If your glasses have begun to gather scratches, you may think that it's time for a new pair. But if your prescription is up to date, you may be able to preserve them. Many lenses are made with anti-glare coatings, and scratches made to these surface-layer coatings can be chemically removed. Even mild scratches to the lenses themselves can be polished away at home, saving money and increasing the life of your glasses.
Locate the scratches and determine whether your lenses have an anti-glare coating. To find out if there is a coating on your lenses, hold them up to the light at an angle. There will be a green tint to your lenses if they have a coating. If your lenses have an anti-glare treatment, try removing scratches from this layer first. If your glasses do not have a coating, skip to Step 4.
Gently apply Armour Etch, which can be found at craft stores, to both sides of your lenses using a cotton swab. Do not spread the Armour Etch around forcefully, since it is an abrasive substance that could further scratch your glasses. Use a liberal amount and coat the entire lens surface evenly.
Rinse off the Armour Etch with water after five minutes. You may need to gently wipe away any excess cream with a soft cloth, being careful not to scratch your lenses. Examine the lenses in the light to see if the coating and scratches are gone. If there is still coating on your lenses, repeat Steps 2 and 3. If the coating is gone but the scratches remain, move on to Step 4.
Coat the lenses with the polishing creme or spray included in a lens polishing kit. You can find these kits online or at your optometrist's office. Make sure to evenly coat the lenses.
Buff out the surface scratches on your lenses by using the soft cloth included with the polishing kit. You may need to use some force to gradually polish out the scratches. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until surface scratches have been removed.
If there are scratches too deep to buff out, it may be time for a new set of lenses. Visit your optometrist to discuss options.
Removing surface-layer scratches with Armour Etch will only work with polycarbonate lenses. Using this method on actual glass lenses will result in a frosted-glass effect.
Be extremely careful when working with Armour Etch. It can burn skin and irritate the eyes and mouth. Wear rubber gloves and keep the substance away from your face, pets and small children.
Make sure you have thoroughly rinsed off all of the Armour Etch before using a polishing kit. If there is still Armour Etch on the lenses, rubbing it in with a cloth will further scratch your lenses.
Using Armour Etch will remove your anti-glare coating, which blocks out harmful UV rays. If you'd rather not trade sun protection for scratch-free lenses, you may want to consult your optometrist about replacing your glasses.