Where to Donate Old Used Eyeglasses

A few years ago, I opted to get Lasik.

I was having problems with my contact lenses, after using them for years and not having any issues, and it got to the point that I was sick of it. During allergy season, my eyes would change sizes just enough that the contacts would slide around. So I juiced up my health savings account and spent it on the procedure.

It’s amazing… but it also left me with a bunch of eyeglasses I no longer needed. They were perfectly good and I paid a small fortune for them (this was before I knew about cheap places to buy glasses online!), so I did what most people did – I stuck them in a box in a closet.

Now, over eight years later (!!!), I found them. And I’ve accepted they serve no purpose whatsoever. πŸ™‚

But, rather than throw them out, it would be better if we donated them. There are a lot of great organizations that take used eyeglasses and if you’re in the same situation, here are some of the best options:

Please only donate eyeglasses that are in good condition. Please don’t send in broken glasses because they’ll just throw them out.

Table of Contents
  1. Your Local Optometrist
  2. Lions Clubs International
  3. VSP Global: Eyes of Hope
  4. New Eyes For The Needy
  5. OneSight

Your Local Optometrist

The easiest place to look is your local optometrist. There’s a good chance that they have collection boxes for some of the organizations below.

For example, my local optometrist has collection boxes for both VSP Global and Lions Club International. I’m not sure how often they come to get the glasses but it’s better than collecting dust in a drawer somewhere. VSP Global no longer accepts them by mail but you can drop it into a collection box.

If you live near a Wal-Mart with a Vision Center, they will have drop boxes too so you won’t need to walk into a smaller optometrist office where they’re likely to ask you questions. 😁

Lions Clubs International

If you only have a few pairs or you live near a Lions Clubs International location, it may be better for you to drop them off. They have several locations across the country and the world. They will take your glasses, clean them, and send them to other countries to give you those in need.

Their program has been in operation since 1925!

Lions Clubs International Recycle for Sight

At just one location, The Minnesota Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center, they’ve collected more than 10 million pairs of eyeglasses and more than 700,000 pairs each year. They’ve been doing this for 80 years and dispense the glasses in developing nations for free. In Minnesota, there are hundreds of locations where you can drop off glasses.

I suspect this is the case in all the areas they support.

They no longer accept glasses by mail but with so many collection locations, it’s going to be your best option.

VSP Global: Eyes of Hope

VSP Global Logo

VSP Global has decided to end their mail-in used glasses donation program citing “substantial decrease in requests for donations to support vision care outreach.”

The simplest way to donate your glasses is with VSP Global, a vision insurance company. After a bit of searching, this was the only way to get a prepaid shipping label. Through their website, you can get a prepaid UPS label to mail your old glasses via UPS to Lions Clubs International.

The label is addressed to:
Eyes of Hope
11340 White Rock Rd., Suite 200
Rancho Cordova CA 95742

If you are an organization that wants to collect used eyeglasses, this program is perfect for you. They will mail you a collection box that you can set out and then just stick on their prepaid label to mail the whole thing off to Eyes of Hope.

New Eyes For The Needy

New Eyes

Sadly, New Eyes has also ended their used glasses donation program.

New Eyes is a 501(C)(3) that was founded back in 1932 to help improve vision for the poor, both children and adults. They will recycle your used glasses (in good condition, don’t send broken glasses!) and distributes them to the poor overseas. They are a United Way Agency.

New Eyes is not as large as Lions so you may not be able to find a place near you to drop off your old frames. You can, however, just mail your glasses in a padded envelope or box to:
New Eyes
549 Millburn Avenue
P.O. Box 332
Short Hills, NJ 07078

OneSight

OneSight has ended their used glasses program too and now just forward donations to several Lions organizations.

OneSight is another charitable organization that collects, recycles, and distributes glasses. They have partnered with several eye care providers to collect glasses on their behalf including LensCrafters, Sears Optical and Pearle Vision. You can bring your old eyeglasses to those stores and drop them off there for recycling.

If you have a lot of eyeglasses, you can mail them here:
Optical Village OneSight Center
9924 International Blvd., Dock 22
Cincinnati, Ohio 45246

There are many people around the world who are in need of eyeglasses and if you have a pair in good condition, it’s better served being used by someone else than taking up space in a landfill.

Hopefully, you can find a convenient way to give your specs a new life!

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Grace Delanoy
4 years ago

Thank you! This was very helpful!

Jo
3 years ago

Good to know that one can donate their old glasses someplace. I now have a cataract developing and I need a new prescription. Meantime I have all the old prescription glasses that may help someone else. Have at least 7-8 pairs that I would like to donate. Thanks for the source where I can now do that.

S, Auld
3 years ago

Thank you. I would have ended throwing them out

Krista
2 years ago

A great resource. Thanks from one CMU alum to another!

Jody
2 years ago

Unfortunately, some of the resources listed will NOT accept used glasses any more πŸ™ VPS website says: “Please note that we’re no longer accepting donations of gently used glasses or distributing them to support international mission trips.” New Eyes website says: “NEW EYES USED EYEGLASSES PROGRAM IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED.”. OneSight website says: “While OneSight dispenses 100% new eyewear to patients, we do accept eyewear donations. Donated eyewear is sent to several Lions organizations and is used to support their domestic and international programming.” Sounds like the only options now are sending or bringing to the Lions Club, or sending them… Read more »

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