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Broken glasses: Repair methods and cost

a pair of broken glasses with lens fallen out of frame

For many, glasses are a necessary tool. And so when your glasses break, it’s more than just an inconvenience. Broken glasses can leave you with an impaired quality of life and inhibit your very ability to function. 

However, there is good news: If your glasses break, there is likely a glasses repair method to fix them!

Depending on the damage, there are many ways to repair your broken glasses. You might choose to take them to a glasses repair shop or to fix them yourself at home. There are benefits to each method, and the cost will depend on the type of repair needed and the method you decide to use. 

Repairing glasses frames professionally

Fixing bent frames yourself is relatively easy. However, there are reasons to take them into a professional for repair. 

  • You don’t have to worry about damaging your glasses further by attempting to fix them yourself. 

  • Your local glasses repair shop can reshape both metal and plastic frames quickly and make sure they fit correctly. 

  • Many professional eyewear outlets will make minor adjustments for free. 

  • Your frames are entirely broken and require special tools and skills to repair. 

In most cases, you must take broken metal frames to a professional glasses repair store. Metal frames are too delicate to fix yourself at home, and attempting to do so may damage your frames even more. Fixing metal frames requires special welding equipment and expertise, and you could harm yourself or your frames if you try to weld them on your own. Taking your metal frames to a professional also ensures that your glasses will be repaired with precision. If you are not precise when you fix broken frames, you risk looking through a pair of crooked glasses and impairing your vision. 

Plastic frames are easier to fix than metal frames, but it is still wise to bring them to a repair shop. If your plastic frames snap, a repair shop can fuse the pieces back together. 

Many places that repair glasses will fix a pair of broken frames for under $50. Some retailers, such as LensCrafters, offer one year extended warranties on glasses for as little as $35. If you have such a warranty, you can get your glasses repaired for a small copay. 

Repairing metal glasses frames yourself

Bent and ill-fitting frames can be a significant nuisance, but luckily they are relatively easy to adjust. You can usually adjust bent frames yourself at home. Bent metal frames require a gentle, guiding hand when you make adjustments. If you are too heavy-handed when making adjustments to metal frames, you might break them in two. For these alterations, you will need a pair of soft-tipped pliers. Soft-tipped pliers’ ends are covered with plastic, and so they are less likely to do damage to your glasses. 

The first step in making adjustments to your metal frames is to determine which part of the frame is bent. If your frames are tilted, place your glasses on a flat surface to determine which arm is raised higher than the other. If the right arm appears raised, you will need to bend the left arm down at the hinge with a pair of pliers. Or, bend the right arm at the hinge if the left arm appears raised. You may also bend the arms of metal frames inward to tighten their grip on your head. Conversely, bend the arms outward to loosen their grip. If your glasses are slipping down your nose, you may adjust the nose pads inward as well. 

To make the frames easier to bend, you can use a hairdryer to warm them. Or, just run your frames under some warm water, but do not hold your metal frames over an open flame. 

If your metal frames have broken into separate pieces, you will probably need to take them to a professional. However, if your metal frames are just bent, you can likely repair them yourself.

Repairing plastic glasses frames yourself

Bent plastic frames require heat to reshape. If your frames are plastic, they are more likely to break if you choose to adjust them yourself. Remember: Many opticians will make small adjustments for free. 

The best way to adjust plastic frames yourself is to hold them over hot steam to make them more pliable. Again, do not expose your frames directly to fire; this can ruin them. Once you heat your frames, you can bend them into shape. Be careful, and make small adjustments. 

If your frames have broken in two, you can repair plastic glasses frames using super glue to affix the pieces together again. However, you should use caution when attempting this method. Take care not to get any glue on your skin, and allow the glue to dry completely before wearing your glasses again. 

Using these methods to fix glasses frames is relatively cost-effective. You may only need to purchase a few small supplies, such as pliers or super glue, if you decide to repair glasses frames yourself. Remember that fixing your frames yourself poses a greater risk for further damage than if you take them for professional repair. 

