Do you have one or more pairs of old eyeglasses tucked away in a drawer or closet? Prescription glasses that you no longer need can make a world of difference to someone who can't afford glasses or lacks access to optometry.
You can give the gift of better vision and better quality of life to others by putting your old eyeglasses to good use. You can also sponsor an eyeglass collection drive in your community.
You've got lots of options and they're laid out here.
Recycle Glasses to Help Those in Need
An estimated 250 million people worldwide suffer from poor vision. Without eyeglasses, some can not learn to read, developmental disabilities result, adults can not work, livelihoods are lost, medications are mistaken. Millions of people, an estimated one of four, cannot see the world clearly due to vision problems.
Drop Off Old Eyeglasses to a Collection Point
Nationwide locations of these organizations accept used eyeglasses: Goodwill stores, Lenscrafters stores, Lions Club (see details below), Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Salvation Army stores, BJ's Optical, to name a few.
Lions Clubs are recognized worldwide for their sight-based programs, ranging from eye tissue for surgeries to save sight, to vision screening, and eyeglass recycling. Lions has three ways to recycle your glasses:
- at 17 eyeglass recycling centers in the US,
- at community drop off points set up by local chapters of Lions Clubs
- by mail to Lions Clubs International Headquarters, Attn: Receiving Department, 300 W. 22nd Street, Oak Brook, IL 60523
For more information, and an interesting slide show on how old eyeglasses go from collection box to needy recipient, go to www.lionsclubs.org
Donate Old Glasses to "New Eyes for the Needy"
This non-profit organization was founded in 1932. It distributes new and recycled eyeglasses to the poor throughout the US and in developing nations. Find them at www.neweyesfortheneedy.org You can also mail eyeglasses to New Eyes for the Needy at 549 Millburn Ave, Short Hills, NJ 07078.
Sponsor an Eyeglass Collection Drive in Your Community
This is a great activity for a boy or girl scout troop, school, senior community, or any organization that wants to gather eyeglasses for the needy. You can create and distribute drop boxes for unwanted eyeglasses, or schedule and market an event in your community for a day or a weekend. There are free promotional materials online, do a search.