If you just got a new pair of glasses, you understand that getting the eye exam, purchasing the frames, and getting your prescription lenses set can be expensive and time-consuming. This is true even if you have vision insurance. Many people around the world cannot afford prescription lenses, which reduces their quality of life.
Table of Contents
- Donating Your Glasses
- Is It Safe?
While there are many charitable organizations that take glasses, the four best are renowned international charities. If you do not want to mail your glasses to a charity, you can also donate them to an organization like Goodwill to be resold, or you can purchase from an online company like Warby Parker that resells or donates glasses.
Donating Your Glasses Helps Those Who Cannot Afford Lenses or Frames
As someone who wears glasses, you know how expensive they can be. Even when prescription lenses are covered by your vision insurance, finding frames that fit and are affordable can take time and effort.
Many people need glasses but cannot afford them, so more charities are offering ways for you to donate your old glasses to help others who need them. Since old glasses generally just sit unused in a drawer, it makes sense to donate them to people who will actually use them.
Some charities may take your used or old glasses and resell them at a lower price. Others donate glasses to low-income, unemployed, or homeless individuals in the United States or around the world. People who cannot get to an optometrist very often, or who simply cannot afford glasses that would improve their vision, benefit from having access to a pair of glasses that fits their prescription.
Being able to see clearly reduces headaches and eye strain. It also improves mood and betters one’s overall quality of life. Improved vision can have a dramatic effect on someone’s life.
If you have pairs of glasses you no longer need, donating them to a charity can help someone else.
Resources for Donating Glasses
Many of us leave eyeglasses that we no longer use to idle away on their nightstands or in their drawers. Donating glasses with outdated prescriptions is a good and smart way of helping someone who cannot afford them.
If the organization that you donate to is a non-profit (classified as a 501-c-3 charitable group), your donation can be used as a tax write-off. You will want to have a written or email receipt, especially if the contribution is valued at $250 or more.
Here are some websites to visit when looking for a place to which you can donate your glasses:
- Lions Club International: This organization has multiple drop-off points to collect used items, including glasses to donate to those who need them.
- New Eyes: This New Jersey-based nonprofit collects used glasses via mail and distributes them to those in need.
- ReSpectacle: This small nonprofit collects and donates gently used eyeglasses in their many drop-off locations or sent in the mail.
- VSP Global Eyewear Donations: A vision insurance provider, VSP has this charitable branch that collects used glasses for donations worldwide.
- Goodwill: Goodwill is a well-known and widely accessible nonprofit with multiple locations in many cities where you can drop off used eyeglasses for donation.
- Warby Parker: This relatively new eyeglass retailer collects used glasses for donation to people in more than 50 countries.
- The Salvation Army: Like Goodwill, the Salvation Army has locations in all 50 states and collects glasses for redistribution.
If you are looking for an in-store solution where you can drop off your used glasses, consider these alternatives:
- Walmart Vision Centers: Walmart stores partner with Lions Club to collect eyeglasses for people in need.
- Lions Clubs: You can find your local Lions club by clicking here.
- LensCrafters: This is an international nonprescription and prescription eyeglass retailer that also collects gently used eyewear in its many stores countrywide. Find your local store here.
- Costco: This store has optical centers that accept donations on-site in a donation box.
- Pearle Vision: As with other eyeglass retailers, Pearle Vision also collects used glasses.
A number of national and international non-profits also accept worn eyeglasses donations. Among them are:
- Optometry Cares: This is the charitable arm of All About Vision, a humanitarian eyecare non-profit that provides awareness, education, research and access to eye health throughout the U.S.
- SEE International: This international non-profit provides “essential and transformative eye care and surgery around the world.”
- Essilor Vision Foundation: As its name indicates, this is the charity of Essilor, one of the top eyeglass manufacturers in the world.
- Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity: This group provides vision-care services to anyone below the poverty level who lacks access to sufficient eye care.
- RestoringVision: This non-profit distributes new reading glasses and sunglasses to other charities and groups that help underserved communities in developing countries.
Here is a short list of ideas about what to do with your old glasses:
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has its list of organizations and resource to help people in need of vision care.
The Fred Hollows Foundation has a number of ideas about how to donate your old glasses.