RELATED READING: Eyeglass frame materials

Repairing lenses professionally

Sometimes, eyeglass lenses become damaged beyond repair. If your lenses are chipped or cracked, you will probably need to have them replaced. If your lenses need replacement, you will have to make sure your prescription is up-to-date. If your prescription is not up-to-date, you will need to schedule an eye exam before replacing your lenses

The cost of new lenses depends on several factors, including whether or not you have vision insurance. If you do, your provider will share more information on the cost of replacement lenses. 

Another factor to consider is whether your lenses need an anti-glare solution. If so, your lenses may be considerably more expensive. If you require an eye exam and specialized lenses, the costs could stack up considerably. 

Scratched lenses are easier to repair. If you’d like to have a professional fix your scratched lenses, most opticians can do so for a small fee. 

Repairing scratched lenses yourself

Unfortunately, there is no magic way to repair scratched prescription glasses. Once your lenses are scratched, it's hard to get them back to their original condition. Any attempt to buff the scratches out could make the situation worse.

However, if you're willing to risk it, and as long as your glasses aren’t cracked or chipped, there are products already in your home that may be able to repair scratches on glasses. Toothpaste and baking soda are both commonly suggested candidates for this job. Before using either of these products to remove scratches, first clean your lenses well with a microfiber cloth and some lens cleaner. Once you thoroughly clean your glasses, they are ready to be cleared of scratches. 

To use toothpaste to repair scratched glasses, apply a small amount of a non-abrasive toothpaste to each lens. Then, using a soft cloth, carefully rub your lenses in circular motions for about 30 seconds per lens. Rinse your lenses when done, and dry with a microfiber cloth. If scratches are still apparent on the surface of your lenses, repeat the process once more. 

You can try the same process with baking soda. Simply mix a small amount of baking soda with water until it is the consistency of a paste and apply to the lenses. 

If you prefer, you can also purchase scratch-removing solutions for your glasses. When purchasing these products, read the instructions carefully to ensure they are safe to use on glass. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for these products. 

Repairing scratched lenses yourself is a very low-cost procedure, and typically, you already have toothpaste or baking soda on hand. If you choose to use a scratch-removing solution, you can acquire one from most grocery stores for a low price. 

SEE RELATED: How to fix scratched sunglasses

Repairing hinges and nose pads professionally

If you lose a hinge screw or nose pad on your glasses, you can certainly take them to a clinic to have these parts replaced. These procedures are straightforward and easy, and most opticians will provide these services for only a small cost. But in most cases, it is unnecessary to take your glasses to a professional for these types of repairs. 

Repairing hinges and nose pads yourself

Repairing or replacing loose hinges and nose pads are some of the most effortless DIY glasses repair methods. You can purchase a repair kit for glasses at most grocery stores, costing anywhere from $3 to $20. These kits should have everything you need to make small repairs. A glasses repair kit will contain a small screwdriver, screws of varying sizes, nose pads and a carrying case. You can use the screwdriver to tighten hinges and nose pads or to replace them altogether. It is a good idea to carry one of these kits with you so unexpectedly losing a screw or nose pad does not catch you off guard. 

You may also use these kits to provide routine maintenance for your glasses. It is a good idea to check the tightness of your screws regularly and even replace them every once in a while to ensure their quality. 

If you do not have an eyeglasses repair kit but need a quick fix for a missing hinge screw, there is a fast, temporary solution. This is only a short-term fix; you should replace the missing screw as soon as possible. Align the hinge so that you can see the hole where the screw usually fits. In this space, insert a small piece of wire through the hinge. Pass the wire through the hinge a couple of times, and twist if necessary to keep in place. This fix should hold until you can purchase a glasses repair kit or take your glasses to an optician

Choosing the best care for your glasses

Whether you broke your glasses in half or just lost a nose pad, there is probably a fix for your broken glasses. Some damages require professional repairs, like broken metal frames or shattered lenses. On the other hand, you can undertake a great many glasses repair methods on your own, in the comfort of your own home. 

Usually, taking your glasses to an optician for a fix will cost more than repairing glasses on your own. But taking your glasses to a professional ensures they will be restored with care and precision. 

While there are many repair methods for glasses, it's ultimately up to you to decide how to care for them. But, consider your options carefully when choosing a repair method. It could mean a world of difference to your vision.  

SEE RELATED: When to replace your glasses

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