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How to pop lenses back into glasses

Pair of glasses with lens popped out.

What happens if a lens pops out of my glasses?

According to a 2021 report by The Vision Council, 166.5 million U.S. adults wear prescription glasses. With so many people relying on eyeglasses to improve their vision, it can be helpful to know how to put a lens back into your glasses if it falls out.

Whether you are a seasoned glasses-wearer or just got your first pair, this guide can walk you through the steps of putting lenses back into plastic or metal frames. Keep in mind, while there are safe ways to put a lens back in yourself, it may be better to take your glasses to an optician rather than attempt a DIY fix at home.

How to put lenses back into glasses

If an accidental drop or other incident causes one or both of your lenses to come out of your eyeglass frames, you may be able to put the lenses back in yourself. While we recommend that you seek help from an optician for this type of repair, there are some steps you can take to try and fix different frame types at home:

Plastic frames

Many different materials can be used to make so-called "plastic" frames, including zyl acetate, carbon material and nylon.  

Some materials will require heat to insert the lens properly and others won’t. For frames not requiring heat, simply align the lens with the frame’s groove (or bevel) from the back and pop the lens into place. You can use your thumbs to press on the top and bottom of the lens until it clicks into place. 

Metal frames

When putting lenses back into metal frames, you will need a mini screwdriver from an eyeglass repair kit (this can be purchased at any drugstore).  

Loosen the screw just enough to allow space for aligning the lens with the frame front. The lens will have a bevel that needs to fit into the groove of the frame. Once you've secured the lens into the groove, you can tighten the screw back into place.   

Double-check that the first lens is secure before moving on to the other one. 

Reasons for lens removal or replacement

There are several reasons why you may need or want new lenses in your existing glasses, including:

  • Scratched lensesScratches on your eyeglass lenses can blur your vision and make it difficult to see clearly.

  • Damaged lenses – Broken lenses may no longer fit properly in the frame.

  • Prescription changes – If your vision has changed, you may need new lenses in your updated prescription

  • Cost – Keeping your frames and just replacing the lenses can be more cost-effective than purchasing a full new pair of glasses.

If you’re ready to get new lenses in your frames, there are plenty of optical stores that will be happy to replace your old lenses with new ones. You just need to have a current eyeglass prescription when visiting your local optician. They can assess the state of your frame to determine if it is suitable for replacement lenses.

Keep in mind that there is a risk when you choose to use frames you already own for new lenses. It’s possible the frames may break in the lens replacement process, and the lab will not be responsible for any breakage that occurs.  

In some instances, you'll need to leave your frame with the optician until the new lenses are ready so you’ll need a backup pair to use in the meantime.

SEE RELATED: How to buy new lenses for your favorite frames

Why you shouldn’t pop lenses out of glasses

If you're wondering how to pop lenses out of glasses, it's better if you don't even try. Popping lenses out at home can actually be dangerous if done the wrong way. 

You run the risk of breaking your glasses (and lenses), and you may damage the bevel (or groove) that keeps the lenses positioned in your frames. If this happens, the lenses may be more likely to dislodge and hurt your eyes if something were to hit your head or face. 

Even if you think you know how to pop out glasses lenses safely, the removal process is more complicated than it looks, and it varies based on the type of frames you own. 

And remember, if you think you need to pop your lenses out of your frames to replace them, you don’t. Optical stores and online lens replacement services will remove the old lenses and fit your new lenses into your frames so you don’t have to. 

The best part? Experienced professionals handle all aspects of your frame’s lens removal and replacement so you don’t risk major damage at home.

How opticians remove lenses without breaking them

To reduce the risk of damaging your glasses, opticians take the following precautions when removing lenses from eyeglasses. They:

  • Use the proper tools – Opticians have access to special tools and instruments designed specifically for working with eyeglass lenses and frames.

  • Handle your eyeglasses with care – Applying too much pressure or heat can cause damage to the frame as well as the lenses. There are certain lens coatings that are not able to withstand heat and must be removed prior to any heat applied to the frame. 

  • Do not over-tighten the screws – This advice applies to people working with metal frames. Adjusting the screws too tightly can strip the eye wire barrel, which can cause the screw to come loose repeatedly in the future.

SEE RELATED: Broken glasses: Repair methods and cost

When to see an optician

While some minor frame adjustments can be done at home, there are certain situations where it's best to seek professional help:

  • The temples (arms) of your eyeglasses are too tight or too wide and need to be adjusted.

  • The nose pads are causing you discomfort and need to be adjusted or replaced.

  • The lens does not fit properly in the frame, even after attempting to snap it back into place.

Always handle your glasses with care and avoid using excessive force when making any adjustments at home. Remember that you can always seek assistance from an optician if you need help. 

READ NEXT: How to adjust and tighten your glasses at home

The Vision Council organizational review. The Vision Council. December 2021.

How to choose the glasses frame material that's right for you. EyeSmart. American Academy of Ophthalmology. April 2020.

How to adjust eye glasses. wikiHow. August 2023.

What is an optician? Cleveland Clinic. November 2022.

Optician tools. Opticianedu.org. Accessed November 2023.

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