Home Travel What To Do If You Lose Or Break Your Glasses While Traveling

What To Do If You Lose Or Break Your Glasses While Traveling

by SharonKurheg

I’ll never forget the first time I went to Walt Disney World as an adult. I went with my best friend, Kim, and on one of the days, we went to River Country which was, at the time, WDW’s only water park (here’s a brief history, along with some photos of the park, which closed in 2001).

Kim was wearing her glasses when she went on one of the park’s tube slides, and when she landed in the “ol’ swimmin’ hole” at the bottom, she flipped in her tube. While she was underwater, her glasses fell off. The water at River Country was treated lake water and not the least bit clear, so there was no way to see a a set of tortoiseshell glasses on the bottom.

We went to Lost & Found and were told that divers would search for her glasses at the end of the day.

It was a happy ending – her glasses were indeed found at the bottom of lake. But for many people who are traveling, glasses are sometimes broken (sometimes beyond repair) or lost forever. Here’s what to do if it happens to you.

Reading Glasses

If all you lost or broke were reading glasses, you’re probably in luck – you can buy “cheaters” in a variety of strengths at just about any pharmacy, and they should tide you over until you can get home and get a new pair.

Since I’m at a time in my life when reading glasses are sometimes a consideration, I’ve invested in “armless readers,” thanks to a recommendation by my friend, Ivan. They’re made by a company called Nooz and are magnifying glasses that have no arms. Instead, they stay in place with a soft nose clip. They’re small, lightweight, have their own holder, and, best of all, they’re CHEAP! So I keep one set with me and permanently have a spare set in my carry-on bag, in case something happens to the first set.

There are also many magnifying glass apps out there for your cell phone than can be used in a pinch. Some are free, some not, and they each have their own pros and cons. Here are some of them. You can also search for MAGNIFYING APP on the App Store or Google Play to see your options.

Prescription Glasses For Distance

Important Note: These instructions are specific to people who lose or break their glasses in the United States.

I had LASIK done over 20 years ago, but back when I was farsighted, had astigmatism and wore glasses full time, I remember the headaches and eye strain I’d get if I didn’t wear my glasses for an extended period of time. And that was to say nothing of the frustration of just not being able to see things clearly.

If they’re broken

If your glasses are just broken, look for an optometrist in the area and see if they can be repaired. Well-known chains include Lens Crafters, Eyeglass World, Eyemart, All American Eyeglass Repair, etc. Walmart often has an eyeglass shop, as well. Or look for a privately owned office.

If they need to be replaced

If your glasses are beyond repair, or if they’re lost entirely, the optometrist or eyeglass repair shop should be able to help you with getting a new pair of glasses.  However since you’re mostly likely far from home and in town for a limited amount of time, you’ll want the turnaround time to be as quick as possible – especially if your eyesight is particularly poor or has unique needs.

Some of the aforementioned places can get you “same day” glasses, but some can’t. Fortunately, there are places where you can order glasses online and get them back next day (or a little more, for “special” glasses).

  • Overnightglasses.com offers next day service for single vision glasses, and 3-day rush service for progressive and multi-focal glasses.
  • Discountglasses.com offers overnight shipping for prescriptions that fall into their parameters.
  • Glasses In A Day will ship single vision orders on the same day (overnighted to you), and traditional bifocals and progressive no-line bifocals can be shipped in an addition one to two business days.

Obviously, you’ll need to have a copy of your prescription to use any of the above service (either from an optometrist from where you are, or if your optometrist at home can email you a copy of what you need). Check each website for their respective requirements, as well as with your medical insurance company for payment/reimbursement.

Note: make things easier on yourself

If you wear glasses and have an older pair that aren’t perfect but can hold you over, bring them with you. Joe always has an older pair of his glasses in his car, in case he forgets to bring his regular ones with him to work. He always takes that secondary pair when we go on vacation, “just in case.”

Also, the next time you go to your eye doctor, get an extra copy of your prescription, so you can carry it with you when you’re traveling.

Being out of town and not being able to see properly is a good way to make your time away from home kind of miserable. Fortunately, there are several ways to make that time of fuzzy vision as short a possible.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


derek June 21, 2021 - 7:07 pm

I believe this article has an error. It mentions optometrists but does not mention ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologist are doctors who went to medical school (optometrists do not go to medical school). Ophthalmologists are the best people to avoid the situation where the professional does not know what he/she doesn’t know. However, know that some ophthalmologists will not write glasses prescriptions to avoid making optometrists mad. Many do, though.

In Germany, optometrists are banned so all Augenarzts (eye doctors) are ophthalmologists. How do I know? I broke my glasses in Munich.

SharonKurheg June 21, 2021 - 8:03 pm

Wasn’t really an error; I just didn’t include them. Opthalmologists are just kind of overkill for getting a pair of glasses quickly, and probably won’t be found at Lenscrafters kinds of places 😉 Also, if medical insurance doesn’t cover, an opthalmologist will cost more than an optometrist. At home, when you have time, or the problem is an abraised cornea etc. (hello, have had my share…including the day beforemy first trip to Japan, back in ’95. Good times.), then yes, absolutely choose an opthalmologist.


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