If you’ve washed them and given them a quick swipe, yet you still can’t see clearly out of your readers or eyeglasses, it may because of scratched lenses. Before you shell out big bucks for new lenses, we asked eyeglass experts how to fix scratched glasses. Keep scrolling for their easy remedies.
Why glasses scratch so easily
You’ve kept your spectacles properly in their case when not in use, and tried to keep them clean when wearing them — so what gives? How did they get scratched in the first place? “Most lenses are made from plastic, rather than actual glass,” explains optician Chloe Tauaefa, ABOC, of All About Vision. “Dust, lint and dirt cling to plastic due to the static charge it emits, and we often rub these particles into the lenses when we’re trying to clean them, creating hairline scratches that get bigger and more noticeable over time.”
Another common cause of scratched glasses? Trying to clean them with anything other than a microfiber cloth or the cleaning cloth that came with the pair. “Even materials that seem soft, like a t-shirt, can damage the lens, and materials like toilet paper, tissue and paper towels are especially abrasive,” Tauaefa reveals. “Over time, cleaning your glasses with these materials will damage the lenses.”
How to fix scratched glasses
Before diving into any of the easy techniques below, it’s important to note that while they can repair minor scratches and abrasions, they may also impact special coatings, like blue-light or anti-glare protection. Just be sure to consult your eye doctor, then give these clever strategies a try.
1. How to fix scratched glasses with toothpaste
You may have heard that toothpaste can be used to remove scratches on your car’s headlights by creating a gently abrasive “scrub.” Turns out the same tip works on your eyeglasses, says ophthalmologist Rahil Chaudhary, M.D. “Use a mild, non-gel toothpaste — skip charcoal or ‘flavor crystals’ — and gently rub a dime-size amount with a microfiber cloth over the scratched area of the lens, then rinse with water and dry.
2. With baking soda
This method works like toothpaste to create a paste that will buff away surface scratches. Says Dr. Chaudhary, “Simply combine one spoonful of baking soda with half a spoon of water to create a thick paste and rub it oh the lenses using a microfiber cloth or cotton ball in a circular motion until the scratches are buffed away.”
3. How to fix scratched glasses with *metal* polish
Polishes designed to shine up metal can do the same for your glasses. Look for ones labeled “non-abrasive,” such as Flitz Green Metal Plastic and Fiberglass Polish, at Home Depot (Buy from HomeDepot, $14.52) or Mr. Metal Metal Polish (Buy from Amazon, $7.79). Apply a dime-size amount to your lenses and rub it in using a microfiber cloth. When done, wipe the polish off using rubbing alcohol.
Check out an easy how-to in this YouTube video from NeverEnuffAmmo:
4. With *this* wax
While car and furniture wax won’t remove nicks on your glasses, they will fill them in, making them much less noticeable, says optician Amy Klause in her video.
Simply apply a dime-size amount of wax to your lenses and use your fingers to gently rub it in. When you’re done, buff the lenses with a microfiber cloth until they are clear and shiny again.
A few waxes to try: Turtle Wax Scratch Repair or Formula One Scratch Out, both at Amazon; or furniture wax like Pledge or Trewax Clear Paste Wax (Buy from ACE Hardware, $13.99)
To prevent scratches in the future
Now that you know how to remove scratches from your glasses, read on for a few simple strategies that will prevent them in the first place. “The first step is easy: When they’re not on your face, the safest place for your glasses is in their case,” declares Tauaefa. While hard cases offer the best protection, she says cloth versions can also work in a pinch and are better than no case at all.
Next, always rest your glasses on the frame — arms-side down — rather than face-down on the lenses and avoid resting them on top of your head. Believe it or not, your hair can scratch the lenses! If you frequently take your glasses on and off during the day, say, to read small print, it’s best to buy a chain or cord to allow you to wear them around your neck. Find inexpensive options online at Amazon and Etsy, as well as in drugstores and jewelry stores.
“Last, while there is no such thing as ‘scratch-proof’ lenses, most if not all eyeglass manufacturers do offer scratch resistant lens treatments, which I recommend for any set of prescription lenses or ones you hope to keep scratch-free for as long as possible,” says Tauaefa. “Some scratch-resistant coatings have a two-year warranty, and some have no warranty at all, so check with your eye doctor before choosing a coating.”
How to know when it’s time to replace glasses
While repairing scratches at home can extend the life of your glasses, there comes a time when we all need to invest in a new pair. “Think of lens scratches like cracks in your windshield,” says Tauaefa. “A small chip outside your sightline may not affect your driving ability and you can probably ignore it, but a large crack in the middle of your windshield will impair your view and requires replacement. If the scratches are making it difficult to see even after attempting some of the methods above, it’s time for a new pair.”
Note: If your glasses are more than a year old, your vision may have changed since your last eye exam — and your glasses prescription may have expired. Consider contacting your eye doctor to schedule an exam.
For more eyeglass stories, click through the links below!
First For Women aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. Questions? Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org