What to Know if You Scratch Your Glasses

Medically Reviewed by Mahammad Juber, MD on August 30, 2022
4 min read

Eyeglasses need protection and constant care to last a long time. The payoff is clearer vision and no need for a new pair. On the other hand, if you have scratched glasses, that could lead to disturbed vision. Scratched lenses can lead to glare, reflections, or blurry vision. Bent or broken frames may not sit comfortably on your face, and that too can cause visual issues. 

Keeping your glasses clean and in proper form can help with a long visionary path for your glasses. 

If your glasses are scratched, though it is distracting or annoying, it usually will not affect your optical abilities. If your scratches are large enough, though, the distraction can be bad enough to cause eye strain or even headaches. If this is happening, there are no long-term effects, but if you choose, you can replace them. 

Scratched glasses are inconvenient, but wearing them does not cause permanent vision problems. The headache or strain can be annoying but will ultimately go away. A lot of people will get replacements. If you feel your problem has persisted even following replacement, contact your eye doctor. They will help to determine if your problem is caused by other visual issues. 

The quality of your eyeglasses is determined by the types of lenses that you choose. You may be able to get along fine with a basic plastic lens at level CR-39, or you may need polycarbonate or high index lenses, which are thinner but pricier. These are usually better for strong prescriptions

Once you pick your lenses and frames, there are several different types of lens coatings to choose from. From scratch resistance to light reduction, each one has its own properties. Some coatings are cosmetic only, but some can potentially improve your safety and comfort, depending on your prescription needs. Some coatings are included in your insurance eyeglass benefits price. Others may add up to 100 dollars to the total price. Some coatings like glare reduction have a wide range of pricing points, and experts agree that the most costly option does not definitely insure better quality. 

Some in-house brands are comparable to premium brands. 

Scratch-resistant glasses are popular among young people and active people. The anti-scratch coating will make your glasses more scratch-resistant if they are cleaned with an abrasive cloth or if dropped. Some polycarbonate and high index lenses are very vulnerable to scratches and would not last long without the scratch-resistant coating. 

This is usually included in the total glasses price, and something a little more strong may be available at a higher fee. Almost everything on the market now except the plainest and basic CR-39 lens is going to come with some type of scratch-resistant coating on it. 

Besides scratch resistance, there are many other options for glass lens coatings:

UV-Protective: Exposure to ultraviolent rays from the sun over time can lead to retina damage, cataracts, and other visual problems. Eyeglasses that have UV protection in the lens can help to protect the eyes. You also can purchase more coatings to protect your eyes or even get a lens with 100% protection. These glasses are vital for those who work or spend a substantial amount of time in the sun. It is usually included in the price of glasses and sunglasses. You can purchase more. Polycarbonate lenses naturally block UV rays. They may offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Anti-Reflective: This coating, also known as anti glare or AR, is usually applied to both surfaces of eyeglass lenses. It reduces the extent of light reflecting off the spectacle lens surface. It may also provide contrast enhancement of certain optics. 

Blue Blocking and Tinted: For this coating, dye is applied to the lens to help block visible light from coming into the eye. Light tints in deeper shades are available for both sunglasses and regular glasses. Some may simply like the look, but the tints also help with contrast for those with light sensitivity or retinal disorders. It also reduces discomfort from extreme light. These glasses are popular with pilots and marksmen. They ease eye strain and sleep problems. 

Tinting averages about 75 dollars, and blue blocking averages about 50. 

Most glasses are pretty scratch-resistant already. To help keep the lenses this way, the most basic step is to keep them in a case when they are not in use and use a microfiber scratch-free cloth for cleaning. The best way to clean them is to use non-moisturizing liquid hand soap or dishwashing detergent. Paint thinner, glass cleaner, or nail polish remover are not recommended due to their chemical content. Rinse your lenses with warm water and use a soft cloth for drying. Toilet paper, facial tissue, and paper towels are not recommended because they can scratch the lens.

Since most lenses come with a scratch-resistant coating, they are safe from minor damage, but they are not scratch-proof. They can be damaged by hair spray which can leave spots permanently. You should take off your glasses before styling your hair. Paint can be removed with your fingernail. Never place your glasses on a hard surface with the lens down.