The Lions Club has a guide for its clubs and members about used eyewear collection and donation.
Another Method of Donating Glasses: Reselling
If you cannot mail in your glasses to a charitable organization, or there is not a reliable drop-off location for glasses donations near you, you can contact your local thrift stores to see if they take gently used glasses. Thrift stores have a range of methods for marking prescription glasses, and they will resell items that you donate. This gives you another option to offer low-income people the chance to find a pair of glasses in their prescription for very little money.
For example, Goodwill is a nationwide organization with dozens of locations in most major U.S. cities. The nonprofit accepts prescription glasses. They either distribute them through one of their charitable programs, or they sell them at a low price in one of their retail outlets. If you remember the cost of your glasses, this could be a tax deduction, as Goodwill is a nonprofit that offers tax benefits for donations.
If you are more interested in helping local low-income or homeless people, contact a nearby homeless shelter or charitable organization. Many shelters, clothing drives, and financial aid organizations take donations of clothing and toiletries. If they do not need or cannot take prescription glasses, they can direct you to an organization that will distribute these to people in your city who are in need.
Many people buy less expensive, non-designer glasses frames online, and many of these vendors can also provide prescription lenses for new glasses. Since you cannot try on frames in person in a store, many of these online companies allow you to return glasses that do not fit you. These glasses may be sent to a charitable organization. For example, Warby Parker has a program you can sign up for, to donate a pair of glasses when you purchase a pair of glasses.
When you get a new pair of glasses, consider donating your old ones. Most cities do not let you recycle your prescription glasses. Simply throwing them away can feel wasteful.
Fortunately, there are numerous charitable organizations, both locally and internationally, that will accept used glasses in good condition and give them to someone in need. You can feel good that your old glasses are helping someone in need to see better rather than just sitting in a drawer or ending up in the trash.
Is It Safe to Donate Your Glasses?
In short, yes, it’s safe to donate glasses you no longer use or need. Assuming you do not have a contagious disease and that you wipe down your glasses thoroughly with rubbing alcohol before you donate them, there are no health issues with this kind of donation
You do want to make sure that you give to a reputable charitable organization that is going to distribute the frames and lenses in a proper manner.
There are many people across the globe who need vision care and do not have access to it, including prescriptions glasses. According to the WHO, 2.2 billion people are diagnosed with different vision impairments that affect their independence, mental health, and cognition. Unfortunately, some of them cannot afford eyeglasses to correct their impairment.
Donating your eyeglasses to those who need them helps patients regain their independence while improving their quality of life. Furthermore, it reduces the environmental waste attributed to dumped eyeglasses.
- Find a Club. Lions Club International.
- Homepage. New Eyes.
- FAQs. ReSpectacle.
- Providing New Hope Through Old Glasses. The University of Iowa.
- Eyewear Donations. VSP Global.
- Nine Things You Didn’t Know You Could Donate to Goodwill. (February 2016). Goodwill Northern New England.
- Buy a Pair, Give a Pair. Warby Parker.
- What to Do with Spectacles. RecycleNow.com.
- Donating Old Hearing Aids, Eyeglasses and Mobility Equipment. (August 2016). The Huffington Post.
- Eyewear Donations. (August 2021). VSP Global. Date fetched: August 9, 2021.
- How to Donate Eyeglasses. (January 3, 2020). International Eyecare Center. Date fetched: August 9, 2021.
- The Ultimate List of Vision Charities for the Eyecare Industry. (May 19, 2020). VisionWeb. Date fetched: August 9, 2021.
- Helping People See and Cope with Vision Loss. (August 2021). All About Vision. Date fetched: August 9, 2021.
Where is the best place to donate old eyeglasses? ›
There are a few ways in which you can donate eyeglasses. Walmart Vision Centers: Lions Clubs International has a partnership with the Walmart Corporation. You can deposit your eyeglasses at any participating Walmart Vision Center. Local Lions clubs: Some local Lions clubs collect eyeglasses.Can I donate my old glasses anywhere? ›
Take your glasses to your optician
Most opticians have a glasses recycling box for the donation of used spectacles. For example, Specsavers, Vision Express, and Boots Opticians — alongside many independent opticians — work with charities that provide optical training and sight care for people in developing countries.
