Millions of people wear spectacles and unless you have your eyes lasered, there’s not much you can do but don your specs! There is no evidence that eye exercises improve vision. The best way to help eyesight is to eat well (to reduce chances of macular degeneration), live a healthy lifestyle (diabetes can affect eyesight), avoid eyestrain (get enough sleep and outdoor time, less computer staring!) and drink water. Obviously use protective eyewear for certain jobs.
Recycled plastic frames are okay for everyday wear but are at risk of polluting the ocean if they fell off boats, as they would break into microplastics. If you wear glasses when sailing, stick to biodegradable wood or bamboo.
award-winning sustainable spectacle frames
Bird Eyewear makes sustainable spectacle frames (ordered from local opticians rather than online) made from cutting-edge bio-acetates (to bring timeless style with tiny carbon footprint). Built to last, they compost in 115 days and are certified B-Corp, ethically made with a donation made to SolarAid with each purchase. Packed in a handmade eco-cork case and protected in a flexi-hex sleeve. Recycle your old frames and get a £20 discount on a new pair.
You can reglaze glasses, to save buying new pairs. Ideal if it’s only a scratch, and works out cheaper than buying new lenses. Just request a free pack, send them off and wait while they work.
where to recycle unwanted spectacles
Choose quality spectacles to make them last longer (avoid frames from endangered tortoiseshell). To make them last longer, don’t put them on top of your head (this stretches theframes), use a little biodegradable dishwash liquid and warm water to clean, rinse and dry them. And keep in their carry-case, when not in use.
When time comes to replace, if the brand does not accept used spectacles for discounts on the next pair, you can donate unwanted specs to help charities (or set up a Terracycle eyewear box in your community, which takes all eyewear accessories to be recycled into other things).
carbon-negative Italian spec frames
Eco Eyewear is the first carbon-negative brand, inspired by the Italian countryside. Many are made from recycled metal with clip-on compatibility. Sent in cornstarch bags, shops can display them on stands made from bamboo and recycled paper.
spectacle frames made from castor beans!
Wires Glasses are made from a single wire and a bio-plastic made from castor beans in Italy. You can also find glasses for prescriptions, and reusable face masks, designed for people who wear spectacles. The rims are built up from a powder that is reused the next run if unused. The unisex range also uses an invisible hinge, with no screws or clunky hinges needed. The brand was co-founded by former supermodel Lily Cole, who is now a top sustainability inspiration.
compostable spectacle frames from Spain
Proud is a Spanish eyewear company that makes compostable spectacle frames. These are made from metals and cotton acetate, with cork covers, natural inks and cardboard boxes. Frames are clean with no markings, and the logo is discreetly displayed on the temple tip, behind the ear.
retro-style vintage spectacle frames
Peep Eyewear sells vintage frames, so no new frames are produced. Ideal for retro fans, this is a great way to use up the millions of spectacle frames already in existence. There are also preloved styles, for something more modern. They come with a case that includes a cloth made from recycled plastic bottles so if washed, use a microplastic catcher.