How To Pop Lenses Out Of Sunglasses (Easy Fix & Replace)

Whether you need new prescription lenses, want to upgrade to a new frame style, or simply want to clean the inside of your glasses, popping lenses out is a basic skill all eyeglass wearers should know. 

With a little practice and the right technique, you’ll be swapping lenses in no time. 

Before we dive in, I do want to point out that the following steps are intended to provide basic guidance only. For expensive or designer glasses, I would strongly encourage consulting a qualified optician for any lens replacement needs. Attempting repairs without proper training and equipment could risk damaging your glasses. I cannot guarantee the techniques will work for all sunglass frames or be damage-free. Always wear eye protection like safety glasses when performing any repairs!

With that being said, let’s break down the easy steps!

Gather Your Tools

To start, you’ll need the glasses themselves along with a few simple tools.

For plastic frames, your fingers usually do the trick. But metal frames may require a tiny screwdriver from an eyeglass repair kit or jeweler’s screwdriver set.

A soft, non-stretchy fabric like a microfiber cloth prevents scratches.

It’s a good idea to have a repair kit on hand for any metal parts or nose pads that may need to be adjusted.

Look for a kit that includes precision screwdrivers in multiple sizes, a nylon wire for bending or removing nose pads, and tweezers for retrieving any small loose parts.

This will make lens changes and repairs much easier down the line.

You’ll also want a clean, steam-free workspace and some warm water for heating up plastic frames as needed. And make sure to always wear safety glasses when performing any repairs!

Gathering the right tools ahead of time results in a smoother lens replacement process.

Warm Up Plastic Frames 

If you have plastic frames, warming up the plastic makes it more flexible for easy removal.

After having put on your safety glasses, run the frames under warm water or hold them in the steam from a hot bath or towel for 30 seconds.

This brings the plastic to around the temperature of a hot bath without melting or warping the material.

Avoid boiling water which can damage the frames.

Gentle heat is all that’s needed to loosen the plastic enough for lens changes.

Holding the frames close to the steam vent of a kettle provides an easy heat source.

Allow the frames to cool fully before attempting to remove lenses, as handling them while still warm risks distortion of the plastic.

Once slightly flexible, the lenses can be removed by inserting an index finger near the edge and applying light pressure from the rim of the lens outward.

Be sure not to use too much force which could potentially crack the plastic.

Pop Out the Lenses

Once prepped, follow these steps to pop out lenses of your glasses:

  1. Put on your safety glasses and hold the frame in one hand with the inside facing up. Place your thumb and index finger on the top inside edge of one lens, near the inner lens tab.
  2. Apply gentle, steady pressure to pop the top edge of the lens out of the frame groove. Move your fingers around the lens edge, freeing it a little at a time. Using your index finger allows for more precise control than attempting this with your whole hand.
  3. Once the top is out, use your other steady hand to support the lens from the inside. Gently work your fingers around the lens to fully release it from all sides of the frame. At this point, you may need to flex the frame slightly outward using your fingertips for tighter-fitting acetate or rimless frames.
  4. Set the freed lens aside and repeat on the other side. Be careful not to apply too much force which could break or scratch the lenses or frames. Go slowly and gently “walk” the lens out bit by bit.
  5. For metal frames, use the tiny screwdriver to gently pry up the edge of the lens near the screws. Carefully unscrew any parts holding the lens in place before easing it out. Pay attention to any metal parts so they don’t fall out of place inside the frame.

Insert New Lenses 

To insert new lenses, reverse the removal steps:

  1. Put on your safety glasses and hold the frame steady in one hand with the inside facing up. Use your other hand to guide the new lens into position inside the frame.
  2. Starting at one top corner, gently push the lens edge down into the frame groove using steady, even pressure all around. Work your way around the lens, “walking” it into place. 
  3. For metal frames, carefully screw any parts back into position while holding the lens steady. Don’t over-tighten the screws.
  4. Double check the lens is securely in place all around before moving to the other side. Give the frames a test to ensure smooth movement of the nose pads and hinges too.

Additional Tips

– Warm plastic frames under warm running water for an even heat and to avoid overheating any parts. 

– For stubborn lenses, use a tiny amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth to lubricate the lens edge for easier removal and replacement. 

– Store old lenses in a safe place in case you need them again. Label the lenses and frames to avoid mix ups.

– Consider an eyeglass repair kit for basic at-home lens changes on all frame materials. Look for one with precision screwdrivers, nylon wire, and other tools.

With the right techniques, changing eyeglass lenses at home is simple.

Keep in mind that it’s important to work carefully and avoid excessive force.

Other Questions You May Have

Can I replace just one lens if it gets scratched?

You can replace individual lenses as needed. Follow the removal and insertion steps above to swap out the damaged lens while keeping the other in the existing frame. Just be sure to label each lens side as you go to avoid mix ups.

What if my frames are acetate or have a loose/missing nose pad?

For acetate frames, gently flexing the top half of the frame outward can help pop lenses out. Loose or missing nose pads may require replacement. Look for replacement nose pads online or at an optician. You’ll need small screwdrivers to secure the new part in the nose bridge area.

The lenses seem really stuck. Any tips?

For stubborn lenses, try warming the frames further under hot water. You can also use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth to lubricate the lens edges. Go slowly and avoid excess force which could damage the plastic or frame.

Can I change the lenses myself on brand new glasses?

Many opticians allow lens changes for new frames purchased through them as well, so especially when it comes to brand new glasses, I wouldn’t start messing with them myself but instead try and get a professional to do it. 

Especially when you’ve never popped out lenses yourself, it might be better to practice on old frames first.

How do I ensure the new lenses sit perfectly?

Take your time inserting each lens, using gentle steady pressure all around the edges. Check the fit from all angles before moving to the other side. Give the frames a test for smooth movement too. A little adjustment may be needed at first for the perfect fit.

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