They also supply volunteers from the 'Unite for Sight' charity with glasses to take with them on missions to countries across the world. Further information can be found on the Lions Club website or contact them on 0121 441 4544.
Some charities such as Lions Clubs International also collect unwanted spectacles for grading and redistribution to eye clinics overseas.What does Walmart do with old glasses? ›
The collection boxes are usually near the Vision Center entrance. Each month their staff freights collected glasses to the nearest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center. Use the Walmart store locator to find Centers near you.Does Costco take old glasses? ›
Costco sends members' used eyewear and hearing aids to New Eyes where they are sorted, tested and repackaged for distribution to those in need around the world.How to donate glasses to Vision Aid overseas? ›
Simply take your old glasses to an optician who are participating in the recycling scheme. All the local independent opticians within Book An Eye Test are part of charity Vision Aid Overseas who handles the spectacle recycling process. They recycle your glasses for their plastic and precious metal components.Do Vision Express recycle old glasses? ›
My optician (vision express) still accepts old glasses for donation, they are passed on to relevant charities. They don't accept cases, though.Can you reuse glasses frames? ›
A sturdy optical frame should last the life of the lenses, and beyond. Hence it is often quite reasonable to reuse your frames for your new prescription lenses. Your optical frame also determines the size of your new lenses.Does Oxfam take old glasses? ›
Luckily, you can help, by donating your old glasses to Vision Aid Overseas. Find your nearest drop off point here – they include many major opticians branches such as Vision Express and Specsavers. Charity shops run by Mind, Marie Curie, Oxfam, British Heart Foundation and Age UK shops all accept mobile phones.
Where can I donate old glasses NZ? ›
If you have used eyeglasses you no longer need, you can donate them now. Lions accept prescription and reading glasses, sunglasses and plastic and metal frames. Children's glasses are especially needed.Can I bring my own glasses frames to Walmart? ›
It depends on which Walmart you go to. Some Walmart's will replace the lenses in your frames and since they want to sell their own frames they usually add $25.00 to the cost of the lenses in a customer's own frame. You will need to call your local Walmart to find out their individual policy for your location.What happens when glasses get old? ›
Wearing old prescription glasses can damage your eyesight and make your vision more challenging to manage and correct over time. Some signs you might need to see an optometrist about a new prescription include: Blurred vision. Increased headaches.What does visionworks do with returned glasses? ›
Visionworks will replace the original pair with another pair of glasses with frames and lenses of your choice that are of equal or lower value. The returned pair of glasses must be in new and original condition. This guarantee does not apply to broken or damaged glasses not consistent with ordinary wear.Is it cheaper to get glasses at Costco or Walmart? ›
Costco charges $130 for high-definition progressive lenses, which, as with all Costco lenses, include an anti-reflective coating. That's about half what you'd pay at many walk-in stores. But if you need basic, plastic single-vision lenses, you can pay as little as $29 at Walmart, about half as much as at Costco.Are Costco glasses worth? ›
Costco Optical accepts most vision insurance plans and you can see an independent optometrist, saving you both time and money. Costco Optical was ranked as the best place to buy eyeglasses according to Consumer Reports.How much does Costco charge for a pair of glasses? ›
Glasses cost an average of $185 at Costco Optical — 54% less than other chains and retailers. Just like in most places, glasses at Costco Optical can have a wide range of pricing. To start, it depends on the frames you choose. If you go with the Kirkland brand, you will pay less than if you choose designer lenses.What can you donate to World vision? ›
Poverty in the USA
Your gift to help children and families in the U.S. will provide the basics children living in poverty in our country need to thrive — essentials like food, clothing, school supplies, academic mentoring, training, and more.
Is Wearing Glasses a Disability? Wearing glasses to compensate for partial vision loss does not automatically make you eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The SSA defines disability for vision loss in a medical guide called the Blue Book.Does medical aid pay for sunglasses? ›
Medical aids do not PAY for eyewear, they merely CONTRIBUTE towards it.
What can I do with my old specs? ›
Come with your old spectacles to our stores today. Give a helping hand to the needy by doing your bit for them. You can make a huge difference in someone's life simply by donating your old eyeglasses.Can I sell my old glasses frames? ›
Sell Your Old Glasses
If you want to make money from giving away your pair of frames, you can also try to sell them online. Check out online marketplaces like eBay or Preloved, where people buy and sell secondhand items. Webuyframes.com is another website where you can sell your old glasses.
