Perhaps your prescription has changed, or you’ve had successful LASIK surgery and no longer need those contact lenses that are sitting in your cabinet. It’s possible to donate unused contact lenses to charity to help individuals less fortunate than yourself. You can do a good deed, clear cabinet space, and get a tax deduction at the same time.
Decide which charity you’d like to receive your contacts. Currently there are several charitable organizations that accept donations of unused contacts. These include (but are not limited to) New Eyes for the Needy (neweyesfortheneedy.org), MADRE (madre.org), Goodwill (goodwill.org), and the Lions Club (lionsclub.org).
Determine what is required to ship your unused contacts to your chosen charity. In most cases, you can securely package your unused contact lenses and send them to your chosen charity in the mail. Some organizations have a form they’ll request you fill out, but most do not.
Donate your unopened and unused contact lenses to your chosen charity. Be sure to pack them securely so they are not damaged in shipment. If you choose to give to the Lions Club or Goodwill, both organizations have many locations and drop-off boxes across the country, so you may not have to send your contacts in the mail. Instead, use the locator tools on their websites to find the location nearest you and make your donation in person.
Postage for your donation is tax-deductible. If your charitable organization will provide a receipt, the fair market value of your donation may also be tax-deductible. Speak with a tax professional to see what options are available to you when making this donation. The larger your donation, the more likely it is you will be able to take a deduction on your taxes.
Most charities that accept donations of unopened and unused contact lenses may also accept unopened and unused cleaning and maintenance supplies for contact lenses. Check with your charity of choice to see whether they can use these supplies, and if they answer positively, send the supplies along with the contacts.
Before donating soft contact lenses or contact lens cleaning and maintenance supplies, check the expiration dates to make sure that they are still good. If they have expired or will soon expire, it may be better to throw them away. Their packaging is still recyclable, however.