I recently went to have my eyes tested. At the end of of the test, I received the news that I had a minor change in my vision which I would barely notice the change, if I had new glasses. Despite this, over the years I have noticed how things have changed since my childhood. Glasses have now become a fashion accessory and they try their hardest to sell you new frames. Most recently they tried the “your glasses are 2 years old now” line. As if they are going to fall apart.
When I was a child, you could have your glasses re-glazed as necessary. Though they will do this now, they usually charge more than a new pair. Some places won’t even do it at all “in-case they break”. Isn’t it amusing (tongue in cheek) that they will happily collect our old glasses and send them out to third world countries for re-use? They must be pretty hard-wearing!!!
Not only this, I noticed the plethora of ‘special offers’ designed to tempt you into buying more than one pair. Now I can understand wanting a pair of prescription sunglasses, if you are a full-time glasses wearer like myself. But, why on earth you would need a second pair- I just can’t imagine. I was taught to keep an old pair, just in-case I broke mine somehow. But in all the 30 years I’ve been a glasses wearer- I rarely needed them. They sell them like they sell fashion accessories- marketing it so that you can change your look at will. I’m afraid I’m not and never have been vain enough to match my glasses to my mood!
You can go a long way to increase the life of your glasses at home. Firstly, put them in a case to protect them if you’re not wearing them. The number of stories I’ve heard of careless people sitting on their glasses, are astonishing. Especially given the price of them these days! (I think glasses insurance is an absolute nonsense by the way! These days they will ‘insure’ anything to make extra money and just you read their list of exclusions. They often claim now that they won’t fix them, unless you have insurance but in most cases that’s not true, as glasses are subject to the same ‘fit for purpose’ consumer laws as any other goods you buy).
Secondly, buy yourself a mini screwdriver set, so you can tighten up the screws as necessary at home. This helps if your arms become either loose or stiff, or if a lens pops out. You can also take them into store for free adjustments, which is sometimes better as they have a special machine to heat metal glasses to bend them safely. They can also replace the nose pads on metal frames if they get a bit nasty over time. They often turn funny colours due to skin oils reacting with the metal, or the plastic ages and becomes brittle over time.
Thirdly- keep them clean! I just wipe mine with a damp flannel and dry with a soft, fluffy towel. I really should probably just use the lens cloth they give you. But it’s fine- you must never use a tissue as the paper is rough and will scratch the lenses. Again, all these glasses wipes, sprays and other cleaners are such a nonsense and a total waste of money and resources!
So I came home in my terrible, 2 year old glasses that I love and will never know the difference in my sight! Haha. If you’re an adult- there’s no reason why you can’t keep having the same frames re-glazed. This isn’t the case for children because they are still growing and their glasses need to grow with them. They are also more prone to accidents, but try to get them ‘spring-loaded’ frames as they withstand a lot more stress than normal frames.
Any other glasses wearers out there? How do you approach glasses from a Zero Waste perspective? Are metal frames better than plastic, even though they have plastic nose pads? Does anyone know much about the processes used to make glasses, where labour is sourced etc? Are there any ethical companies out there? What about the coatings used to give the lenses different properties- anti-glare, anti-reflection, anti-scratch- how are they made? When I have some time, I will do some more research and get back to you. It’s a whole new Zero Waste minefield!