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How to Fix Crooked Glasses in 4 Steps

Most eyeglass frames are designed to be fairly sturdy — but then life happens. Perhaps you fell asleep wearing them or left them on your car dashboard in the sun. Or maybe you dropped them or you regularly wear them as a headband. Before you know it, your specs are sitting askew on your face.

Of course, it’s also possible that they didn’t fit correctly to begin with or got damaged on the way from your eyewear retailer.

Either way, you want to know how to fix crooked glasses.

Let’s start by getting clear on why crooked glasses don’t work so well. Then we’ll look at some solutions for how to fix crooked glasses so you can set your world straight again.

The Problem With Crooked Glasses

Sure, it might be annoying and look a bit disheveled, but how bad is it really to wear crooked glasses?

Prescription glasses are designed to work best when your eyes are centered in the lenses — and that goes double for multifocals (or progressive lenses). If they’re not in the right place on your face, your eyes will constantly be trying to adjust so you can read or see into the distance (depending on your prescription). This makes it very difficult to focus and can potentially cause eye strain and headaches.

Also, if they’re not sitting right, it can be uncomfortable to wear glasses for long periods. If they’re too tight, they can pinch your nose or your temples — again potentially causing headaches — and if they’re too loose, they’ll slip down your nose, which is annoying and again means your eyes won’t be in the right place within the lenses.

Adjusting Crooked Glasses Yourself

Let’s just say right up front that trying to fix your glasses yourself is a risky business. With just a bit too much pressure or a slip of the hand, you could cause further damage or even end up with broken glasses and need to buy a new pair.

It’s worth knowing that many opticians will adjust your glasses for free. They already know how to fix crooked glasses and they have all the right equipment to do it.

If you’re still considering going the DIY route to make some minor adjustments, first check your eyeglass frame material.

Many frames these days are made of cellulose acetate. This type of plastic frame needs a little heat to soften it before you try to bend it.

If your eyeglasses have wire frames or some types of metal frames, you may not need to warm them first.

If the frames are made of memory plastic, titanium, or aluminum alloy though, stop right there and take them to your optical store — they’re designed to resist any kind of manipulation. On the other end of the scale, rimless or semi-rimless glasses are often quite fragile, so they’re also best fixed by a professional.

How to Fix Crooked Glasses

How to fix crooked glasses: man wearing a pair of eyeglasses while smiling at the camera

If you’re ready to give it a try knowing the risks of DIY glasses repair, here’s what to do.

1. Gather What You’ll Need

Before you start, gather your equipment so you have it on hand.

A Small Screwdriver

Most eyeglass repair kits contain a small screwdriver, which is specifically designed for fixing glasses. If you don’t have a kit, find a screwdriver that fits.

Some Heat

As we’ve established, if you’re working with cellulose acetate, you’ll need to heat it before you can adjust anything. Try one of these methods:

  • Hold a hairdryer about 6 inches away and move it back and forth so you don’t overheat the plastic.

  • Let the part of the frame you want to work with soak in warm water (not hot water) or hold it under a warm running tap for 30 seconds or so, then remove it and dry it.

Be extremely careful not to apply too much heat or it might melt your plastic glasses. Also, be sure not to let the warm air or water anywhere near your lenses or you could damage your lens coatings.

Only warm the part of the frame you’re going to be working on and do it one section at a time, just before you adjust it.

Some Leverage

You can use your bare hands or a pair of pliers to make adjustments to your glasses.

Pliers are more precise but to minimize any damage, they need to be padded. You can simply buy padded pliers but if you don’t want to do that, wrap them with tape or place a cloth between the pliers and the part of the glasses you’re working on.

2. Adjust the Hinge Screws

If one or both hinge screws are loose (this often happens with time), it can cause your glasses to look lopsided or to slip because they’re opening too wide. Luckily, it’s an easy fix and always a good place to start.

Check both screws and if either is loose, use your screwdriver to gently tighten it — not too much though, or you might damage the frame material.

