How to Adjust Glasses

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What Causes Glasses to Loosen?

Eyeglasses can loosen, which requires adjustments. If you are new to wearing glasses or you’ve never had loose glasses before, you might think you need a professional to fix the problem. The good news is, this usually isn’t the case, and you can tighten your glasses at home.

Glasses loosen for many different reasons. Most people put on and remove their glasses several times each day. The back and forth movements of the glasses’ arms increase the likelihood that they’ll loosen.

What can you do to fix your glasses if they become loose?

How to Adjust Your Glasses at Home

It’s almost always possible to adjust your glasses at home. Unless they break and need repair, there are several things you can do to fix a loose pair of eyeglasses.

How to Tighten Glasses

Sometimes you can tighten your glasses frames when they are too loose.

Most pairs of eyeglasses have a screw located at the temple hinge on both sides. You can tighten this screw to make your glasses more comfortable or prevent them from falling apart. It’s a good idea to check these screws periodically so you can tighten them before they fall out.

You’ll probably need an optometric screwdriver to tighten the screws in your glasses. You can also use a small screwdriver as long as it fits into the screw top.

To tighten, you’ll turn the screw clockwise until there is resistance. This moves the frame inward toward your head. Make sure you don’t over-tighten because it can strip the screw or snap the frames.

How to Adjust Eyeglasses

Sometimes glasses need other adjustments. Often the arms need adjustment, so they sit better over your ears. This is usually the case if your glasses are digging into your ears or the sides of your head.

Some eyeglasses withstand manual bending. If they slip off your nose, you can twist the earpieces inward toward your head. This works best with wireframes, but it’s also possible with plastic frame glasses. You’ll just need to make the plastic pliable by warming it up in hot or warm water before bending it.

How to Adjust Glasses Arms

If the adjustment is needed in the arms of the glasses, you can maneuver them to make them fit better. Chances are if you wear glasses, at some point they’ll feel tilted or crooked. Sometimes it’s noticeable and you see the tilt when wearing your glasses. Other times, it’s a subtle tilt and you’ll need to put your glasses on a flat surface to see the problem.

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Keep in mind, your glasses might sit crooked on a flat surface but feel comfortable and look fine on your face. This likely means you have uneven ears. You’ll want to leave your glasses’ arms crooked so they feel and look good when wearing them. 

If your glasses lay flat on a table but feel uncomfortable, you’ll need to adjust the glasses’ arms to accommodate your uneven ears.  Eyewear should always suit your face shape, even if that means they are crooked.

The way you choose to level the temple arms is based on the type of glasses you have. Wireframes bend easily. You can bend them with your fingers or use a small pair of pliers to gently adjust the arms.

Plastic frames need to be warmed before they can bend. You can warm the glasses in hot water for about 30 seconds or with a hairdryer, but be careful not to overheat. Once it’s warm enough to accept the adjustment, you can slowly move the plastic up or down into the proper position. 

How to Adjust Plastic Glasses Bridge

Sometimes the nose bridge of your glasses needs adjusting because they don’t sit comfortably on your nose. If this is the case, you’ll need to adjust the nose pads on either side of the bridge.

If your glasses sit high on your face, move the nose pieces or pads further apart. If they sit too low, pinch the pads with your fingers so they are closer together.

Do your best to move each pad at equal amounts so your glasses remain symmetrical. 

How to Adjust Crooked Glasses

Traditional metal frames are the easiest style of glasses to adjust. To make adjustments to metal frame glasses, you’ll want to:

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  • Hold the frame of your glasses with your non-dominant hand.
  • Use your other hand to grab the piece that needs adjusting. If you’re using pliers, use your non-dominant hand to grip the pliers and pinch the part in need of adjustment.
  • Rotate your hand or the pliers until you’ve made the adjustment.

Always make adjustments a little bit at a time, stop, try on your glasses, and re-adjust as needed.

How to Adjust Metal Frame Glasses 

Adjusting plastic frame glasses is more difficult than metal frames, but it’s still possible to do this at home with an additional step. 

To adjust metal frames:

  • Before you begin the adjustment, you’ll need to warm your glasses using hot water or a hairdryer for about 30 seconds to two minutes.
  • Once warm and pliable, gently bend your glasses as needed.
  • Wait until they cool and try them on.
  • If additional adjustments are needed, reheat them and readjust.

You should never try to bend plastic glasses without heating them first because the plastic is brittle and will snap. If you have doubts that warming the plastic won’t be effective, take your glasses to an optician for adjustments.

What to Do if Your Glasses Squeeze Your Temples

If your glasses squeeze your temples, you should loosen them. It’s common to experience headaches and discomfort when your glasses squeeze too tight.

If you need to bend the glasses part, use your non-dominant hand to hold your glasses and your other hand to push the corner of the frames gently apart. You’ll want to push on the corner area where the hinge and lens meet. Once you do this on one side, repeat on the other side until you reach a comfortable width for your glasses.

Keep in mind, you’ll only want to do this with traditional wire or plastic glasses. Not all plastic-rimmed glasses can handle the adjustment, even after warming them. You should never adjust rimless and semi-rimless glasses at home.

When to Take Your Glasses to a Professional

How do you know when you shouldn’t fix your glasses home?

In most cases, it’s based on the material from which your glasses are made. Some frame materials can be adjusted at home, while others require professional attention. This is the case for glasses made from:

  • Aluminum alloy
  • Memory plastic
  • Titanium or memory titanium

The more durable your frames, the less likely you are to have success making adjustments at home. Small adjustments work best. Leave major adjustments to the professionals.

If the problem is that the frame size is wrong, you’ll need to invest in new glasses. There’s only so much you can do to make glasses fit your face better.

It’s also risky to make adjustments on rimless or semi-rimless styles because they are fragile.

If you decide to try an at-home adjustment, make sure you have an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses before attempting the adjustment. This way you have a spare to wear until you can get a professional adjustment if your at-home attempts don’t work. 

In some cases, you’ll need a new pair of glasses if your adjustments broke your eyeglass frames beyond repair.

Finally, keep in mind that adjustments shouldn’t replace regular visits to an optometrist. Proper eye care includes routine visits to an eye doctor for exams. If it’s been awhile since you’ve had an exam and your glasses need adjusting, it’s worth it to wait for a professional adjustment.

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Resources
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Harvard Health Publishing. “Are You Wearing the Correct Eyeglass Prescription?” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/are-you-wearing-the-correct-eyeglass-prescription.

“Headaches because of Glasses? The Fix Might Be Simple (2019 Update) - Endmyopia® - Understanding Nearsightedness.” Endmyopia.org, endmyopia.org/headaches-because-of-glasses-the-fix-might-be-simple/.

“How to Take Care of Your Eyeglasses - Consumer Reports.” Www.consumerreports.org, www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/08/how-to-take-care-of-your-eyeglasses/index.htm.

“5 Vision Myths Debunked.” Healthcare.utah.edu, healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2017/09/vision-myths.php.

“Wearing Glasses for the First Time.” Visionworks.com, 2021, www.visionworks.com/articles-wearing-glasses-for-the-first-time.

“How to Care for the Glasses You Wear Every Day.” Martha Stewart, www.marthastewart.com/8060409/how-care-daily-glasses.

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