View Full Version here: : Dirty eyes...most people!

04-09-2006, 08:57 AM
Mostly a dumb post...in the "Duh of course silly me" style (my children would chime in with a "Calling Mr. Obvious" comment at this point)...but I thought the post might make a suitable reminder...it has for me.

Yesterday, I decided to clean my eyepieces after the Macqaurie University astronomy open night...

WOW, I was shocked by how much crud and gunk they picked up in the course of a few hours (and a lot of people)...:eyepop:

I thought that I did a reasonable job in "keeping sticky hands away" from the eyepiece...but in doing the cleaning I see that I did not do a very good job at all...

I know this is all pretty obvious stuff but, I was still surprised to see what a difference a cleaning made...I guess us "people" are just slobs...

**Reminder to self, clean eyepieces after large group viewings...

Clean occulars and good luck to all!

04-09-2006, 09:43 AM
I wonder how many girls (with evening mascara on their eyelashes) were present there :-)

04-09-2006, 11:25 AM
Can eye conditions like conjunctivitis be transmitted via eyepieces?

04-09-2006, 12:51 PM
theoretically - yes. Any object that contacts one persons eye area, then anothers, could transmit a bug across. Conjunctivitis is pretty contagious.

04-09-2006, 01:40 PM
Hmm, may need a star party set and a personal set of eyepieces then?

04-09-2006, 02:01 PM
Now there is a "how to" that is missing, Eyepiece Cleaning. Any offers ;)

04-09-2006, 02:03 PM
Yes Scott, consider yourself cajoled ;)

04-09-2006, 10:48 PM
I get the hint...not sure I am up for the task in the short term but it is a good idea. Hasn't something already been written up by somebody knowledgable?

However, I am not sure my "dog lick" cleaning technique is appropriate for publication or use with high end optics...;)


05-09-2006, 09:32 AM
Unfortunately, I don't have a dog...is a hankie sufficient, a clean one of course, I'm not that dumb!

09-09-2006, 08:48 AM
Is there any written information on the transmission of diseases, or other things viia eyepieces? This would come under Eyepiece projection.. :P

09-09-2006, 10:35 AM
I don't know if there have been any studies or work looking at disease transmission via eyepieces...it is an interesting question. I was only concerned with dirt/oil/fingerprints when I started this thread.

As neither a scientist nor an eye doctor I don't feel qualified to comment much on this particular variant of the thread subject...

15-09-2006, 11:49 AM
Hi all,
Just a thought, are "skin cleansing alcohol prep's" suitable for cleaning eyepieces?
they are made of a sterile soft 2 ply tissue wetted with pure alcohol, which are used to wipe peoples skin usually before an injection.
They are great on sunglasses and evaporate very quickly and dont leave a residue as far as I know.
I haven't tried them as yet but thought I'd check to see what other members think


15-09-2006, 10:21 PM
I know for a fact that whole batallions of soldiers have contracted conjunctivitis from training with the same night vision equipment (personal NVG's), so yes, clean them well my friends...as I am no longer a serving member, that WONT be happening to me again!:scared:

16-09-2006, 04:19 AM
Some years ago, in a former career as a Telstra Tech Officer, we used those alcohol wipes to clean the heads of high speed magnetic reel to reel tape data storage units in the exchanges.

One thing we found was that not all alcohol wipes are equal ... many were not 100% alcohol, usually the other "bit" being water - no good in terms of leaving residue on tape heads, and would be the same for eyepieces. When we foud good ones we'd usually buy a box of a thousand or so at a time.

We also had to use them with fairly light pressure, as even though the wipes seem soft to touch they are still scratchy enough to mark tape heads, and I'm pretty sure that lens coatings on eyepieces would be even more susceptible to damage by wiping.

I guess I'm saying I don't know that I'd try using them myself on eyepieces but I'm more then ready to be corrected by anyone with greater knowledge or experience in this area.


PS: If you already have any of these wipes don't chuck them out, throw a couple in your mouth and suck on a slice of orange or lemon. ;)

Party Time!!

16-09-2006, 09:23 AM
Normal camera lens cleaning solution is basically isopropyl alcohol - which is a nice disinfectant - most skin wipes are isopropyl alcohol anyway.... use it with proper lens tissue and you can't go wrong in my book....

Any object that goes near an infected eye, and then near a good eye has the potential to transmit conjunctivitis (usually fingers!)......

22-09-2006, 04:33 PM
I wouldnt have thought there is much risk of "catching "something. As far as I am aware, ambient temperatures soon kill bugs that like the 37 deg C of our bodies:) but not cooler temp.
On a lower note, I was always told that it was impossible to catch VD from a lavatory seat for the same reason, so don't use that as an excuse!!:D :D I reckon a good dose of alcohol would be more than enough to make double sure>:thumbsup:

22-09-2006, 04:43 PM
No - bugs (lots of them) survive quite well away from 37deg, they don't grow and thrive as well, but are very much alive and ready to go once they find a moist warm area to infect.... Flu bugs etc survive very nicely on the lips of coffee cups etc, wart viruses on towels... the list goes on and on.....
I don't think its cause for alarm - but if you have itchy, gritty or scratchy sore eyes - keep them to your own eyepieces until you are better.... :)

22-09-2006, 07:58 PM
I don't wear mascara, and don't understand why anyone would want to put that sort of gunk on their eyes in the first place, but find that the natural oils on my lashes smudge my eps.
After allowing the masses to share your scope, I'd be swabbing your EP's with alcohol to kill the nasties.
A lens pen cleans larger EP's nicely.

24-09-2006, 08:59 AM

I have an acquaintance who is a professional in matters ocular (medical) so I asked the question. The response (anonymously) is as follows:

24-09-2006, 09:47 AM
Moving aside from the infectious diseases sub-thread for a moment, I have found that the safest and best way to clean my eyepieces is to use the cloth you get from optometrists to clean your eye glasses. An occasional wipe is all that I have found necessary.

It is advisable to use a "blower" to remove any major items of dust and grit first of course, or any cloth, including an eye glass cloth, will pick up the grit, and continued movement will scratch the EP.

My concern about using anything wet is that fluid can leak around the edges of the glass inside the EP itself. To state what is probably obvious, you should never put fluid directly onto the glass itself.

24-09-2006, 10:40 AM
I do the occasional viewing at the local Primary school...sometimes the odd fingermark winds up on the EP's lens which I clean promptly with canned air first then use the corner of a rolled-up tissue dampened with isopropyl alcohol and wipe the lens side-to-side using only the weight of the tissue itself...other than that...light cleaning is done with canned air or at most a lenspen...
Prior to any observing session I'd buy a couple of boxes of tissues and ask everyone to wipe their eyelashes and asking them not to touch anything...using EP's with long eye relief and shining a red light on the EP so people won't smack their eye on it does help!!!...and of course give the outer body of the EP a wipe afterwards ready for the next session.