How to Stretch Tight Sunglasses in 5 Easy Steps [2023 Guide]

Do your favorite sunglasses feel too tight lately? It’s a common problem as sunglass materials age and your head size changes. Sunglasses that can pinch your head, slip down your nose, and just feel uncomfortable to wear.

Luckily, you don’t have to run out and buy new sunglasses if your old ones have become too snug. There are easy DIY methods to gently stretch your frames at home so they fit comfortably again. With some warm water, heat, and simple techniques, you can expand tight sunglasses a few millimeters.

This guide will walk through the best ways to Stretch Tight Sunglasses including plastic and metal frames. You’ll also learn when it’s best to seek help from an eyewear professional instead of DIY adjustments.

Why Sunglasses Become Too Tight

There are a few common reasons why your sunglasses may start to feel too snug over time:

  • Your head size changed – Natural fluctuations in weight or health can subtly alter the size of your head over time.
  • The sunglasses’ plastic or metal has lost elasticity – Exposure to heat and sunlight can cause sunglass materials to become more brittle and inflexible.
  • The hinges have loosened – If the hinges on your sunglasses stretch out, it can make the eyepieces squeeze inward.

Luckily, you can often stretch out sunglasses that have become too tight using some simple techniques at home.

How to Stretch Tight Sunglasses [5 Easy Steps and 3 Ways]

How to Stretch Plastic Sunglasses

For plastic sunglasses frames, you can use warm water or a hairdryer to gently heat and expand the plastic:

Method 1: Use Warm Water

  1. Fill a bowl with warm tap water, around 100°F to 110°F (38°C to 43°C). The water should be warm, not hot.
  2. Submerge the sunglasses in the water and let them sit for 30-60 seconds. This softens the plastic.
  3. Remove the sunglasses and gently pull the eyepieces outward, opening the frames slightly wider. Apply even pressure.
  4. Hold the expanded frames for 20-30 seconds until the plastic cools and sets.
  5. Try on the sunglasses to test the fit. Repeat the process if needed.

Method 2: Use a Hairdryer

  1. Set a hairdryer to the lowest heat setting.
  2. Holding the hairdryer 6 inches (15 cm) away, gently warm the front and temples of the sunglass frames for 60 seconds.
  3. Pull the warmed eyepieces outward, gently stretching the frames.
  4. Cool the expanded frames with room temperature air for 30 seconds to set the plastic.
  5. Check the fit and repeat the heating and stretching if needed.

Be very careful not to overheat the plastic, as this can damage the frames.

How to Stretch Metal Sunglasses

For metal sunglasses, you can use hot water to make the metal frames malleable enough to expand:

  1. Bring a bowl of water to a boil, then remove from heat.
  2. Submerge the metal sunglasses in the hot water for 60-90 seconds to heat them up.
  3. Use tongs to remove the sunglasses and gently pull the heated frames outward.
  4. Immediately dunk the expanded frames in cold water for 10 seconds to set the shape.
  5. Try on the frames and repeat if they still feel too tight.

Be extremely careful when handling metal frames fresh out of boiling water to avoid burns.

Stretch Sunglasses by Adjusting the Hinges

If your sunglasses are tight because the hinges have become loose or warped, you may be able to stretch them by adjusting the hinges:

  1. Use a small flathead screwdriver to remove the screws from the hinge pins.
  2. Insert a thicker hinge pin or wrap tape around the pin to tighten it.
  3. Replace the screws and check the fit. The tighter hinge should pull the eyepieces outward.

You can find replacement hinge pins at some eyewear shops and hardware stores if needed.

Other Tips for Stretching Sunglasses

There are a few other handy tricks you can try to stretch out sunglasses at home:

  • Use rubber bands – Place a rubber band around the closed eyepieces and gently pull outward to create tension.
  • Try frame expanders – Plastic expanders can be inserted between the eyepieces to push frames outward.
  • Wear while damp – Put on slightly damp sunglasses and let them dry while expanded on your head.
  • Close on an object – Place a small object like a pen between the lenses when closing them to create space.

When to Let a Professional Help

While DIY methods are effective for many pairs of tight sunglasses, it’s best to visit an eyewear professional for help if:

  • The frames feel brittle or damaged.
  • You don’t want to risk breaking an expensive pair.
  • The nose pads are bent inward, squeezing the lenses.
  • The sunglasses have a complex multi-hinge design.

Opticians have specialized tools and expertise to adjust your frames and replace damaged parts if needed.


Can you stretch kid’s sunglasses?

Yes, you can stretch children’s sunglasses using the same warm water or hairdryer methods. Just be very gentle, as kids’ frames are often more delicate. Heat the plastic for only 5-10 seconds at a time, and pull outward in small increments to gradually expand the frames.

Do stretched sunglasses stay stretched?

Sunglasses that are properly stretched using heat or DIY methods will retain their new size and shape. The plastic or metal is molded into the slightly expanded form once it cools. But sunglass materials can continue to weaken and tighten over time with wear.

Can opticians adjust the size of sunglasses?

Yes, opticians use special tools to heat and stretch plastic and metal eyewear frames. They can expand glasses by several millimeters to improve the fit. Opticians can also adjust bent nose pads, replace damaged hinges, and make other repairs.

Should you stretch sunglasses often?

It’s best not to overstretch sunglasses frequently. The frames can weaken and become misshapen with repeated heating and pulling. Try to limit stretching to every 6-12 months for plastic frames, and as seldom as possible for metal ones. And stretch in small increments vs. dramatic pulls.

How much can you safely stretch sunglasses?

Most plastic and metal sunglass frames can safely be stretched 1-3mm with DIY methods, depending on the quality. It’s best to stretch in 1mm increments, trying on the glasses before repeating the process. Overstretching frames quickly can lead to damage.


With some simple tricks using warm water, hairdryers, and your own hands, you can often stretch out sunglasses that have become uncomfortably tight. Just remember to be patient and gentle, limit overstretching quality frames, and visit an optician if you have any concerns about breaking or damaging your glasses. Adjusting sunglasses to fit properly again will make them much more comfortable and usable.

The key takeaways: How to Stretch Tight Sunglasses

  • Use warm water or a hairdryer to gently heat and expand plastic frames
  • Submerge metal frames in hot water briefly to make them pliable
  • Pull frames outward and set their shape by cooling
  • Adjust loose hinges or try rubber bands and frame expanders
  • See an optician for very tight, delicate, or expensive sunglasses

With some patience and care, you can often stretch tight sunglasses back to a comfortable, wearable fit.

Robert Perry

Robert Perry is a leading expert in the world of eyewear. His wealth of experience and unique insight in the realm of gaming glasses, swimming goggles, sunglasses, eyeglasses, and computer glasses has set him apart in the industry.

A keen observer of daily fashion styles and the utility of glasses in various lifestyles, Perry is passionate about empowering individuals with knowledge on eyewear selection. He is known for his thorough, clear, and relatable analysis, making it easier for readers to find the perfect glasses for their specific needs.

Perry’s writings consistently reflect his understanding of both function and fashion, affirming his position as an influential figure in the eyewear community.