Repaired vs. Buying New Glasses: What’s the Right Choice?

Breaking your glasses is a frustrating experience. Here’s help deciding if it’s worth trying to repair them — or if it’s time to replace them.

Woman testing new glasses with optician

We've all been there at one point or another — hearing that excruciating "crunch!" as you sit or step on your glasses. After surveying the damage, your next move can be equally painful: deciding whether to repair your glasses or buy new ones.

Here at America's Best, your eyes are our primary concern. We also believe that high-quality, functional and stylish eyewear should be affordable for everyone. If you find yourself with broken glasses, here are some points to consider as you decide whether to repair or replace them.

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Repairing Your Glasses at Home

If your damage is minimal, repairing your glasses might be a good option.

“You'd be surprised by the number of repairs you can make yourself at home,” says Mike Vaughan, retail operations manager at National Vision Inc.

America's Best sells a great general eyeglass repair kit that fits right into your purse or pocket. This kit includes a metal screwdriver and two commonly used hinge screws for frames, all packaged within a convenient tube. (We also sell cleaning kits and keychain screwdrivers.)

Here are some of the issues you can fix at home with this kit.

A lens popped out of your metal frames

This might seem like an intimidating repair, but it’s possible to tackle by yourself. Ever notice the tiny hinges on your metal frames — the ones that aren’t attached to the frame arms? Take a small screwdriver from your repair kit and remove the screws from that hinge.

“Once the screws are out, you can open it up and fit the lens back into the into the frame,” Vaughan says. Then close it back up and put the screws back in.

Your nose pads are worn out

This is a fairly easy one, especially because most modern nose pads don’t have screws holding them in place.

“They just pop off and you can pop new ones back on,” Vaughan says. And if your nose pads do have screws, that small screwdriver from the repair kit will come in handy.

Screws are loose

If you notice a screw coming loose from a hinge, it’s usually not an issue. They get loose from normal everyday wear. Just use the screwdriver from the repair kit to screw it back in.

“Even if the screws in your glasses don’t look loose, it’s a good idea to tighten them every once in a while,” says Vaughan. “Tightening those screws down is a simple thing that can make you feel like you have a brand-new pair of glasses.”

You need a basic adjustment

Depending on how bad the damage is, you can make a minor adjustment to your frames with some gentle manipulating of the arms.

If you’re nervous about breaking your glasses while trying to fix them, you can bring them to America’s Best anytime to be adjusted by an expert.

“You’re empowered to make these basic repairs yourself, but we still encourage you to visit,” says Vaughan. “We like when people bring their glasses into the store because it gives us a chance to fully inspect the glasses and make sure they’re still in good shape.”

Repairing Your Glasses at America’s Best

There are some repairs that aren’t as easy to make at home. Opticians at America’s Best have access to more advanced tools to help with some of these finer repairs. You might consider bringing in your glasses if you’re dealing with these issues. And don’t forget: Adjustments at America’s Best are always free.

A lens popped out of your semi-rimless frames

While it's possible to pop a lens back into regular metal frames, semi-rimless frames are a different story. Because the rim doesn’t wrap all the way around the lens, a thin, clear piece of string (called tech monofilament liner) holds the lens in place.

It’s similar to fishing line, Vaughan says. If a lens pops out of a rimless frame, it’s likely this clear string has snapped. The opticians at America’s Best can restring them for you.

Your frame arm is detached because a screw fell out

You can tighten loose screws on your frame arms, so why can’t you reattach a frame arm by yourself? It’s because of a feature called a spring hinge, Vaughan says.

Spring hinges are common in newer frames. They allow your frame arms to bend past 90-degrees. This extra leeway makes glasses more flexible and less likely to snap.

“Because of that spring, the hinge actually retracts in and covers the screw hole,” says Vaughan. “It's really, really, really frustrating and hard to get that screw to line back up.”

America’s Best has advanced tools in their stores, so there’s no need to stress yourself out trying this repair at home.

Recommended reading: 6 Things Your Optician Can Do Besides Help You Find New Frames

When It’s Time to Buy New Glasses

If the damage to your glasses is more serious, there’s a chance it won’t be able to be repaired. Here are the telltale signs you might be in the market for new glasses.

You see chips or cracks in the lens

There’s no way to fix a chipped or scratched lens. “There’s a specific curve that’s shaved into the lens that makes your prescription,” says Vaughan. “Any change to that curve or the lens surface area is going to change the prescription.”

Your frame arm is detached because the hinge broke

A detached arm can sometimes be screwed back on, but not if the metal hinge has broken.

“This type of break can happen when somebody gets used to taking their glasses off with one hand,” says Vaughan. “Eventually the pressure becomes too much and it just cracks.”

Recommended reading: Dos and Don’ts: How to Make the Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses You Love Last

Your frame is cracked

There’s no way to repair a crack in a frame or glue parts of a cracked frame back together. You’ll need a full replacement.

The finish has come off your frames

When the shiny finish wears off your frames — whether it’s from sweating or normal wear and tear — the frames can’t be refinished.

When in doubt, it is better to bring your eyeglasses into America's Best to have them looked at. Our friendly eye specialists can determine whether your glasses are repairable, or they can help you find the perfect replacement glasses.

We can even help you find a pair that is more durable and better suited to your lifestyle.

Do you live in a hot, humid climate and sweat a lot? “Maybe I want them in a titanium frame that’s anti-corrosive and super lightweight,” says Vaughan.

Do your lenses keep chipping? Upgrading to impact-resistant, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses may help.

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Try on frames anytime, anywhere!

With our virtual try-on tool, finding your perfect pair is as easy as looking into your camera.

How an America’s Best Breakage Protection Plan Can Help

Since your glasses withstand a lot of daily wear and tear, another great option is considering the Breakage Protection Plan when you buy new glasses.

America’s Best offers two types of protection plans that can help you save money if you or your children are very active or tend to be hard on your glasses:

Product Protection Plan

The Product Protection Plan protects your frames and lenses for one year for a small additional fee.

If your glasses break during the year or your eyeglasses lenses become scratched, we’ll replace them one time. You can pick out the same frame or a new frame style of the same value. You can even choose a more expensive frame — you’d just have to pay the difference.

KidsGear Package

This plan is for children ages 13 and under. It includes a wide variety of ultra-durable children’s frames in trendy colors and styles.

Even better: when you purchase a pair of glasses for a child aged 13 or under, they are automatically upgraded to polycarbonate lenses at no additional cost.

For an additional amount, America’s Best also offers a KidsGear Breakage Protection Plan that covers both pairs of glasses.

The Bottom Line

While it’s certainly irritating to break your glasses, repairing or replacing them doesn’t have to be a headache. At America’s Best, it is our goal to keep you seeing clearly for the best price available.

Whether you grab an inexpensive repair kit for a quick hinge repair, decide to use one of our Product Protection Plans or buy specialized glasses that better suit your fast-paced lifestyle, America's Best has you covered.

When it comes to deciding whether to repair or replace your broken frames, remember that it's safest to seek the help of a certified eye specialist.

Press play for more tips on how to take care of your eyeglasses: