How to Remove Anti-Reflective Coating From a Lens

Written by alex cosby
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How to Remove Anti-Reflective Coating From a Lens
(BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

If the anti-reflective (AR) coating on a lens has become damaged, it can inhibit the usefulness of the lens. Removing the damaged coating provides a temporary solution to the problem, and is necessary to repair the AR coating.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • Wooden tongs or chopsticks
  • Sealable plastic container
  • AR stripper (available from optometry supply outlets)
  • Lint-free cloth

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  1. 1

    Put on your protective gloves and goggles and make sure you are in a well-ventilated area.

  2. 2

    Remove the lens from its frame or container and set the frame or container aside.

  3. 3

    Pour enough of the AR stripper into the plastic container to fully submerge the lens, Seal the container and the AR stripper once you have filled the container.

  4. 4

    Place a small corner of the lens in the solution by using tongs. This will allow you to test for unwanted reactivity without damaging the lenses. Watch for a change of colour in the AR stripper to an opaque white. If there is a change in colour, your lenses will not withstand the AR stripping process.

  5. 5

    Submerge the lens, concave side up to avoid trapping bubbles, in solution with the tongs and seal the container.

  6. 6

    Wait five to 10 seconds, then remove the lens with the tongs.

  7. 7

    Rinse the lens under a faucet and dry with a lint-free cloth. If any coating remains, the lens can be resubmerged for an additional five to 10--rinse and dry the lens every time it is submerged.

  8. 8

    Seal the plastic container for reuse or disposal.

  9. 9

    Reinsert the lens into its frame or container.

Tips and warnings

  • A premixed liquid AR stripper is preferable to a powdered form.
  • Always test your solution on a small corner of the lens.
  • Many optometrists will remove AR coatings, if asked, for a nominal fee.
  • AR strippers generally contain hydrofluoric acid; this is a contact poison and must be treated with extreme caution.
  • When using acids, always wear protective clothing and eyewear, and work in well-ventilated areas.
  • Do not heat AR stripper.
  • Do not allow metal to come in contact with the stripper; this can produce volatile hydrogen gas.
  • Dispose of the stripper by sealing it in a plastic bottle and taking it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.

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