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Effective ways to fix scratched glasses

Scratch samples on the surface of eyeglasses.

Why scratches on glasses are a concern

One of the most common concerns you may have as a glasses wearer is how to fix scratched glasses. Dirty or scratched eyeglass lenses can make it difficult for the wearer to see people, signs and other objects. Not only can this be annoying — it can cause problems in various situations. 

If you rely on glasses to correct your vision for work, driving or other tasks, a deep enough scratch can prevent you from focusing on the things you need to see. Scuffs in your line of vision can also interfere with basic activities.

You can rest assured that while they can be quite bothersome, minor scratches don’t affect the prescription of your lenses. Looking through a pair of scratched glasses also doesn’t harm your eyes. However, if scratches are extensive and affect the coatings of your lenses, your visual clarity may be impaired. Built-in ultraviolet protection can also be impacted by large scratches or damaged lens coatings.

You may also experience headaches, eye strain and other distractions due to the obstruction. 

Read on for tips on how to remove scratches from glasses, why they appear and how to prevent them in the first place.

SEE RELATED: Can you further impair your vision with scratched lenses? 

Common causes of scratches on eyeglasses

Scratches on eyeglasses can occur for a number of reasons, from improper cleaning to exposure to harsh temperatures.

Some of the more common reasons your lenses may become scratched include: 

  • Your glasses were mishandled or cleaned improperly.

  • You used too harsh of a chemical (such as a household cleaner) to clean your glasses.

  • The lens coating became damaged due to exposure to excessive heat or cold.

  • Your lenses were damaged during exercise or another activity.

  • Your lenses were scratched as a result of wiping off dust, dirt or grime that was stuck to their surfaces.

If you’re not sure how your lenses became scratched, ask your optician for some professional advice and insight.

DIY home remedies for scratch repair

If you’re researching how to get a scratch out of glasses, you’ll likely come across a number of “promised” solutions on the internet. But many of these can be too harsh for your lenses and may do more harm than good. 

Eyeglasses are meticulously crafted to correct specific vision problems, and any alteration to the lens surface can impact their effectiveness. DIY attempts to repair scratches may alter the lens surface, affecting the accuracy of the prescription and potentially causing discomfort or visual distortion. The best choice for scratched lenses that are affecting the clarity of your vision is to take them to your local optician for a professional evaluation.

If you decide to attempt a scratch repair on your own, there are a few DIY remedies that could potentially help. (But remember — it’s always best to seek professional assistance.)

To gently polish scratches off with baking soda:

  1. Gather 1 tablespoon of water and 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda and combine into a paste.

  2. Place some of the paste on a clean, dry microfiber cloth. 

  3. Rub your lenses in a circular motion with the cloth for up to 30 seconds, focusing on the scratch(es).

  4. Rinse your glasses with clean water and dry them with a second microfiber cloth.

To buff scratches out with toothpaste:

  1. Start with a plain, non-abrasive toothpaste. Avoid products that are gel-based or that contain abrasive additives, such as those designed for whitening. You should also avoid those that are not clear or white so that you don’t stain the lenses.

  2. Place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on each lens and massage it into your lenses for 10 seconds.

  3. Rinse your lenses with clean water and dry them off with a microfiber cloth.

To fill in scratches using car wax:

  1. Place a small amount of car wax (either the tub or spray type) on a clean microfiber cloth.

  2. Rub your lenses with the cloth in a circular motion until the scratches are filled in.

  3. Once the scratches are filled, use a second microfiber cloth to buff your lenses completely.

These methods are not guaranteed, especially if your lens damage is extensive. When cleaning or buffing your lenses in any capacity, be as gentle as possible. And if you have any trouble, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice.

Ways to prevent scratches on your glasses

It’s convenient to know how to fix scratches on glasses, but preventing them is also important. Here are some ways you can do so:

  • Avoid cleaning your lenses with abrasive materials, such as lotion or soaps with microbeads. Instead, use a gentle detergent such as dish soap.

  • Invest in high-quality lens wipes, as lower-quality ones can damage coatings and lead to scratches. It’s also important to be sure that your lens wipe is clean before use. Using a wipe that is dirty or that has sand or other debris on it could scratch the lens.

  • Always store your glasses in a padded, hard case when not in use. For extra protection, wrap your frames in a microfiber pouch or cloth before placing them in the case.

  • Use a microfiber cloth to wipe your lenses clean (or to dry them off). Towels, napkins and clothing can be too rough on the lens’ surface.

  • If you’re exercising, consider wearing contact lenses to eliminate the risk of damage to your glasses. If you’re an avid exerciser, you may want to consider a pair of sports glasses specifically for your workouts, so that your daily pair isn’t at risk of being damaged during your activities. 

When to seek professional help for scratched glasses

Using certain materials on your lenses can sometimes make things worse. If your glasses have extensive damage, a scratch in the center or other complicated scrapes, a glasses scratch repair is best handled by a professional. 

Professional solutions for scratched lenses

It’s always recommended that you bring damaged glasses or lenses to your eye care professional for an assessment. 

But when it comes to removing eyeglass scratches, sometimes the best solution is to replace the lenses altogether. If this is the case for you, don’t hesitate to ask your optician how to prevent scratches on your lenses and what may have caused them in the first place. 

Many lens materials require a special scratch-resistant lens coating to protect against scratches, so consider this when ordering new lenses. 

Everyone’s situation is different. Talk to your optical professional about your options and what best suits your needs.

READ NEXT: How to fix scratched sunglasses

Protecting your eyes at work. American Optometric Association. Accessed February 2024.

Do scratched lenses affect your prescription and/or the blue light coating? EyeSmart. American Academy of Ophthalmology. April 2021.

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