When I was visiting St Louis, I had a list of places that I wanted to visit, which included the St Louis Zoo, the Gateway Arch, a MLB baseball game, and a few other places. However, I had to rearrange a few of my plans to accommodate having to deal with broken glasses after my glasses got eaten by a goat at the St Louis Zoo. While I would hope that many of my readers can’t relate to having a goat steal their glasses, it’s important to know how to deal with broken glasses and get repairs as part of living independently. Here are my tips for how to deal with broken glasses while living at college, on vacation, or in the workplace- unfortunately, I don’t have any tips for how to avoid getting your glasses eaten by a goat.
Assessing the damage
It’s important to be able to describe to the optician how the glasses were broken or damaged, as there are different techniques for fixing glasses depending on how the damage was caused. Some examples of how I have broken my glasses and described the damage over the years include:
- I ran into the edge of a doorframe and the frames became crooked
- The nozzle for the spray adhesive got stuck and some of it was sprayed on my glasses
- My glasses were in the mouth of a baby goat and it chewed the frames
- I got hit with a cardboard box in the face and it caused the frame to crack, and the left lens fell out
- My glasses fell in a saltwater pool and it messed up the tint
- I put my glasses next to me in bed and then accidentally rolled over onto them
- I’m not sure what happened, but my lenses are scratched and the left screw is very loose
For some additional context on the goat story, I was in a petting zoo area and a baby goat jumped on the fence next to me. One of the staff said that this would make a very cute selfie, so I turned to take a photo with the goat, and immediately afterwards it stole my glasses off my face and ran around with them, and they had to be retrieved by a zoo employee who had witnessed the whole thing. Moral of the story- don’t put your head close to a goat’s mouth.
Find a safe place to store broken glasses
Some options for storing broken glasses while taking them to get repaired include:
- Spare eyeglasses case
- Clean drink cup or water bottle with a lid
- Plastic bag with tissues inside
- Take-out container
- Toilet paper roll/paper towel roll with the edges folded down
- Large sock
- Pocket with zipper or button closure, or inside pocket of a jacket
Of course, some of these options are more ideal than others, but since I typically deal with broken glasses outside of the home, I have to improvise when figuring out a way to store damaged lenses, frames, and/or loose screws.
Bring a spare pair when traveling or going to work
Whenever I go on vacation or go to work in-person, I bring a spare pair of glasses in my backpack, suitcase, or purse so that if my primary pair is damaged, I have a backup pair that I can wear until my glasses are fixed- this is especially important since I deal with photophobia/photosensitivity, and exposing my eyes to light can be incredibly painful.
With the goat story, I accidentally left my spare pair in the hotel, but a kind zoo employee gave me a free pair of non-prescription sunglasses to help protect my eyes. Since that incident, I have also traveled with a pair of prescription tinted reading glasses that make it slightly easier for me to access my phone and give me more usable vision than non-prescription glasses. These were recommended by my ophthalmologist after eye surgery and have been a helpful solution, especially since I can afford to have multiple pairs of the tinted reading glasses in multiple locations.
- How Tinted Glasses Help My Light Sensitivity
- My Experience With Decompensated Strabismus Eye Surgery
If the glasses are gone, request written documentation
This has thankfully never happened to me, but one of my friends lost their glasses on a rollercoaster and had to get written documentation from the amusement park saying that the glasses were missing so that they could have insurance cover a replacement pair of glasses. Some insurance policies may not accept this documentation, but it is still helpful to have.
Fixing glasses on your own or asking a parent/friend for help
Some minor glasses repairs such as popped out lenses or loose screws can be repaired by the owner, or by asking a parent/friend for help. Another option is to use visual assistance applications like Be My Eyes, and ask for a volunteer to help with assessing glasses damage and performing simple repairs. If there are jagged edges, broken pieces, or if the frame itself is crooked, I will go to the optician for repairs and not attempt them on my own.
Traveling to get glasses repaired
If I broke my glasses and am by myself, I will use Google Assistant to order a ridesharing service to take me to LensCrafters, or ask a friend or parent to drive me if possible. I use Google Assistant because I can order ridesharing entirely with my voice, though I can also use the paid Aira service to order ridesharing and ask a visual interpreter to help me locate the car.
If I broke my glasses while living on my college campus, I would ask a friend to go with me to the mall using the campus shuttle, which goes to a nearby mall, and ask my friend to serve as a human guide to help me find the store.
- How I Use Google Assistant While Traveling
- Using Aira With Low Vision
- How To Be An Effective Human Guide For People With Vision Loss
Getting glasses repaired and the case for protection plans
LensCrafters offers free adjustments and basic repairs for glasses, along with an optional protection plan for more advanced repairs or replacements. This is one of the main reasons I purchase my glasses from LensCrafters, because they are easy for me to locate no matter where I am in the United States. If my glasses need to be replaced, I can sometimes get a new pair within an hour depending on my prescription.
For people with low vision who have high prescriptions or otherwise expensive glasses, I strongly recommend getting a protection plan, since replacement pairs are often one-tenth of the cost of the original purchase price. When my glasses frames were eaten by the goat, I was able to get the frames replaced for free since my lenses weren’t affected, instead of paying hundreds of dollars for new glasses. The exact price of the protection plans varies depending on location, but I purchased mine for $30.
- Veronica’s Four Eyes: All About My Glasses For Low Vision
- How I Respond To Questions/Comments About My Glasses
Other tips for how to deal with broken glasses
- Before starting at my college and at my tech internship, I made a note of the nearest LensCrafters and how to get there by bus or similar transportation
- Some people will use sports straps or other tools for securely attaching glasses to the face, but I don’t use these personally
- When my friend had their glasses broken in a car accident, the glasses were replaced by their insurance, not by the protection plan