Can you add prescription to existing lenses?

Adding Prescription to Existing Lenses: Feasibility and Considerations

For those with a favorite pair of glasses, the question often arises: can a new prescription be added to the existing lenses? Whether due to a change in vision or a desire to repurpose a cherished frame, understanding the possibilities and limitations is crucial. Let’s explore the feasibility of adding a prescription to existing lenses.

existing lenses

1. Lens Material and Type

  • Depends on the Material: The ability to re-use lenses with a new prescription largely depends on the material of the lenses. Traditional glass lenses, for example, cannot be re-prescribed.
  • Plastic Lenses: More modern plastic lenses might be suitable for re-grinding, but this is often limited by the lens design and quality.

2. Existing Coatings and Treatments

  • Impact of Coatings: If the lenses have coatings – such as anti-reflective, scratch-resistant, or tinted treatments – it might not be possible to alter the prescription in existing lenses without damaging these layers.

3. Prescription Strength and Changes

  • Extent of Prescription Change: Minor prescription changes are more feasible than major alterations. Drastic changes in prescription strength often require new lenses to ensure optimal vision and comfort.

4. The Condition of the Lenses

  • Assessing Wear and Tear: Existing lenses that are scratched, chipped, or worn out are not suitable candidates for re-prescription. The clarity and quality of vision cannot be guaranteed with compromised lenses.

5. Frame Considerations

  • Frame Compatibility: The existing frame must be in good condition and able to withstand the process of fitting new lenses. Some frames, especially older or delicate ones, may not be suitable.

6. Professional Assessment Is Key

  • Consult an Optician: An optician can assess whether your existing lenses can be represcribed. They will consider the lens material, current prescription, and overall condition of the glasses.

7. Cost-Effectiveness and Quality

  • Weighing the Costs: In some cases, getting new lenses might be more cost-effective and ensure better visual quality than attempting to alter existing ones.


While the idea of adding a new prescription to existing lenses is appealing, especially for those attached to their current frames, it’s often more complex than it seems. Material, coatings, prescription changes, and the condition of the lenses all play a role in determining feasibility. A professional assessment is crucial to making the right decision for your vision and your glasses.


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