Is it possible to remove scratches from my lenses?
All over social media we see “life hacks” and do-it-yourself videos on how to remove scratches from glasses. But do they really work?
The most common tip online is to use toothpaste. You apply a small amount of non-abrasive toothpaste on some cotton wool and gently rub your lens in a circular motion, slowly buffing away the scratches. Baking soda can be used as an alternative by adding water and making it into a thick paste, making slow circular motions on the lens. Other tips involve using car cleaning wax and glass etching cream.
Unfortunately, all these “hacks” involve buffing, or removing scratches by sanding down the surface until the scratch disappears. Essentially, a scratch is a depression on the surface of the lens. By buffing, you are grinding the surface of the lens to the same level as the scratch. This may create an uneven surface, distorting the quality of the lens – especially those with special lens enhancements like anti-reflection or UV protection tints – and ultimately ruin the optical performance and purpose of the lenses.
These solutions may work on small scratches, but if your lenses are badly scratched, it is best to go to your nearest optometrist to get them replaced.
The easiest way to have scratch-free spectacles is to take precaution when storing and cleaning them. Buy a hard case to store your spectacles when you’re not using them – that way, you can put it in your bag or leave it at home without having to worry about scratches. When cleaning, always use a microfiber cloth to wipe the lenses. Wear contact lenses or buy protective glasses to wear over your prescribed glasses if you know you’re going for activities that may potentially scratch your lenses.
Remember, nothing beats taking good care of your spectacles in the first place.