Should glasses be stored upright or upside down?

Glasses are delicate items that need to be cared for properly to ensure they remain in good condition. One of the things glasses wearers often wonder is whether it’s better to store their eyewear upright or upside down when not in use. There are pros and cons to both methods, and considerations regarding lens coating, frame materials, and more that come into play. Here’s an in-depth look at the upright versus upside down glasses storage debate.

The Case for Storing Glasses Upright

Many eye doctors and optical shops recommend storing glasses upright in cases or on shelves. Here are some of the reasons storing glasses upright is often advised:

  • Prevents loose particles like dust from settling on lenses. With upside down storage gravity brings tiny particles into contact with the lenses. Storing upright minimizes this.
  • Reduces risk of scratching. The arms/earpieces are designed to hold the weight of glasses without letting the lenses make contact with surfaces. Storing upside down lets the lenses touch whatever the glasses are resting on.
  • Keeps hinges/frames in better condition. The full weight of the glasses can strain hinges and frames over time if stored upside down.
  • Better for hydrophilic lens coatings. These coatings attract water so fingerprints and smudges wash away easily. Letting them make extended contact with surfaces can degrade their effectiveness.
  • Makes them easy to grab quickly. Glasses stored upside down need to be picked up and flipped before you can put them on. Upright glasses can be put on immediately.
  • Prevents loose parts from falling off. Things like nose pads and screws can come loose over time. Storing upside down means fighting gravity to keep everything in place.

The majority of eyecare pros recommend upright storage in a clean, dry glasses case or eyeglasses holder. This keeps the glasses stable and protected without letting the lenses or frame make sustained surface contact.

The Case for Storing Glasses Upside Down

While upright storage has its perks, some optometrists and glasses manufacturers actually recommend upside down storage instead. Here are the main benefits of storing glasses upside down:

  • Avoids pressure on frame fronts. The bridge and frame fronts bear all the weight when glasses are stored upright. Upside down takes the pressure off these parts.
  • Minimizes lens warping. Lens materials can warp subtly over time if stored upright consistently. Rotating the orientation distributes the effects of gravity.
  • Reduces foam pad compression. Foam pads on the nose and earpieces get squashed if glasses are stored open and upright for prolonged periods.
  • Decreases risk of arms splaying. Arms can gradually bend outward if glasses are stored upright with arms open. Closing them upside down keeps everything in proper alignment.
  • Better for AR coatings. Antireflective coatings may suffer less degradation if contact with surfaces is distributed instead of concentrated on the coated lens sides.

Upside down storage proponents argue that alternating between upright and upside down is ideal. Consistent upright storage can cause some issues, but flipping orientation allows glasses to rebound and avoids cumulative effects.

Key Considerations for the Upright vs. Upside Down Debate

When deciding whether it’s best to store glasses upright or upside down, there are a few important factors to keep in mind:

  • Lens coatings – Special coatings like anti-reflective, oleophobic, and hydrophobic benefit from limited surface contact. But they’re designed to withstand normal handling and wearing. Upright storage is preferable, but upside down in a case won’t ruin them.
  • Frame materials – Heavy metal frames put more strain on hinges and bridge pieces than ultra-light materials like carbon fiber. Plastic frames are pretty durable too. So upside down storage is lower risk than with metal frames.
  • Case use – A quality hard case or soft pouch provides plenty of padding and protection. If stored in a case, orientation matters less than for bare glasses resting on a shelf or desk.
  • Length of time – Long-term storage calls for dedicated cases where glasses don’t move much and won’t be disturbed. Short overnight storage on a nightstand leaves orientation as more of a personal preference.

With these factors in mind, the ideal approach often ends up being a mix of upright and upside down storage as circumstances dictate. Avoid leaving glasses loose on abrasive surfaces upside down for prolonged periods, but upside down overnight or in a padded case is fine. Alternate orientation whenever possible for maximum longevity.

What Eyewear Experts Recommend

Optometrists, opticians, and eyeglass manufacturers have plenty to say about proper glasses storage. Here are some of their top recommendations:

  • Use the hard case glasses come with or buy a soft eyeglasses pouch. Never leave glasses loose out in the open.
  • Ensure glasses aren’t bent at extreme angles or supporting weight when stored. This can warp frames or pop out lenses.
  • For long-term storage, seal glasses in a container with desiccant packs to absorb moisture. Keep stored in a cool, dry location.
  • Push earpieces inward so they align with frames when storing upside down. This prevents splaying arms over time.
  • Set glasses down gently instead of letting them drop and “clink” onto surfaces to avoid micro-fractures in materials.
  • Clean glasses regularly before storage to prevent dirt, oils, etc. from damaging coatings and materials.

A soft microfiber pouch designed for eyeglasses makes a great everyday storage vessel. Look for one with padded, silky lining to protect lenses from scratches. Avoid pouches coated in harsh chemicals that could damage lenses.

Tips for Keeping Glasses in Top Shape

Proper storage goes hand in hand with regular maintenance and cleaning for long-lasting glasses. Here are some top care tips from eyewear experts:

  • Inspect frames and screws regularly and get repairs as needed. Small issues gradually worsen without attention.
  • Clean lenses daily using only recommended spray solutions and microfiber cloths. Never use paper towels or harsh chemicals.
  • Don’t keep glasses in very hot or cold locations for long periods. Temperature extremes can damage materials.
  • When setting glasses down, place them on flat surfaces away from edges to prevent accidental drops.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before handling glasses. Skin oils are abrasive and can mar lens coatings.
  • Let glasses air dry after wetting lenses for cleaning. Don’t wipe wet lenses, and avoid moisture damage by drying thoroughly.

Follow this glasses care regimen in conjunction with smart storage practices, and glasses can stay like new for years. Be especially careful with scratch-prone glass lenses or fragile frame styles.

Common Glasses Storage Mistakes to Avoid

It’s easy to make small mistakes daily that can cumulatively take a toll on glasses. Be mindful to avoid these common pitfalls:

  • Don’t sleep with glasses on. Tossing and turning grinds lenses into the pillow, damaging coatings and possibly bending frames.
  • Don’t set glasses down lens-side down. Lenses should only make contact with microfiber cloths and your eyes.
  • Don’t store glasses somewhere they can slide and crash into hard surfaces.
  • Don’t use spray cleaners and wipes containing alcohol or other harsh ingredients not designed for lenses.
  • Don’t toss glasses in a loose jumble into a bag, glovebox, etc. Unprotected collisions cause scratches and warping.
  • Don’t grab and adjust glasses with dirty hands. Transferring skin oil and dirt is a recipe for scratched lenses.

Being mindful of how you handle, clean, and stow glasses truly makes a difference. One lapse probably won’t ruin them, but repeated mistakes add up fast.


How you store glasses when you take them off does impact their longevity and performance. But both upright and upside down storage have pros and cons, not an outright “right” choice for all situations.

Aim to minimize contact between lenses and surfaces, and avoid placing too much continual pressure on frames. Alternate upright and upside down orientation when possible. Use microfiber pouches and cases whenever glasses will be out of your hands.

Pair smart storage practices with attentive cleaning and care. Have repairs made promptly. This comprehensive approach helps ensure glasses provide crisp, comfortable vision for years before needing replacement.

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