If you’re like me and you enjoy going thrifting for vintage eyewear or if you purchase vintage cat eye glasses online from a shop on Etsy or eBay, they may still have the original prescription lens in them. This can be a bit of a hassle as it’s hard to see if the frame will look good on you. If it’s a particularly strong prescription, it will be very hard to see how the frames look on your face and it’ll very likely give you a headache too! This is something you can avoid if you only buy new old stock frames, since those frames have never been used or had lenses put in place. But sometimes you find a vintage frame that’s just too cute to pass up. So here are a few techniques you can use to remove the lenses:
1. If your vintage cat eye glasses are the kind that have a screw that will open the frame, just unscrew the screws and the lenses will come out with ease. Most cheap eyeglasses kits you find at the store should work well with this. Though sometimes the screws are old and dirty and hard to turn. In those cases, I recommend taking a soft gentle brush (like an old toothbrush) and brushing around the screw to dislodge the debris. If that still doesn’t work, try using a little bit of warm water and a gentle soap to clean around the screw.
2. Now most likely your vintage eyewear are plastic and for those kinds of frames, there are two methods that involve warming up the plastic in order to make it more flexible. First, you can heat the frames up by either submerging the frame in a bowl of hot water (do NOT use boiling water! it can melt the frame!) or second, you can heat the frames with a blowdryer using the low heat setting. After heating the frame for one minute, hold the frame and using caution push the lens out of the frame. Do not force it out as that may break the frame. If you’re unable to remove the lens, try warming it again for another minute. Don’t get frustrated if it takes longer than a minute, some frames with extremely thick frames will require more time as the plastic will take longer to heat up.
3. If all else fails, bring your vintage eyeglasses to a place like Walmart or LensCrafter. They’ll do it for free, it takes less time since they have the appropriate tools and it’s less nerve-racking since you’re not the one removing the lenses. Just give them a heads up that the frames are vintage. I forgot to mention this to one guy and he had a rather difficult time removing the lenses because it required more heat than usual. Oops! Thankfully he wasn’t mad about that and was rather enthusiastic about the fact that the frames had glass lenses and were over 40 years old.