I ever get the time, I'm going to put together a video testing all of the different lenses. I really don't think there will be much of a noticeable difference, but it still might be fun to do.
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Postby jeffn » Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:25 pm

So EyeDoc answered the question by marketing product. The question was how to clean glasses that have a oily smudge - even after using dish soap.
So - does anyone know?

Postby malabar » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:50 pm

I am so glad to finally find out after 2 years, that I am not going crazy. I have bought COSTCO glasses for years and have always been happy, but I was always able to choose the coatings that I wanted. About 2 years ago, I was told all the coatings are now in the lenses and you have no choice. Since then I have struggled with glasses that are always filmy and that I am always cleaning. I use the COSTCO cloths as they directed and washed them regularly. I make sure I never put my fingers on my lenses, and yet I always feel as though my vision is deteriorating because things are hazy. With the cloths failing, I have tried their lens cleaner and Dawn. Nothing helps. I am at the point where I am going to have to pay out of pocket for new glasses from somewhere else since I have already gotten glasses within the last 12 months. I have spoken to COSTCO about this and they tell me there is nothing wrong with my glasses, that they look just fine and there is nothing that can or should be done for me. I wear progressives, so I've been leery of online sources. Any suggestions for sources online or not?

Postby george » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:19 pm


Have you tried using a different microfiber cloth? I found that made all the difference. Are you asking where to buy good microfiber clothes online, or asking about where to buy cheap glasses online?
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Postby malabar » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:13 am

I guess both. I have a few different types of cloths, but if there is one that makes a big difference I'd love to know what it is and where to find it. I am also looking for a good source (online or store) for glasses that won't break the bank and do not have the same lens as COSTCO.

Postby george » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:19 pm

I find the ones that came with my Crizal lenses to be good and you can order extras online. It looks like they are currently $9.99 plus $3.95 handling for 3 clothes.

Looking on Amazon, there is a very highly rated cloth and the best seller called Magicfiber by Goja. I haven't used them, but based on the reviews, I would expect them to fix any smudging issues you have. They are currently selling for $6 for 2 or $9 for 6 clothes. If you don't have Amazon prime, you can select the "new" offers from $8.99 (for 6) and one of the options is to order it from Digital Goja with free shipping, no minimum.

If you happen to try them or find a brand that is particularly good, feel free to share the information here.
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby garbanzo99 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:31 am

I've been in the same boat with the other posters: Costco lenses, progressives, smudges. I've found the solution is to use any transparent soap; dishwasher, hand or shampoo. But it must be clear, not opaque. Wash off the lenses under running water. Then a little bit of the liquid soap on thumb and forefinger. Rub both sides of each lens and then rinse under running water using the same 2 fingers to make sure all the soap comes off. Now here's the secret, DON'T RUB THE LENSES WITH ANYTHING. Shake off the glasses to remove almost all the water then use a corner of a microfiber or pure cotton cloth to wash away any remaining water. If you rub the lens it will smudge. There's enough oil transferred to a cloth that's been used even a couple times to cause smudges. If you don't rub the lens you won't get any smudges. It works perfectly for me.

Postby Steph » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:46 am

I am 46 and have been wearing glasses since grade 3 or 4. I have never had smudge issues with glasses all these years. My glasses are not from Costco but I do have the Crizol coating. I believe this must be the issue. For the past who knows how many years I have had coatings with transition lenses. Have never had a problem keeping glasses clean and scratch free. I have had these current glasses for less than a year and have never been able to keep them clean and somehow have a horizontal scratch across one of lenses. They have never been dropped, put down lens to counter etc. This is the first time I have had Crizol. My theory is that it is the coating. I have used their lint free cloths to no avail. I have used cloths already had and they seem to work a little better but still never get rid of the film. I had to quickly go to dish soap for some clarity since the purchase. I still continue to have problems and have probably never had one day of clear seeing except the day I walked out of the store with them.

Postby Steph » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:07 pm

Think about it. Who googles "i can't keep my glasses clean?".
I have tri-focal, transition progressive lenses. Not from Costco as 99% of everyone here seems to have goten from.
The inability to keep these glasses clean just - to see is crazy. As all seem to talk about the Crizol... paints a pretty picture

Postby babyboomer » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:58 am

Interesting to read these responses. I've had a heck of a time keeping my Costco lenses clean as well; I kept thinking surely I am doing something wrong. I've noticed over the past several years in purchasing RX glasses from various retailers, including Costco, that the lenses get dirty and scratched quite easily. I am admittedly not the best caretaker of glasses, so blamed myself. I've also noticed the hard sell to buy lenses with the anti-glare coating. I'm beginning to suspect this hard sell is intentional and that these "coatings" get you back in to the optical shop to replace lenses more frequently. Do I sound like a paranoid loon or are is the public being sold a bill of goods?

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