I have learned a lot about how to deal with broken glasses over the years, but I always seem to break them in the most unpredictable ways. When I went to visit a petting zoo (which will remained unnamed), I had the opportunity to meet a lot of different goats, including a baby goat. Little did I know, this baby goat would jump on a ledge, make eye contact with me, and then snatch my glasses off my face! While my lenses were intact, the frames were chewed on and I was still very stressed trying to process what was going on. After the initial shock, I was able to get my glasses fixed with no further issues. Here are my tips for how to deal with broken glasses.
Figure out what happened
It’s important to stay calm and figure out what happened to cause the glasses to break. This is especially important if you didn’t break them, like if someone sat/stepped on them, or a child twisted the wires. If you walked into something or got hit with something, make sure to describe the object the best you can, so the opticians can determine the best way to fix them- after I got spray adhesive all over my glasses while working on a project with a friend, my glasses had to be treated with a special solution to be cleaned.
Assess the damage
If possible, feel around the glasses and try to figure out if there are any cracks or scratches in the frames or lenses. Are all of the screws intact? Are there dents in the frame? Are both lenses accounted for? Note these things as you inspect them so you can accurately report the damage. For example, the arms of my glasses had multiple bite marks when they were taken by the goat.
If the glasses are straight up gone
While I am lucky this has never happened to me, a friend of mine had their glasses fall off of an amusement park ride. They handled this by immediately calling park security, who searched for the glasses. When they could not be found, they filed paperwork certifying the glasses were indeed missing, and they were able to get new ones through insurance- more on insurance in a bit. Read more about going to amusement parks with vision impairments here.
If possible, have a spare pair
Because I have very bad photosensitivity, I need to have shaded glasses on or else my eyes will start to hurt a lot- read more about tinted glasses here. I carry a pair of sunglasses or a spare pair of glasses in my purse or backpack when I travel, and store them in a drawer in my dorm when I am on campus and can easily get back to them if needed. A few of my friends also know where my glasses are located in my dorm room in case they have to grab them for me.
Storing broken glasses
Since I carry a spare pair with me, I put my broken glasses in the other eyeglass case while I wait for them to get fixed. If a glasses case isn’t an option, store them in another type of container that won’t be damaged further. My friends and I have stored broken glasses in the following makeshift containers, which are not made for long term storage.
- Clean drink cup or water bottle with lid
- Plastic bag with tissues inside
- Small cardboard or styrofoam box (like a to-go box)
- Toilet paper/paper towel roll with openings folded down
- Enclosed pocket
Can glasses be fixed by a sighted friend?
Sometimes glasses only have minor damage such as a popped lens or screw. For situations like this, I ask a sighted friend to either pop the lens back into place or to fix the loose screw. If jagged edges or cracks are present, leave repairs to professionals that can take additional safety precautions and have more tools available.
Taking glasses to be repaired
The place where I got my glasses will repair them at any of their nationwide locations, so all I have to do is go to one of the locations and get them fixed. Most opticians offer glasses repairs either for free or for a fee, and there are many other eyeglass repair places to be found at malls. I recommend getting glasses fixed as soon as possible, and making a list of nearby places to get them fixed on your phone. I made a note of how to get to the mall near my college to get my glasses fixed, which I talk about in my post on learning the campus bus system here.
The case for having insurance
When I bought my glasses, I had the option to buy insurance for a nominal fee which would cover routine maintenance, repairs, and a replacement pair (with the same prescription) would only cost $30. Having low vision means that I often need specialty glasses that can be very expensive, so the $30 replacement is a bargain. Plus, I can usually get my new glasses in as little as a few hours. Everyone who totally relies on glasses should definitely buy insurance for them, or see if they have another insurance policy that covers broken glasses. Read more about selecting glasses with low vision here.
Take steps to prevent it from happening again
While some circumstances cannot be prevented, it’s important to recognize what led to the glasses being broken and find ways to minimize it from happening again. I don’t let children try on my glasses for example (read more about answering questions from kids about glasses here), and I don’t participate in activities where my glasses could be lost or destroyed without finding a way to secure them- something I talk about in my post on water parks here. Some people may also benefit from having sports glasses or straps attached, but every case is different.
Don’t stress about it
Everyone who wears glasses will break them at some point, and it’s nothing to feel bad about. It’s just part of life with vision impairment, though I doubt anyone else will have their glasses stolen by a goat- but if you do, please let me know! I hope my tips on how to deal with broken glasses are a helpful resource for people who can’t see anything without their glasses.