Polishing Grazed Eyeglasses

One day my eyeglasses (Warby Parker brand) mysteriously developed a grazing on both lenses. My theory is that it resulted from wearing them under ski goggles on a very cold day on the slopes in Utah and then quickly removing the goggles, causing a rapid temperature change in the plastic lens. I believe it’s possible that the relative difference in thermal expansion between a coating on the lens and the lens itself causes the coating to develop micro cracks across the surface. Whatever the reason, I ended up with glasses that I could barely see through. I have quite poor eyesight, so really need my glasses for pretty much everything. What to do?

My first attempt at correction was to go into the Warby Parker store and ask if they could polish my lenses. (I assumed this was a standard procedure. It’s not.) The store said they would replace the lenses under warranty if less than a year old. (Mine were three years old.) They said they’d replace the lenses at modest cost (maybe $50?) but that this would take a couple of weeks. I was traveling, couldn’t do without the glasses and didn’t have a spare pair. I was then planning to order a new pair, but needed a new eye exam, etc. etc.

So, I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands. Youtube and Google were no real help. (Thus, this post; hoping it’s helpful to others.) The first thing I tried was polishing the lenses with a slurry of water and toothpaste, just using my index finger. This sort-of worked…at least giving me an area in the center of the lens I could sort of see out of. I discovered, however, that there are at least two different coatings on the lens and it’s not easy to remove both with an index finger and toothpaste.

Here’s what finally worked. I bought from Amazon a cordless dremel tool, some felt polishing heads, and cerium dioxide polishing compound. You can see the items in the photo. I then used a slurry of water and the polishing compound with the Dremel tool to polish the lenses. It takes 10 minutes or so and you must be very careful to keep everything wet so the lens doesn’t overheat and melt. But, the result is really good. I can see again. You can see in the second photo the edge of the lens and the transition from the region where the coating has been removed and the still-coated area. (I am going to get new glasses, so didn’t get too persnickety about removing every bit of coating.)

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