Can my sunglasses be fixed?
April 25, 2015 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have experience with a truly super glue? My sunglasses just snapped in half at the bridge. I've had them forever, so I can't really fault the manufacturer. But they're prescription, and I'd like to avoid having to go out and get a new pair right now if I can help it. Is there a glue in existence that bonds quickly and permanently?
posted by swheatie to Grab Bag (19 answers total)
What are the frames made out of?

I grew up using Bondini, which works great. It does leave a little bit of a haze on certain plastics, though, I don't see it in stores often.

I don't like Krazy Glue as much (it's oozier? maybe?) but I haven't noticed it leaving the same kind of plastic haze that Bondini does.

Gorilla Glue is pretty indestructible but it's a mess to use and takes longer to set than the other two.
posted by phunniemee at 12:41 PM on April 25, 2015

No glue ever made is going to hold a snapped sunglasses bridge together very long on its own, because the contact area is just so small.

If those were my treasured sunglasses I'd be trying to achieve a more durable repair by spanning the break with at least two pins cut from paper clip wire pre-roughened with sandpaper, set into small holes in each of the broken surfaces made with a very fine (1/32") drill, and gluing the whole assembly with very thoroughly mixed 5-minute epoxy.
posted by flabdablet at 12:45 PM on April 25, 2015 [10 favorites]

In my experience, trying to glue glasses eventually fails because oil from your skin seeps into the bond and loosens it.
posted by H21 at 12:53 PM on April 25, 2015

I've been using Q-Bond lately for small plastics repairs, it works where just cyanoacrylates do not. It comes with some filler powder that you shake onto the glue which sets up extremely quickly, like, instantly. If you use it, lay out your glue bottle and powder on a work space and practice the application on some other materials until you figure out a way to do the transfer smoothly. The downside of Q-Bond is you end up with small but visible welt along the break (due to the bulk of the powder) + it's pretty pricey for a cyanoacrylate. Thus far, I've used it to repair a bunch of Transformers toys which had breaks near or on joints and a broken hinge on a pair of heavy headphones, all of which are things I had tried many other glues in previous repair attempts. The q-bond repairs have held up to repeated handling.

Supposedly, you can make your own q-bond by adding baking powder to any brand of superglue. I haven't tried this yet myself but it's on the to-do list.
posted by jamaro at 12:57 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I super-glued a broken (metal) arm back onto a pair of glasses. I wore those glasses daily for another year and never had any problems. (This was after I´d had it soldered at a jewelry repair place, but that came apart after about a day or two.)
posted by tecg at 1:00 PM on April 25, 2015

When I snapped a pair of Oakleys in half, I was able to keep them going another week or so with an application of plain old Super Glue or Krazy Glue (I forget which, it was years ago). I repeated a few more times before the surface got too smooth after repeated glue applications for it to hold anymore, so maybe almost an extra month. But it's not really a long term solution.
posted by ktkt at 1:14 PM on April 25, 2015

I knocked one of my side mirrors off my car about 4 years ago and fixed it using JB Weld, and it hasn't moved since. They make kinds specifically to use on plastic.
posted by jabes at 1:16 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I sat down on my absolute favorite glasses of all time and they snapped at the bridge. I took them to an optician but he said they could not be mended...weight...balance...something. You could ask yours if a repair is feasible and if not, see if superglue works. Meanwhile, look for a duplicate frame and salvage the lenses.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:17 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'd do exactly what flabdablet says above. I've fixed a lot of my kids' action figures that way. The metal pin(s), assuming you get your holes spot-on, handle almost all of the stresses that would otherwise act on the glued section. Fiddly though.
posted by pipeski at 1:40 PM on April 25, 2015

Are they acetate? You might be able to try this approach of dipping the broken bits in a little acetone, then sticking them together...
posted by en forme de poire at 2:22 PM on April 25, 2015

Totally don't use any acrylic-based adhesives (like super/krazy/whatev glue) on your glasses unless you have the hands of a brain surgeon bc your lenses are probably made of some kind of acrylic, especially if they're lightweight. The solvent base will craze your lenses, and will probably craze your frames too, so count on having fingerprints and lint in them forever.

You can take your lenses into an eyeglass shop and ask if they have a comparably sized/shaped frame that you can put your lenses into. They'll try to talk you out of it, but they'll do it, and it'll work. The only problem is if the bridge (part over your nose) is different size than your own glasses, because then the pupil centers in the lenses won't be in the same place and you won't be able to see well/might get headaches. But it's a more common solution than you'd think for people who break their glasses/need them now/can't buy more yet.

/former eyeglass shop employee
posted by BTW.I.Am.A.Cat at 2:45 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

Check This to That
posted by Room 641-A at 2:46 PM on April 25, 2015

I agree with BTW.I.Am.A.Cat, but also want to add that if you can still read the identifying information on the inside of your frames, you might well be able to find the same pair online on a lens site or eBay. And any optician (at least in the U.S.) will put your old lenses in the new frames for you without charging.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:49 PM on April 25, 2015

You may be able to get new frames without replacing the lenses. Go to your optician and ask about that.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:26 PM on April 25, 2015

If you've had these glasses "forever" it might be a pain, but you may need a different prescription now anyway.
posted by zadcat at 6:01 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

What flabdablet suggests is actually very close to a method used by advanced level eyeglass repairpeople. It's worth a shot if you are handy enough.

As for finding a frame that fits the existing lenses, sometimes you can do it, but more often than not they don't have anything that will work. The slightest difference in size or shape will preclude the lenses being inserted into the other frame unless you edge them down (if the frame is smaller) and most places either don't have the equipment to or won't want to edge your existing lenses. Liability.

posted by silveridol at 6:58 PM on April 25, 2015

Thanks, everyone. Despite my wishes, it sounds like a new pair of glasses is the answer.
posted by swheatie at 6:38 AM on April 26, 2015

New prescription sunglasses for cheap without leaving your desk:
I wish they had a referral system because they're great and I recommend them to everyone.
posted by yeahlikethat at 3:52 PM on April 26, 2015

Ugh, that happened to me once. If they're not too old and you don't need/want new lenses, you can just order replacement frames. Any optical shop will pop the lenses in for you.
posted by radioamy at 8:12 AM on April 27, 2015

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