Thanks for your comments... After doing so shoots and playing around with it... the AF still works flawlessly, and the screen looks farily decent besides the imperfections on the extremities. I will have the camera sent in this week and let you know. Regarding the cleaning thought process, i've always been under the impression that surface areas of the camera were generally cleanable, i.e., mirror, VF, sensor, LCDs, and the focusing screens used to be interchangeable, but shoot, figured that should be cleanable from at least the surface, you shouldnt be forced to send your camera in to be cleaned for heavens sake... It appears there is/was some sort of matte substance or film or something that has been wiped out, but functionally the camera still works without missing a beat. Anywho after close inspection it appears that it is a simple plastic piece that probably only costs Canon 20 cents to replace, but i'm bracing for around $150-200. woo hoo... lesson learned and hope i saved anyone else who thought they could clean their own screens.