Tolerance for discomfort

Hans Christian Anderson already knew the magnitude of minor irritations in 1835.  The story of ‘The Princess and the Pea’ shows that he understood the discomfort caused by small things and the pain of getting it slightly wrong.

The girl in the famous fairy tale spends the night in the castle and subsequently passes the ‘Princess’ test with flying colors when she wakes up black and blue all over. The Queen, of course, had secretly put a pea under the twenty mattresses she slept on, causing her a sleepless night. The discomfort she experienced proved to the world that she really was a princess. Now, there’s someone with a low tolerance for pain, but at least she got to marry the prince!

We all have varying tolerance levels for discomfort, though most of us will get agitated with a pebble in our shoe or that ‘something’ in our eye…

Like the princess, little things can drive us mad – and it is the same with broken- or lost nose pads on our sunglasses.    That irritating scratch on the nose!  Sure, it is not the end of the world, but certainly, it’s the end of us feeling remotely happy with our sunglasses.

Little soft pads 

 They can wear out

We don’t, as a rule, usually notice the soft little pads perched on our sunglass frames. Their job is to secure and balance the weight of your sunnies on your nose. Still, with wear and tear, the nose pads of your sunglasses can, unfortunately, become loose, uncomfortable, and eventually wear off completely.

Then we certainly notice their absence. The color of sunglasses nose pads can also fade, making them look sad and forlorn long before the frames they are attached to do so.

Manufacturers make these often-overlooked little cushions from many different materials. The most popular is silicon because they are flexible and soft, and they are very comfortable.

Other manufacturers use materials such as glass, polyvinyl chloride, rubber, ceramic, and even titanium. If you were to enquire, I’m pretty sure you’d find a celebrity or two walking around with golden ones as well.

What can go wrong?

It is sad – we often don’t give this little accessory a passing thought until things really go wrong.   (I am sure the Princess would have been disappointed in us!)

You know you have issues in the nose pad department when your sunglasses cause red sores, dark spots, or even skin rashes on your nose.

Apart from the fact that your sunglasses frame may be too heavy for your nose or having huge and weighty lenses, the nose pads can also be faulty or missing.

You might even be allergic to the nose pads if they are made from silicone, PVC, bohemian crystal, or polycarbonate (recommended for sensitive sunglass wearers).

Some get the nose-bridge measurement wrong: if the space over your nose is too narrow, it will cause red sores on your nose. On the other hand, if the area over the bridge of your nose is too large, the sunglasses will slide down your face. This often happens when it is hot.

Just imagine:  The sun’s out, the temperature is soaring, and you’re out on the beach.  But where are your sunglasses when you need them most?  They are for sure not on your nose with faulty nose pads!

What to do when the nose pads of your sunglasses need replacement.

 It is easy to do

We would advise you to replace your nose pads as soon as possible.   If they don’t ‘pad’ anymore, it is time.    Even a princess will get agitated with scratchy sunglasses!

The first thing to do is to inspect the nose pads closely.  Make sure the light is good:  you don’t want to face an invisible enemy.

Start the process by establishing the type of nose pads you’re working with. Are they screwed on? Do they clip in? This will determine the replacement nose pads you must purchase for the job. If you’re in doubt, contact the manufacturer to identify the correct nose pad to use for the specific sunglass frame you have.

Different types of nose pads and how to change them.

The push-in kind:  If your nose pads attach to the nose stem of the frame by small rectangular openings, they are probably the ‘push-in’ type. Just check that no screws are holding them in place. The nose pads will be slightly tapered, so they will stay in place once you push them in.  It is as easy as that!  These nose pads are usually non-slip and made of silicone.

  • Screw-in nose pads:  Look for a small screw holding the nose pads in place. It is essential here to have the proper tools to do the job of changing the pads.  When in doubt, ask the household handyman to help.  
  •  Clip-on nose pads:  If your nose pads have metal stems that wrap around the nose pad stem on the frame, they are clip-on or crimp-type nose pads. They are mounted with metal arms, and you need nose pliers to pry them open and close them up again once the nose pads have been replaced.
  •  Post-mounted nose pads: These also have screws in place which need to be loosened and then fastened.
  •  Rubber-moulded nose pads: These nose pads are very similar to the push-in type. There are many different ones on the market today, and some of them are often frame-manufacturer specific. It might be a good idea to check with the manufacturer.    Most of the rubber-moulded have a receiver on the frame that the rubber clips into. They are easy to replace, so pull the old ones off and push the new ones in!

 Where to find suitable nose pad replacements.

A problem you might face when researching nose pads for your specific sunglasses is finding suitable replacements. Unfortunately, there are so many different designs on the market that it can be nearly impossible to find what you want.

 We suggest that you do one of the following:

  • Contact the manufacturer of your sunglasses and provide them with its specific model number. They may supply you with a list of suppliers that stock the nose pads you require or sell them to you directly.
  •  Purchase a ‘make your own’ nose pad like Sugru. These are like blobs of playdough that you mould into the shape you require before they set and become more rigid. Then, you shape them onto the frame and put the sunglasses on to get the perfect fit.  For some, this might be the best solution!

Clean hands and work gently.

Just one more thing…

Manufacturers do recommend that you clean your hands properly before you start working on your sunglasses and that you work gently when removing and replacing the nose pads and working with the frame.

There should also be a little bit of wiggle room once the nose pad is fitted so that they can adjust slightly.   This will help your sunglasses to sit comfortably on your face.


Just do it!

Many of us would marry a prince when given a chance, though our irritation with scratchy and uncomfortable nose pads probably does not qualify us for the position or the title.

Avoiding dark spots on the nose doesn’t make us unique. In fact, it’s a universal trait shared by all of us. So, when the nose pads on your favorite sunglasses become ill-fitting, broken, or are lost altogether, you need to address the problem as soon as possible.

Or else, your expensive (or favorite sunnies) will end up in the drawer. And that is a shame, really, as replacing faulty nose pads is s on your sunglasses is so easy and quick to do.

Fix those sunnies properly, as wrapping plasters around your frames or using chewing gum as nose pads is not advised. How would that look?

It is only princesses that get promoted for enduring hardships.  The rest of us can end up on the beach, squinting at the sun and enjoying those wonderful last days of summer.   Replace those nose pads!



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