3. Identify the Issue

Put your glasses on and have a good look in the mirror to see if they still need fixing after you’ve tightened the hinge screws.

For example:

  • Is one side higher than the other?

  • Is one lens closer to your eyes than the other?

  • Are they sitting too high or low on your nose?

  • Are they pinching or sliding?

4. Adjust the Frame

When you perform this step of how to fix crooked glasses, be very gentle and use as little pressure as possible. If you feel any resistance, stop immediately or you risk breaking the frames or the lenses.

And because a little goes a long way when you fix glasses, make very small adjustments and try them on after each one to check how they’re looking.

Find your issue in the next sections for specific instructions.

Note: We’ll be referring to the different parts of your glasses so if you’re not sure what they’re called, start by familiarizing yourself with them.

If One Side Is Higher Than the Other

Glasses can sit skew on your face for one of two reasons: either your glasses are crooked or your one ear is higher than the other (this is surprisingly common).

Regardless of the reason though, you can adjust this by bending the temple arm right by the hinge or just behind the curve at your ear.

Gently heat the part you’re planning to adjust. Then hold your glasses in the middle of the frame with one hand and use the other to bend the section you’ve chosen.

  • If the left side is higher than the right, bend the right arm down.

  • If the right side is higher than the left, bend the left arm down.

If One Lens Is Closer to Your Eyes Than the Other

For this problem, you need to heat the temple arms right by the hinge:

  • If the left lens is closer, bend the left arm in or the right arm out — or both — at the hinge

  • If the right lens is closer, bend the right arm in or the left arm out — or both — at the hinge

If They’re Sitting Too High or Low on Your Nose

Many acetate glasses don’t have nose pads but most metal ones do. If your glasses have nose pads, start with those. Hold the front frames firmly with one hand and use the thumb and index finger of the other to adjust them:

  • If they’re sitting too low or they keep sliding, squeeze the nose pads together.

  • If they’re sitting too high or are pinching, push the nose pads apart.

If your glasses don’t have nose pads, you’ll need to adjust the temple ends so they curve more to fit more closely behind the ears or are slightly flatter to fit more loosely. Heat the end section of the temple arms right by the curve, then:

  • If they’re sitting too low or they keep sliding, gently push the ends slightly down and inward.

  • If they’re sitting too high or are pinching, gently put the ends slightly up and outwards.

If your glasses still keep slipping, consider some other ways to stop this.

Your Backup Plan for How to Fix Crooked Glasses

The Teal to Espresso Gradient

If these methods don’t work, it’s time to visit your eye doctor. If it’s possible to fix your glasses, they’ll make the necessary adjustments. Otherwise, they may recommend a new pair of glasses.

If you’re getting new glasses anyway, it’s worth getting your optometrist to do an eye exam beforehand. It’s good basic eye care to check your vision regularly, and they’ll also confirm if you need any changes to your prescription lenses.

Then when you’re ready to order your glasses, start your search at Pair Eyewear. Our beautifully designed Base Frames suit a range of face shapes and you also get to express your personality through our extensive and versatile range of snap-on Top Frames. We cater to all types of prescriptions and will ship your new glasses right to your door.

Fix Those Crooked Glasses Sooner Rather Than Later

The Iridescent

Glasses can be crooked for many reasons. They may arrive on your doorstep like that, be accidentally damaged, or suffer from normal daily wear and tear. Whatever the reason, it’s best to correct that misalignment as soon as possible.

The easiest way to fix crooked glasses is to ask your optician to fix them for you. For those who want to know how to fix crooked glasses themselves, there are several methods, including adjusting the screws or heating and bending the frames. When you go the DIY route though, bear in mind that there’s a strong chance you might damage the frames further.

If it turns out that you need new glasses, head on over to Pair Eyewear. Our glasses offer quality, versatility, and style, all wrapped up in one handy package, and they’ll set everything straight.