Where To Donate Eyeglasses
Why donate your old glasses?
One big reason to donate your old eyeglasses: You can easily change lives. Over 1 billion people around the world with vision loss and lack of access to eye care could regain their sight with a pair of glasses, according to the independent nonprofit OneSight.
Donating a pair of glasses you no longer use is easy and costs you nothing. And it does so much good. Your donated eyeglasses may help a needy person in your hometown read the label on a medicine bottle. Or they might enable a child on the other side of the world see the board at school.
Besides giving the gift of sight, donating eyeglasses allows you to declutter your home and divert a perfectly useful item from the dump. Since the average U.S. resident tosses 4.5 pounds of solid waste per day, anything you hold back can help.
How to donate eyeglasses
It’s as easy as grabbing your old glasses and getting them to the right place. There are several U.S. and global nonprofit groups that accept eyeglasses donations.
Some groups accept used glasses while others take only donations of new glasses. Depending on the organization, you may be able to donate:
Used prescription glasses in good condition
Non-prescription reading glasses
The organization you donate them to will inspect the glasses, determine the prescription, and clean the eyewear so it can be used again. Your old glasses will then get matched to someone who needs them — around the world or in your neighborhood.
Many donated eyeglasses are used in medical missions to other countries. During these trips, eye doctors and other medical professionals provide free eye care to people with limited access to health resources.
Who accepts eyeglasses donations?
Lions Clubs International
Lions Clubs International operates a network of collection boxes and Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers, where volunteers process donated glasses for distribution through medical missions around the world.
New Eyes, a United Way agency, buys new glasses for people in need in the United States. It also accepts, processes and distributes gently used donated eyeglasses to people overseas. New Eyes accepts used prescription glasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, safety glasses and children’s glasses in good to excellent condition.
OneSight is an independent nonprofit that has helped more than 9 million people in 46 countries. They set up permanent vision centers and hold charitable clinics around the world. While OneSight dispenses only new eyewear to patients, they accept donations of used eyewear and send it to Lions Clubs International in support of their recycling programs.
Eyes of Hope
Through Eyes of Hope, vision insurer VSP Global provides access to no-cost eye care and eyewear for more than 2 million people around the world. They accept donations of new and gently used eyewear.
Where to donate old glasses
Wondering where to donate eyeglasses? Donation is easy and convenient. For example, you can:
Donate your glasses at LensCrafters or Pearle Vision. These chain optical stores partner with OneSight, which will deliver the glasses to a nonprofit that accepts and distributes used eyeglasses globally.
Look for a Lions Club dropbox. Lions Clubs work with their local communities to make donation easy, so you may find a donation box at your local library, bank, small business, school or place of worship.
Take your old glasses to Goodwill. Your local Goodwill may accept eyeglasses donations to pass on to another nonprofit in the community. Find a nearby donation center to see if Goodwill offers this in your area.
Donate eyeglasses by mail. VSP Vision Care, the largest vision insurer in the United States, allows members to print a free shipping label to send donated glasses to them for free. New Eyes also accepts eyeglasses donations by mail.
Drop off your glasses at Walmart and Sam’s Club vision centers. The Lions Club has agreements with these retailers.
Donate wearable eyeglasses
When donating eyeglasses, ask yourself, "Would I be proud to give these glasses to a friend or relative?" Donate only glasses that are in good to excellent condition, and be generous with your contributions.
SEE RELATED: Can you recycle contact lenses?
Page published in February 2019
Page updated in May 2021