Prescription glasses – delivery will be between 3-5 working days from from the date the order was placed, pending prescription validation. Please note that if you have selected any lens 'add-ons' your order may take 7-10 working days.How long should you keep the same glasses? ›
Adults should change their glasses with the same frequency as eye exams—recommended every 2–3 years. School-age children should have annual eye exams. Depending on vision changes and how well they care for their glasses, children can keep their eyeglasses for 2–3 years.How much does it cost to put old lenses in new frames? ›
Usual cost: $29 to $69.Can you put lenses in the frames I bought at another store? ›
Can You Keep Your Existing Frames? Fortunately, you can typically continue to use your existing frames when you get new lenses, provided that the frames are in good condition and aren't too complicated in shape. If they're damaged or worn out, then you'll need to get a new pair of frames along with the new lenses.When should you throw away sunglasses? ›
There is no definitive expiration date on when your sunglasses begin to lose effectiveness since everybody spends a different amount of time in the sun. It depends on the individual. If it's an everyday pair, they may only last a year or two before needing replacement. Think of your sunglasses as sunscreen.What to do with glasses when wearing sunglasses? ›
Clip-On tinted lenses
You can clip them on your regular glasses. This is a pretty affordable and convenient option for wearing sunglasses over spectacles.
Nearly any type of corrective prescription can be turned into prescription sunglasses. There are a variety of options available, from progressive lenses to bifocals. Many regular sunglasses can be converted to prescription sunglasses, but not in all cases.Can you recycle old bras? ›
How to recycle bras. Bras in 'new' condition can be sold online or donated to charity via a clothing bring bank, collection bag or directly to stores that accept underwear for resale. Bras that are unsuitable for re-use can be recycled in clothing and textile containers at Recycling Centres - find your nearest below.
Is there a charity that takes old bras? ›
It's time to bin your bra!
Our bra recycling scheme takes your unwanted or unloved bras and through our network of bra banks raises vital funds for pioneering breast cancer research. The same bras also help to support small businesses in developing countries in Africa and around the world.
- Donate Your Unused Hotel Amenities. ...
- Use Them At Home. ...
- Put in the Guest Bathroom. ...
- Travel With Them. ...
- Take Them to the Gym. ...
- Sell Your Toiletries Online. ...
- Giveaway as a Gift. ...
- Repurpose Your Toiletries.
They collect glasses for their Recycle For Sight programme which regrades and distributes 250,000 to 500,000 pairs each year to those in need in developing countries. You can also drop them into your local Specsavers store who will recycle them in partnership with the Recycle For Sight programme.Where can I donate used eyeglasses in Houston? ›
- American Legion Post 654 - 3105 Campbell Rd.
- Clay Rd. ...
- CVS Pharmacy - 9455 Hammerly.
- Factory Eyeglass Outlet - 9079 Katy Frwy. ...
- Fairhaven Methodist Church - 1330 Gessner.
- Hillendahl Library - 2436 N. ...
- Hot Dog Shop - 6405 Brittmoore.
- In-Sight Eye Care - 13147 NW Freeway E Suite 100.
But if you need another reason to donate old eyeglasses, then we have one for you: Donated eyewear is tax deductible! You can deduct the fair market value of the eyewear you donate from your taxes as long as you're donating to a qualified charitable organization.Where can I donate eyeglasses in Austin? ›
|Austin-Bergstrom International Airport||3600 Presidential Blvd.||512-530-7600|
|Texas State Optical-Capital Plaza||5501-B North IH-35||6982|
|Envision Eye Center||1801 E. 51st, #360||6677|
|Santa Fe Optical||1601 W 38th Street||512-451-1213|
For the donation of old spectacles, opticians usually have a glasses recycling box. Specsavers, Vision Express, and Boots Opticians- along with many independent opticians- work with charities that provide training and sight care for people living in developing countries.Should I throw away old prescription glasses? ›
Do not throw away your old eyeglasses. Beyond the fact that glass and plastic pollute the planet, someone else in need could use your old glasses. There are many options for getting rid of old eyeglasses, so throwing them in the garbage should not be one.