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Uses for Old Reading Glasses

Category Reusing
There are ways these glasses can be reused or passed on to someone who needs them. This guide contains uses for old reading glasses.


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May 19, 2011

At one point I ordered some 5X reading glasses online. The lenses were great, but the frames a bit flimsy and broke very quickly. I got the company to give me some new ones, but I was still left with the lenses from the broken frames.

Surprise! I found that I could put the lenses into old wire sun glasses frames! The lenses are not a complete fit, but the ridge on the edge is just enough to anchor them into the wire frames and make them useable. Handle them carefully and you will have another emergency pair of glasses. (I haven't tried it, but you might be able to do the same thing with broken prescription glasses.) I don't know about you, but I need all the reading glasses I can get!

By pam munro from Los Angeles, CA

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January 11, 2007

If you can't use your store bought reading glasses anymore, you can pass then on to friends. Unlike prescription ones, they won't make anyone else dizzy. I keep on passing on my old extras to my friend who always is losing them!


By pamphyila from Los Angeles

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May 26, 2010

Don't throw away those old plastic reading glass lenses if the cheap frames break! I managed to recycle a pair of stronger lenses into another cheap wire frame that was flexible enough to grip around the lenses and was the approximate size and shape. I eased the soft wire around the lens, putting it in place.

Result - another pair of emergency reading glasses. Someone crafty or good with a drill might also try recycling individual lenses into "monocles" of a sort to wear around the neck with a cord or ribbon. has tricks you can do with cameras using old lenses too.

By pam munro from L.A., CA

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By 0 found this helpful
July 24, 2007

Being so frugal, low income, and recycling everything possible, I found a very good and handy idea for my poor vision, having only one pair of proper strength glasses.


Every time I'm resting, I must take off my glasses, then should the phone ring, door knock, I scramble to find them. Same problem with books, phone, reading, Bible, magazines, and mail. I've got only one medium sized magnifier, but I have to walk all the time to get it, then walk to return it beside the easy chair where I watch TV and sew or mend at same time.

While cleaning out my grandson's drawers as a surprise for him while he's on vacation, I found a pair of metal rimmed glasses broken in the exact middle. At first I was just upset that they'd gotten broken. Then I tried something:

I had been making bookmarks and decided to heavy-glue a 1inch poly ribbon scrap about 12 inches long to one of the broken eyeglass halves. When it was dry, I decorated the attached place with tiny beads/pearls placing them just inside the metal rim carefully with marine glue and a toothpick, then added a different 1 inch flat grosgrain ribbon to the other half lens for a second one.

As they dried I had a handy decorated "Victorian" monocle magnifier for two books, with ribbons that could stay inside the book for convenient use when I needed extra magnification to read smaller print. The book also sits near my bathroom door for reading medicine labels and ingredient lists as well.

Before adding beads/pearls/ribbon, use a wire cutter to remove nose piece connections/ear-piece arms, and metal file any metal sharp places down gently. Glue ribbon to the worst of the two places on each of the lens pieces, as well as an additional piece of ribbon on the back-side of the attachment of the ribbon, dry well, then add beads or pearls.

This is not the easiest craft, but if the eyeglasses are fairly round or only slightly oval, the remaining metal framing strong, and the lens not too thick, it can be made to work and look attractive. The glue needs to be marine or extra strong household glue. Handle carefully so as not to nick fingers. I thought about bending the arm straight as a type of handle, but most glasses have arms too thin to hold, so I felt it best to remove them and embellish the rims well but thinly instead. The right kind of glue is critical to the success of this project. Don't make the embellishment too wide so as to reduce the visibility through the lens.

This wonderful frugal recycling craft serves not only as a lovely monocle, but also as a easy way to store it so it doesn't get lost too easily when needed, saving steps and frustration. I see no reason why all older unusable broken eyeglasses still in a metal frame could not be used for this purpose. It's a good idea to attach the ribbon at the place it broke off, then glue another piece to the other side for reinforcement and protection from any sharp edge from the break. Check to see that the glass is secure in the frame before beginning.

Don't plan on holding it with your eyelids against your eye, as some of the men did in Teddy Roosevelt's time, before my time too, but rather just hold it gently when well dried, and it makes reading less frustrating to see the sweet handiwork of art. If one does this well enough, it could be sold or passed on to future generations.

By Lynda from TX

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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