These 10 Charities Recycle Old Donated Prescription Glasses

by Yvette in Comment — Updated February 7, 2024

In a world where access to proper vision care is a luxury for many, the act of donating old eyeglasses can make a significant impact on the lives of those in need.

Access to eye care is a global concern, and several charitable organizations work tirelessly to bridge the gap for those who cannot afford prescription eyeglasses.

In this blog, I will provide an overview of the top 10 charities dedicated to recycling old glasses. From Lions Club International to OneSight, these organizations play a crucial role in facilitating vision care and promoting eye health.

Read on to learn more!

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Key Takeaway

  • Donating old and unused eyeglasses can significantly improve the quality of life for those unable to afford new prescriptions. Charities distribute donated glasses to underserved communities globally.
  • Many organizations like Lions Clubs International, OneSight, and Prevent Blindness America collect, recycle, and hand out used eyewear to facilitate vision care access.
  • Consider donating fully intact old prescription glasses, usable reading glasses, sunglasses, or frames in good condition without damage.
  • Finding a charity like the Salvation Army and dropping off cleaned glasses at designated locations or via mail helps improve vision and empower those in need.

How Eyeglass Donations Help

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In the world of charitable initiatives, eyeglass donations stand out as a potent force, bringing about transformative change in global eye care access.

According to the World Health Organization, there are at least 2.2 billion people worldwide who struggle with vision impairment. Shockingly, about half of these cases could have been prevented or addressed with proper treatment like glasses.

However, many individuals lack access to vision care or cannot afford eyeglasses. This is where donating old eyeglasses can make a significant impact and help those in need.

These acts of generosity, fueled by the spirit of giving, serve as a catalyst for change in the following crucial ways:

Allow Reuse by Underserved Communities

One of the primary benefits of donating old glasses is that they can be reused by underserved communities. Many people around the world lack access to proper vision care and cannot afford new glasses.

By donating your old eyeglasses, you provide an opportunity for someone in need to have clear vision. Charitable organizations collect these donations, clean and refurbish them, and distribute them to those who cannot afford new glasses.

This simple act of donation can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals who would otherwise struggle with their vision.

Facilitate Vision Care and New Prescriptions

Another way that eyeglass donations help is by facilitating vision care and new prescriptions. When someone receives donated glasses, they also have the opportunity to undergo vision screenings.

These screenings can identify the specific prescription needed for the individual, ensuring that they receive the correct eyeglasses to improve their vision.

Through the charitable organizations’ partnerships with optometrists and eye care professionals, individuals can receive comprehensive vision care and access to new prescriptions.

This collaborative effort ensures that those in need receive the proper eyeglasses to enhance their daily lives.

Support Nonprofit Vision Programs Globally

In addition to helping individuals in need, eyeglass donations also support nonprofit vision programs globally. Many organizations work tirelessly to provide vision care, education, and resources to underserved communities around the world.

By donating your old glasses, you contribute to these programs’ sustainability and expansion, enabling them to reach more people and make a greater impact.

The support from eyeglass donations allows these nonprofit organizations to provide ongoing vision services, conduct vision screenings, and distribute new glasses to communities in need. Your contribution can truly make a difference in improving global eye care access.

What Glasses Can Be Donated?

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When it comes to donating eyeglasses, it’s important to know which ones can really help those in need. Charitable groups welcome various types of eyewear donations, each playing a role in improving vision and empowering people. Here’s what you can donate:

  1. Old Prescription Glasses in Good Condition: Donating well-maintained old prescription glasses is a key part of eyeglass recycling programs. These glasses can be given to people who need clear vision. Make sure the glasses have minimal wear and tear, intact frames, and working lenses. Check that the prescription is still accurate before donating.
  2. Reading Glasses and Contacts: Many people, especially older individuals, need reading glasses. Donating these glasses can greatly improve the lives of those with close-up vision struggles. Some organizations also accept unexpired contact lenses in their original, unopened packaging.
  3. Full Frames Preferred: While all donations are appreciated, collection points often prefer full frames. Full frames are versatile and can accommodate a range of prescriptions, making them valuable for organizations helping diverse needs. When donating, ensure the frames are intact, including the temples and nose bridges, and avoid donating frames with significant damage, as they may be hard to fix.

Top 10 Charities Recycling Used Eyewear Donations

1. Lions Clubs International

Lions Clubs International is a global organization that leads the way in eyeglass recycling. They have numerous Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers (LERCs) worldwide, making it convenient for individuals to donate their old glasses. One of their missions, known as Lions Recycle for Sight, focuses on improving access to both eyecare and eyewear.

In collaboration with Walmart Vision Centers and local clubs, Lions Club International ensures that donated eyewear reaches those who need it most.

The Lions Club accepts donations of all types of glasses, including prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, and reading glasses. Additionally, you can offer financial support to the organization by donating online, either as a one-time gift or on a recurring basis.

To learn more about their initiatives and find a donation location near you, visit their website here.

2. OneSight

OneSight is a non-profit organization that organizes vision clinics in developing countries. They provide free eye exams and distribute donated glasses to individuals in need. You can contribute to their mission by dropping off your old glasses at participating locations such as Pearle Vision, Target Optical, and Sears Optical.

Beyond collecting eyeglasses, they collaborate with local communities and medical professionals to establish sustainable eye care solutions. To learn more about OneSight and their impactful work, visit their website here.

3. Eyes of Hope (VSP Global)

VSP Global’s Eyes of Hope initiative is a multifaceted program that accepts donated eyeglasses. With a specific focus on children, Eyes of Hope collects and distributes glasses to kids in need around the world. They prioritize donations in good condition and even accept sunglasses.

To support their cause and learn more about their initiatives, visit their website here.

