By Linda Conlin, Pro to Pro Managing Editor

Preparing for my first trip to San Jose, CA, I went online to check out the airport, SJC in airport code. With only two terminals, it’s much smaller than the New York airport I will leave from, and much easier to navigate, I’m sure. Among the amenities advertised at SJC is an automated kiosk for cleaning eyewear and jewelry called OpticWash. For about $2 you can get your glasses, jewelry or even your water-resistant smartphone cleaned and sanitized in less than two minutes, while you watch.

After making a payment - cash, credit or debit cards, gift cards or smartphone wallet are accepted - place your eyewear on the holder inside the unit. The system uses no chemicals of any kind, only reverse osmosis purified water; that is, water which has been filtered to remove minerals, particles and bacteria, sprayed at two pounds of pressure. The glasses are dried, then a UV filtration system kills 99% of all bacteria. (I wonder if the UV activates photochromic lenses.) Not only are lenses cleaned without scratching, but the frame is, too (think about those nasty nosepads). OpticWash claims it is fun, entertaining and interactive. While I never thought the traditional spray and cloth method of cleaning glasses was fun or entertaining, it is most definitely interactive.



More than a curiosity or a way to kill two minutes in an airport, OpticWash is OSHA approved to sanitize protective eyewear as required by OSHA regulations. The current regulatory process for eyewear disinfection is long and laborious. Goggles and spectacles must be disassembled, cleaned with soap and water, rinsed, swabbed, immersed for ten minutes in a germicidal deodorant fungicide, then air dried. When the entire process can be completed in a kiosk in under two minutes, that’s a tremendous time and labor savings!

Interestingly, most of the OpticWash kiosks currently are located in vision centers. Will the novelty bring customers in? Will they see the practice as cutting edge? Or will we lose the opportunity to provide a free, personal service that can be a conversation starter when we clean glasses “the old fashioned way?” Time will tell, no doubt. In the meantime, I’ll try to find the OpticWash kiosk when I get to San Jose. I might even spring for the $2 to see it work. Yes, the skeptic that I am can still succumb to curiosity.

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