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How to Make Clear Glass Out of Sunglasses

Updated February 21, 2019

Save money by converting a pair of old sunglasses into everyday dress glasses by removing the tint. It is possible to take the colour out of a pair of sunglasses, but only with certain kinds. You can use only two ways to remove the colour --- use an optical dye unit or take the lenses to an optical lab or retail store that has the machine. Remove the colour from sunglasses in a dye unit, also called a tint unit according to Opticianworks.com, with just a few simple steps.

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  1. Verify the material of the lenses. Sunglasses are made from glass, plastic or polycarbonate material and only certain lenses can have the colour removed, also called stripped or bleached. Glass lenses cannot have the colour taken out; the tint is part of the lens. Lenses with antireflective coating or other speciality coatings cannot have the tint removed, either. If you are unsure of the lens type, verify the type of lens with the manufacturer or optician that made the lenses.

  2. Turn the dye unit on and make sure the pan with the neutraliser, or lens bleach, is filled to the recommended level. Heat the dye unit to a maximum of 87.8 to 98.9 degrees Celsius or the setting suggested by the tint unit manufacturer. "Eyecare Business Magazine" notes that polycarbonate lenses are more difficult to tint and remove colour and the temperature is set slightly higher, between 205 and 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the unit, it can take up to an hour to heat fully.

  3. Remove the lenses from the frame. Unscrew the screws that hold the lenses in place. If there are no screws, heat the frame gently in warm water and gently pop out the lenses. Never force the lenses out.

  4. Place the lenses in the lens holder. Slide the upper rubber pads up, set the lenses in the bottom pads and slide the upper pads down until the lenses are held firmly in place.

  5. Immerse the lens holder with the lenses into the neutraliser and allow them to sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Bleaching time depends on many factors, including the age of the lenses, the darkness of the original tint and the manufacturer of the dye. Some lenses bleach quickly and others can take an entire day. Check the lenses every 30 minutes to see if the colour is coming out. Repeat the process until the lenses are clear. Some lenses retain a small amount of colour no matter how long you leave them in the neutraliser.

  6. Tip

    If you are unable to bleach your sunglasses, consider replacing your lenses with new, clear ones. Most optical retail offices can make new lenses for an old frame as long as the frame is in good condition.


    Do not use a pair of sunglasses with an older prescription. You should only wear lenses with your most current eyeglass prescription.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dye unit
  • Screwdriver
  • Warm water

About the Author

Beth Richards

Beth Richards, a freelance writer since 2002, writes about health and draws from her 25 years as a licensed dispensing optician. She has authored several books, writes for national magazines including "Country Living" and "Organic Family" and is a health and wellness features writer for several publications. She is earning a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland.

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