How to fix scratched sunglasses

scratched sunglasses outdoors

Sunglasses often get scratched during everyday use, whether accidentally dropped or damaged while playing a sport. But how do you fix scratched sunglasses?

There are plenty of tips and tricks for how to fix or conceal sunglass lens scratches — from massaging them with toothpaste or baking soda to simply waxing them. But how well these fixes actually work depends on the type of lenses and their coating. 

And unfortunately, none of these methods is guaranteed to remove the scratch from your sunglass lenses. The only foolproof fix for scratches is ordering a replacement for the damaged lens — or, if this isn’t an option, a new pair of sunglasses with a scratch-resistant coating. 

Let's look at some of the ways to remove scratches from sunglasses and how to avoid scratches to your sunglasses in the first place:

Can you buff scratches out of sunglasses?

Search online, and you’ll find plenty of tutorials instructing you to use toothpaste, baking soda, or even sandpaper to polish the surface of your lenses until any scratches are gone. 

The method is simple: Just apply the abrasive substance or cleaner to your lenses using a cotton ball or lint-free cloth and rub until the toothpaste or baking soda is absorbed. Repeat until you can no longer see the scratches.

But note the word abrasive. As promising as these tutorials might be, using an abrasive product to “fix” scratched lenses could make the problem worse. 

While buffing away enough of the lens’ surface to remove visible scratches, you’ll also may have removed any anti-reflective or mirrored coating on the lens. 

Do-it-yourself methods of fixing scratched sunglass lenses also can reduce how well they protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays or shield your eyes from glare. The visual quality of your lenses could be damaged, too, making it even harder to see through your sunglasses than before you “fixed” them.

Are there any other home remedies to fix scratched sunglasses?

There are specially designed products that claim to smooth or conceal scratches on eyeglass or sunglass lenses, similar to the way car wax or silver polish work. 

These waxy substances coat and shine your lenses to make scratches less noticeable and help to prevent further damage. 

These waxy substances must be reapplied frequently, making them a temporary fix at best. And they come with one major disadvantage: Applying a waxy coating to your sunglasses’ lenses will distort your vision whenever you look through the lenses. 

Overall, no method for “repairing” scratches on your sunglasses will work without compromising how well you see through them.

You might consider abrasive buffers or other home remedies if your sunglasses are inexpensive or if you care more about how they look than how effectively they protect your eyes and vision. 

It’s never a good idea, however, to try these methods on prescription sunglasses or those with specialty lens coatings because of the damage these “fixes” will almost certainly do to the lenses.

RELATED: Broken glasses: Repair methods and cost

Preventing scratched sunglass lenses

Preventing scratches is the best way to keep your sunglasses looking good — and capable of protecting your eyes. Follow this list of tips to reduce the risk of scratched sunglass lenses:

  • Always store your sunglasses in a clean, protective case. 

  • Don’t just toss sunglasses into your beach bag or purse between wearings. 

  • Follow manufacturers’ cleaning instructions, and never polish your sunglasses with saliva or the tail of your shirt. 

  • Consider wearing a head strap if you’re participating in activities in which your sunglasses might be likely to be jostled or fall off.

Replacing scratched sunglass lenses

Several major sunglasses brands offer replacement lenses for some frame styles, so it’s always worthwhile to check with the manufacturer to see if replacement lenses are available. 

If your lenses originally came with a scratch-resistant coating, replacement might even be covered under a warranty. Call the sunglasses manufacturer or an optician to find out if yours are covered by a warranty.

Invest in high-quality sunglasses frames and lenses with a scratch-resistant coating, and then protect your investment by developing good habits when wearing and caring for your sunglasses. You’ll have clear vision through your shades for a long time to come.

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