4. Prevent Blindness America

Prevent Blindness America is an organization dedicated to preventing vision loss through various programs, including a national eyeglass recycling initiative.

By collecting and distributing donated glasses, the organization extends its impact through community outreach, ensuring that individuals facing barriers to vision care, both children and adults, have access to proper eyewear.

PBA’s commitment to eyeglass donations contributes significantly to its overarching mission of eliminating preventable blindness and fostering healthy vision nationwide.

They partner with optical shops and other locations to provide easy drop-off points for donated glasses.

To find out more about their programs and how you can contribute, visit their website here.

5. Vision to Learn

Vision to Learn is committed to helping children see clearly in school. They collect and distribute glasses to students in need across the United States.

If you have old prescription or reading glasses in good condition, consider donating them to Vision to Learn. To find out more about their work and how you can make a difference, visit their website here.

6. Salvation Army

The Salvation Army thrift stores welcome a variety of donations, including eyeglasses, alongside other items. While their focus extends beyond eyeglasses, you can contribute them along with other items when making your vintage clothing finds at the Salvation Army thrift store.

By donating your old glasses to the Salvation Army, you contribute to their various social service programs. To find a Salvation Army location near you, visit their website here.

7. Goodwill

Goodwill is a well-known organization that accepts a wide variety of donations, including clothing, furniture, housewares, electronics, and yes, even old glasses.

However, take note that they don’t accept everything you donate. Rather, they sort through these items and sell them in their thrift stores, with the proceeds funding job training programs and other community initiatives. They do resell, not necessarily recycling.

The proceeds from these sales fund job training programs and other community initiatives. Visit Goodwill’s website here.

8. Freecycle

If you prefer an online platform to donate your old glasses, FreeCycle is an excellent option. FreeCycle is a network that allows people to give away or borrow items they no longer need.

By using FreeCycle, you can declutter your home while also helping out your neighbors. To get started with FreeCycle and find individuals who may benefit from your old glasses, visit their website here.

9. Earth911

Earth911 is a website that helps you find recycling centers and other facilities that accept specific types of materials. If you’re unsure where to donate your old glasses, Earth911 can assist you in locating the nearest eyeglass recycling centers.

To access their database and find a suitable donation location, visit their website here.

10. Trash Nothing!

If you want to contribute to a more sustainable and supportive community, consider using Trash Nothing! This platform facilitates the exchange of free, reusable items within local communities through various freecycling groups.

By posting your old glasses for giveaway, you can connect with others who may need such items. To join Trash nothing! and start donating your old eyeglasses, visit their website here.


ReSpectacle is a unique nonprofit organization that focuses on making eyewear accessible to individuals who may not have the financial means to afford prescription glasses. The organization collects used eyeglasses, cleans them thoroughly, and reglazes them with new prescription lenses.

These refurbished glasses are then provided to people in need, both domestically and internationally. You can donate to ReSpectacle via their website here

Eyeglass Donation Process Explained

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Donating your old glasses is a straightforward process that can make a meaningful impact.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the eyeglass donation process, along with valuable tips for making your contribution count.

  1. Gather Your Old Glasses: Start by collecting any old eyeglasses, reading glasses, or frames that are in good condition. Ensure that the lenses are intact, and the frames are not severely damaged.
  2. Identify Suitable Charitable Organizations: Various charitable organizations accept eyeglass donations, including Lions Club International, Salvation Army, and others. Choose any from the list above that aligns with your values.
  3. Check for Specific Requirements: Different organizations may have specific requirements for the types of eyeglasses they accept. Some may prefer prescription glasses, while others welcome reading glasses or frames. Ensure your donations align with the organization’s needs.
  4. Find Drop-off Locations or Mail-in Options: Charities often provide multiple options for donating eyeglasses. Look for designated drop-off locations in your community, or inquire about mail-in options if available. Some organizations may also partner with optical stores or community centers for convenient drop-offs.
  5. Prepare Your Donation: Clean your eyeglasses and place them in a protective case or bag to prevent damage during transportation. If donating frames only, ensure they are in good shape.
  6. Drop-off Locations at Public Spaces: Keep an eye out for donation boxes at public spaces like libraries, community centers, or optometrist offices. These collection points make it easy for individuals to contribute without a formal drop-off process.
  7. Consider Tax Receipts: Some organizations provide tax receipts for eyeglass donations, allowing you to claim a deduction on your taxes. Inquire about this option and follow any necessary procedures to obtain a receipt.

Remember, each organization may have its own specific guidelines and procedures, so it’s advisable to reach out to them directly for detailed information on how to donate your old glasses.


Who is eligible to receive donated glasses?

Charitable organizations typically distribute donated glasses to individuals in need, both locally and internationally. Eligibility criteria may vary depending on the organization and the specific program they operate. It’s best to contact the charity directly to inquire about their eligibility requirements.

Do donated glasses need to have a prescription?

While prescription glasses are highly sought after, some organizations also accept non-prescription reading glasses. Again, it’s recommended to check with the charity to understand their specific requirements.

Can I donate glasses with an outdated prescription?

Yes, many organizations accept glasses with outdated prescriptions. They can still be of use to individuals with similar prescription needs.

Is there an age limit on donated eyeglasses?

No, there’s generally no age limit for donated eyeglasses. Both new and old glasses can find purpose in providing clearer vision.


Donating old glasses to charities is a simple yet impactful way to improve access to vision care for those in need.

The charitable organizations mentioned in this article work tirelessly to collect, recycle, and distribute eyewear to underserved communities.

Contributing to their initiatives can help someone see the world more clearly and make a positive difference in their lives. So, gather your old glasses, find a donation location near you, and be a part of the gift of sight.

Together, we can create a brighter future for all.

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