Why Your Spare Pair of Glasses Is Important

Having a second set of frames means you’re ready if you lose or break your current ones. Find out if your old glasses will work or whether you need a new pair.

Female adult trying on glasses in the store

Even if you’re in love with your daily-wear frames, you shouldn’t overlook the value of having a good backup pair of glasses. We spoke with Sonal Soni, O.D., an optometrist at America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses in Orlando, Florida. She explains how to know whether your extra set is still a high-quality pair — and why it matters.  

Why Backup Glasses Matter 

Lots of things can happen to your regular pair of eyeglasses. They can get lost, cracked, or bent. Contact lens wearers also need a pair of glasses for times when they need to rest their eyes, are suffering from eye allergies, or have pink eye or another eye infection.  

“Don’t wait until something happens to have a backup pair — you’ll regret it,” says Dr. Soni. 

Glasses can take a couple of weeks before they’re ready. You don’t want to be left with an old pair with a prescription that’s so off that your vision is blurry or you get headaches.  

The eye care specialists at America’s Best can help you find lenses that are just right for you!  Learn more here.  

How to Determine Whether an Old Pair of Glasses Is a Keeper 

There’s a good chance you can still use them. To find out if yours will work, Dr. Soni says to check these three key factors:  

1. How old are they? 

The longer you’ve had your frames, the more likely they are to have issues with fit or an outdated prescription. Check the lenses for scratches too, which can cause blurry vision. And are you sure you know where they are in case you need them? They won’t do you any good if you don’t know where to find them. 

2. Do they still fit? 

Frames can stretch out of shape over time, or they can warp if they are exposed to excessive heat (if you leave them in a hot car, for instance). Glasses need to fit properly, so that the lenses line up with your pupil, says Dr. Soni. They are also more comfortable when they fit well.  

If you have progressive lenses (aka multifocals) and the frames are a bit loose, you may have to tilt your head back or lift or lower your glasses to read. If the lenses don’t align with your pupil, you’re also at greater risk of eye fatigue and headaches. 

3. Has your prescription changed a lot?  

If there’s not much difference between your previous prescription and your new one, then your old pair is probably just fine. “A backup pair of glasses should be close to your current prescription,” says Dr. Soni.  

If you’re up to date on your annual eye exam at America’s Best, your new prescription may have only minor adjustments. If you’re not sure, ask your optometrist before assuming there wasn’t a big change, Dr. Soni advises.  

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What to Look for When Buying a New Backup Pair 

Affordability always matters. The bulk of your eyewear budget should be put toward your everyday eyeglasses, says Dr. Soni. That’s where you’ll want to spend more on comfortable, durable frames and invest in upgrades such as ultrathin high-index lenses, an anti-glare coating, or photochromic lenses (so you won’t need a separate pair of sunglasses), she adds.  

But the backup pair can do without all the bells and whistles. “This pair doesn’t need to be fancy,” says Dr. Soni. “The important part is that you have your correct prescription in the backup frames.”  

Focus on finding glasses that fit and are comfortable. But the second pair can also be an opportunity to choose backup frames that express your personality with a bolder color or style. (Follow these tips for building an eyewear wardrobe on a budget.) 

If you know you need an everyday pair and a backup pair of glasses, there’s a very affordable option: The popular America’s Best 2 Pair offer makes it easy to choose two styles of frames that you like and are both in your current prescription for one low price — plus, the eye exam is included. 

If you haven’t bought new glasses in a while, make an appointment with an America’s Best optometrist to make sure your prescription doesn’t need adjusting.  

Press play for tips to find the best glasses for your face: 


Medically reviewed by Sonal Soni, O.D. 

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