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People with glasses or contacts that no longer have the correct prescription may be able to donate them to a range of organizations.
This article looks at why a person should donate their old, undamaged glasses and how and where to do this in the United States.
Many people throughout the world do not have access to the vision care that they need.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that
A 2012 study highlights that, even in the United States, many people cannot afford eyeglasses. The researchers found that
Donating glasses may help people regain their independence and improve the quality of their lives.
Please note that the writer has no investment in any of these organizations or charities. All information is research-based.
Donating old glasses involves dropping them off at a collection point or mailing them to an organization or company. Different organizations have different requirements. For example, some only accept donations of unused glasses.
Other programs also accept:
- used, undamaged prescription glasses
- nonprescription reading glasses
- glasses frames
- unopened contact lenses
Some organizations only donate domestically, and others donate worldwide.
A company might donate a new pair of glasses when a person purchases a pair or donate used glasses when a person upgrades their prescription.
People cannot donate their glasses to this company, but Warby Parker has a “Buy a pair, give a pair” scheme. For every purchase of Warby Parker glasses, the company donates a pair to a person in need.
The company partners with VisionSpring, a nonprofit organization that sells affordable glasses internationally. Warby Parker also has a Pupils Project, which gives children in the U.S. an opportunity to access vision care and receive glasses for free.
The company says that its donations have reached 50 countries, including Sri Lanka, Mexico, Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh.
David Kind sells premium eyewear online. It encourages its customers to trade in their old pair of David Kind prescription glasses when upgrading to a new pair.
The company donates the glasses to New Eyes for the Needy, a nonprofit organization that distributes glasses to people in the U.S.
When a customer participates, they receive a $50 coupon to use toward their next purchase.
People can donate gently used glasses via collection boxes at various stores.
In participating Walmart stores, people can drop off their old glasses in blue-and-white collection bins that are usually located near the entrance to Walmart Vision Centers.
Walmart staff then take these donations to their local Lions Club monthly meetings. A person may also be able to drop off their old glasses at their local club headquarters.
LensCrafters is an international retailer of prescription and nonprescription eyewear. It accepts donations of gently used glasses at its many stores throughout the U.S.
LensCrafters has a partnership with OneSight, an organization that provides vision care to those who could not otherwise access it worldwide. LensCrafters and OneSight have donated eyeglasses and provided low-cost vision care since 1988 and have helped more than 10 million people.
People can also donate money to OneSight via the LensCrafters website.
Several charities accept glasses that are in good condition. These charities then supply glasses to people in need nationally and globally.
Eyes of Hope is a charitable scheme of VSP Global, a vision care insurance company that operates in the United States and other countries.
Eyes of Hope collects new and gently used eyewear and distributes it to those who need it globally. The glasses can be prescription or nonprescription with plastic or metal frames and intact lenses. Eyes of Hope cannot accept damaged eyewear or contact lenses.
To donate, a person should contact their local VSP sales team and request a donation box, then display it somewhere public. Eyes of Hope provides a prepaid shipping label, and a person returns the box when it is full.
ReSpectacle is a nonprofit charitable organization that distributes quality used eyeglasses to people in the U.S. who qualify for free glasses.
It accepts glasses that are gently used and does not accept any that:
- are missing one or both arms, nose pads, or lenses
- have loose lenses
- have cracked, scratched, or peeling lenses
- have nonfunctional or broken hinges
- have sharp points
- are damaged beyond simple repair
A person can send donations by mail to ReSpectable’s address in Hudson, Wisconsin. The charity recommends sending the glasses in a case or a padded cardboard box.
It also encourages people to donate financially or hold a glasses drive or fundraiser.
A person can donate glasses and unused contacts to various charitable organizations that help people in need access vision care.
Some of these charities operate domestically and others also operate internationally. The glasses typically need to be in relatively good condition.