In the EBD Blog
Reviewed by Thomas Stokkermans, OD, PhD on May 17, 2023
With all the styles and features of eyeglass frames out there, it can take time to find the right look for your face shape. So what happens if, after buying your newest eyewear, it isn’t the perfect fit? Fear not: There are some things you can do to get closer in your quest for fit and comfort.
If you already wear glasses, you’ll know how annoying it is when they slide down your nose because they’re too loose. Or maybe you had a pair that made you uncomfortable because it was too tight on the sides of your face. Whatever your ill-fitting woe, there may be a way to adjust the different parts of your frames until they fit just right.
While the following instructions are all for DIY adjustments, remember that the safest way to get your glasses fitting better is to seek help from an optician or other eye care professional. If you do try to adjust your frames at home, work in small, careful steps to avoid damage.
How to Keep Your Glasses from Sliding Down Your Face
When you first buy a new glasses frame, it’s bound to feel different from your previous pair. One reason for this is that it’s brand new and has never been worn before.
Similar to new shoes feeling a bit tight before being broken in, a new pair of specs is sure to feel tighter than the ones you’ve worn for a while. On the other side of the spectrum, maybe your new pair is a little too loose and needs to be adjusted for a more secure fit. Either option is something we can help with!
The key is to understand how to adjust them (if needed) to fit your face. There are several ways your glasses can be tailored to fit. You can modify the temple arms and tips, nose pads, and where your frames rest on your face. We'll also give you tips on how to straighten crooked glasses.
How to Tighten Loose Glasses: A Step-By-Step Guide
One of the first things you can try when adjusting your eyeglasses is to check each temple tip and nose pad. These are usually softer parts of your frames that can be molded more easily.
Your frames should feel comfortable when worn for long periods of time, without being too loose or tight behind your ears. You should be able to achieve this feeling by bending the temple tips and nose pieces inward if too big or outward if too small.
Use your own judgment to apply gentle pressure and bend your temples into shape. If your glasses continue to slide down your nose even after adjustments, you may want to consider low bridge glasses for your next pair.
How to Adjust Temple Tips
To adjust the temple tips of your metal or plastic frames, follow these easy steps:
- Run your temple tips under warm water for around 30 seconds.
- For a too-loose fit, bend the tips slightly downwards.
- For a too-tight fit, bend the tips slightly upwards.
Adjustments should be done a little at a time to avoid over-correcting. After bending slightly, try the frames on to see if the fit has improved, or if more adjustment is needed.
How to Adjust Nose Pads
Fine-tuning the position of the nose pieces can also help with the fit of your glasses. To successfully adjust them, you should:
- Grip your glasses by the lens and nose bridge.
- If the frames sit too high or pinch the bridge of your nose, bend the nose pads outward.
- If your glasses sit too low or slide down your face, bend the pads inward.
Metal frames often have adjustable nose pads, which makes them easy to bend. While there are a few styles of plastic frames with adjustable nose pads, most have built-in pieces that can’t be modified.
If you find that the bridge width of your plastic frames is uncomfortable, you can purchase anti-slip adhesive nose pads for added support.
How to Adjust Frame Height — Plastic
Your eyes should be in the center of your lenses when you wear your prescription glasses. Keep this in mind as you follow these steps:
- Heat your frames’ temples (or arms) by soaking them in warm water for 30 to 60 seconds.
- To help your specs sit higher on your face, bend the temples inward.
- If you want your frames to sit lower on your face, bend the temples outward.
- Once you’ve found the perfect frame height, rinse the temples with cold water to secure the fit.
How to Adjust Frame Height — Metal
If your metal frames aren’t at the height where you want them, reworking the width of your nose pads may help. Here's what you can do:
- Secure the frames by holding the metal part of the arm.
- Use your free hand to pinch one nose pad between your thumb and finger. You can also use needle-nose pliers for this step if desired.
- To position your glasses higher on your face, push the nose pads closer together.
- To have your glasses sit lower on your face, push the pads farther apart.
How to Adjust Crooked Glasses
If one side of your glasses is higher than the other, you can straighten them out by making further adjustments. To determine where the problem is, look in the mirror while wearing your specs and note which side is higher or lower than you'd like. Then follow these steps:
- Heat the problematic temple in warm water for 30 to 60 seconds.
- If the left temple arm is higher than the right, bend the right temple downward.
- If the right temple arm is higher than the left, bend the left temple downward.
When bending the temple arms, be sure to bend gently at the curve of the arm (where it bends over your ear), or at the hinge where the lens frame and arm connect.
When Should You Not Try to Adjust Your Glasses?
While it's helpful to have at-home options for practicality, it's ideal to have your specs adjusted by a professional. You don’t want to damage them, and an optician has the training, tools and experience to handle every frame material and fit issue.
An experienced eye care specialist knows what needs to be done for your glasses to fit you properly, and it’s a safer bet than trying to do it at home by yourself.
If your glasses frame is made from sturdy material like titanium or metal, there’s a higher chance that you could break them or bend them out of shape. This is especially true for a delicate style like rimless or semi-rimless frames.
If you’re ready to look for a professional who can check, adjust, and/or repair your frames, use our site’s Find an Eye Doctor tool to locate local opticians.
Adjusting Your Glasses at Home
If you are determined to attempt a DIY glasses adjustment at home, please do so with extreme caution. The only thing worse than ill-fitting glasses is bent or broken glasses that have to be replaced. So remember: Use gentle pressure and only adjust a little bit at a time.