When people speak about the importance of donating items to the less fortunate, you might think of donating the usual items – your gently worn clothes, books, furniture, and others.
But what you might not realize is that you can also donate your old spectacles.
How are old spectacles used?
By donating your old glasses when you get a new pair, you can ensure that a person in need can have the blessing of sight even if they can’t afford to get their own glasses.
If you have a pair (or two) of old glasses lying around in a drawer and you don’t know what to do with them, here’s everything you need to know about how to donate your glasses and how, exactly, the donation process works.
We’ll start by looking at why you should consider donating your glasses and then look at what organizations will accept your glasses as a donation.
- 1 Why Should You Donate Your Glasses?
- 2 Where To Donate Your Old Glasses
- 3 What To Do When You Can’t Donate Old Glasses
- 4 Related Questions
- 5 Conclusion
Why Should You Donate Your Glasses?
Imagine being able to give someone in need the gift of sight without even having to do anything other than donate your current spectacles when you purchase new ones.
While you might think you can’t donate your glasses because the lenses have been made according to your specific prescription, there are ways around this.
Organizations that donate people’s lenses to the less fortunate will try to make use of the original prescriptions.
These might not fit the requirements of the people receiving the glasses perfectly, but they can still help them to see better than they would if they didn’t have any glasses at all.
If you regularly buy glasses, you’ll know how expensive they can be.
By donating them to someone less fortunate who wouldn’t be able to purchase glasses for themselves, you can make much better use of glasses that would otherwise create clutter in a drawer and remain neglected.
It’s sad but true: over one billion people in the world require glasses to see better but they cannot afford them, as The Seattle Times reports.
By donating your glasses, you can help one of them out and completely transform their world.
Donating your glasses is also a good way to make a donation that’s not a monetary one, and it can therefore make you feel like you’re doing a good deed because it’s so tangible.
Your pair of glasses will be used by someone who will reap the benefits of better sight instantly.
Where To Donate Your Old Glasses
There are many places where you can bring your old glasses. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common ones.
Lions Clubs International
This organization has a range of collection boxes and eyeglass recycling centers.
At these centers, volunteers sort through the glasses to determine their prescription strengths before they will be given to children who can make use of them.
If a pair of glasses can’t be reused, it will be recycled.
While it’s been said that only approximately seven percent of glasses are suitable to be reused, Lions Club is said to be able to reuse about 37 percent of their donations.
Lions Club has been donating people’s glasses for 80 years and they give them to people who need them in developing countries at no cost.
New Eyes For The Needy
You might not know that this non-profit organization’s spokesperson is celebrity actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
New Eyes For The Needy accepts glasses and distributes them overseas to people in need.
You can donate a range of glasses to them, such as safety glasses, prescription glasses, sunglasses, and reading glasses.
If your child wears glasses, you can also donate them.
New Eyes For The Needy is said to be able to reuse up to 70 percent of its donations, so it’s definitely one of the best places to donate your old glasses as you’ll be more assured that they’ll be useful for someone.
Goodwill accepts many kinds of donations and you can also take your gently worn glasses to them.
The organization has many donation centers, so you can use their site to find the one that’s closest to you.
The center in your area might be able to give those glasses to another non-profit organization that will be able to ensure they find the right person.
Goodwill is focused on ensuring that people from low-income households will be able to get the glasses they need to be more productive with better sight.
VSP Global Eyewear
VSP is a vision insurance provider, so you might not think that they are involved in glasses donations, but they have a branch that receives glasses which are donated by the public and then it sends them around the world so they can help those in need.
VSP is also committed to helping eye doctors to find spectacles for patients who can’t afford new ones.
As a member of VSP, you can send your glasses by mail to them at no cost. Even if you’re not a member, you can still donate your glasses.
You’ll have to follow the instructions on how to do this on the VSP website.
National Vision is an optical retailer that has many locations throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
Here you can donate the frames of your glasses so that they can be given to non-profit clinics in developing countries.
However, you can’t donate parts of your glasses or sunglasses. When you donate your frames to National Vision, they will be passed on to non-profit eye clinics and non-profit organizations in the United States.
From there, they’ll be sent to people abroad who don’t have access to new frames.
To get the process started, you’ll have to send an email to the organization so that you can inform them of the frames you have. Here’s all the information you need to know.
Did you know that you can donate your old glasses you no longer need right in your local Walmart store?
The Walmart Vision Center has teamed up with the Lions Club to collect used eyewear that can be given to those in need.
Donating your glasses when you’re shopping at Walmart is really easy – you just need to find the Lions Club donation box in-store (it’s blue and white).
However, it might be a good idea to call your local Walmart and ask them if they accept glasses donations.
OneSight is an organization that not only collects and distributes but also recycles your old glasses on your behalf.
They give the less fortunate glasses that they can’t afford but they’re also committed to providing eye exams to people who don’t have access to them, which is a fantastic initiative.
What makes it easier than ever to donate your glasses to OneSight is that they’re partners with various eye-care providers, such as Sears Optical and LensCrafters.
Just bring your glasses to those drop-off stores. Another way in which you can donate your glasses is by mailing them to OneSight directly.
This is especially useful if you have many pairs that you want to give in one go, like if you’re collecting glasses from your loved ones who want to get involved.
You can get OneSight’s postal address here.
What To Do When You Can’t Donate Old Glasses
Many organizations that accept glasses as donations state that the glasses have to be in good condition, so they shouldn’t be cracked or broken.
As you’ve seen from the list above, some also have specific rules when it comes to the types of glasses they accept, so yours might not always be acceptable.
If that’s the case, you might wonder what you can do with your old glasses. Here are some ideas.
You can’t always put them in your household recycling bin, but usually this shouldn’t be a problem if done correctly.
Plastic frames, for example, can be put out with other plastic to be recycled or they can be brought to a local recycling plant.
You can also recycle plastic lenses. Just make sure that if they’re made of glass that they go into the correct recycling bin. You can also recycle metal frames.
Reuse Your Frames
If you can’t recycle your old glasses, perhaps you can use them in other ways. If they’re in decent condition, you could even reuse them by replacing their lenses.
Restore Them With DIY
If your glasses are not in any condition to be worn or donated, you could use them in arts and crafts.
No, seriously! You can remove the lenses and use the frames as picture frames or add decorative touches to them to be worn at fancy dress or Halloween parties.
Can you get a tax deduction from donating your glasses to a charity?
You can receive a tax deduction when donating your old glasses, but it depends on the charity.
To get a list of qualified charities that will enable you to get a tax deduction, you can visit the IRS website.
What does it mean to reglaze glasses?
Reglazing is basically when the lenses in your frames are replaced, such as if your lenses have cracked or your prescription has changed, requiring you to need a stronger or weaker one.
When you need a new pair of glasses, you know how getting them can feel like such a blessing because they enable you to see things clearly and avoid eye strain.
But sometimes we take it for granted that we have access to eye exams and spectacles to help us see and interact with the world around us.
Imagine if you could give that gift of sight to someone who can’t afford a pair and is battling with blurry vision.
In this article, we’ve featured information on how to go about donating your old glasses and what organizations will accept them.
Donating your old glasses is a fantastic way to change a person’s life for the better, and it really doesn’t require much effort on your part, so put old glasses you don’t wear anymore to good use!