If you wear glasses, you have probably run into the problem of trying to find a way to dispose of your old glasses. The easiest way would be to throw them away in the trash. But that is wasteful and environmentally harmful.
Instead of throwing away your old glasses, you could instead recycle them. There are 1.1 billion people in the world who suffer from vision problems and lack access to vision care. For many of them, vision can be restored with a simple pair of glasses – the glasses you were going to throw away.
You can donate your old glasses at retail stores like Walmart Vision Center, Sam’s Club Optical Center, America’s Best, or Lens Crafters. You can also drop them off at donation places like Salvation Army and Goodwill. The old glass will be sent to non-profit organizations to be distributed worldwide to people who need them.
With some of these organizations, you can just walk in and drop off your glasses. Others accept donations sent by mail. Most will accept prescription glasses, sunglasses, and readers. One of them even accepts used contacts and their packaging for specialized recycling.
The table below summarizes the top organizations for old glasses donations:
|Lions Clubs||Drop off|
|Eyes of Hope||By mail|
|Walmart Vision Center||Drop off|
|Sam’s Club Optical Center||Drop off|
|Donation Drop Boxes||Drop off|
|Homeless Shelters||Drop off|
|Religious Ministries||Drop off|
|The LightHouse||Drop off|
|Easy Donation PickUp||Home pickup|
|The Salvation Army||Drop off|
|Bausch + Lomb||Drop off|
|America’s Best||Drop off|
|Sight Learning||By mail|
|Nationwide Vision||Drop off|
|Local Optometrist Shops||Drop off|
The number of places that accept donations of used glasses has been decreasing. Some of the information you see on the Internet is outdated. Quite a few organizations that are commonly listed on the Internet as places that accept used glasses donations no longer do so.
Organizations That No Longer Accept Used Glasses Donations
|New Eyes for the Needy||Only accepts donations of money|
|Sears Optical||All locations are closed|
|Pearle Vision||Only accepts donations of money|
|National Vision, Inc. (NVI)||Only accepts donations of new glass frames|
Lions Clubs International
Lions Clubs International is one of the most prominent organizations involved in glasses donations. It donates around 30 million pairs of glasses each year to developing countries.
You can donate your old glasses to Lions Clubs in 3 ways:
Through Lions Clubs’ Local Partners
Lions Clubs partners with various organizations such as Walmart, Sam’s Club, local libraries, banks, small businesses, schools, or places of worship to collect eyeglasses donations. You can visit those partners to drop off your glasses.
At Your Local Lions Club
Some, but not all, local Lions clubs accept eyeglasses donations. Find your local Lions Club by using this Lions Club Locator and contact your chosen club to make sure they accept glasses donations.
Not all clubs have a physical location, address, or telephone number.
You can mail your eyeglasses to a Lions Eyeglasses Recycling Center (LERC). For a list of all LERCs and their addresses, click here.
Alternatively, you can also send your glasses to the Lions Clubs Headquarters:
Lions Club International Headquarters
Attention: Receiving Department
300 W. 22nd Street
Oak Brook, IL 60523, USA
OneSight is an independent nonprofit dedicated to global vision care. It has helped over 9 million people in 46 countries since 1988.
You can donate used glasses to OneSight in 2 ways:
Through Its Local Partners
OneSight partners with LensCrafters to collect donated eyeglasses. For small quantities of donations, you can drop off your glasses at a local LensCrafters store.
Large quantities of donations should be shipped at the donor’s expense directly to the OneSight eyewear processing center:
Optical Village OneSight Center
9924 International Blvd., Dock 22
Cincinnati, Ohio 45246
Eyes of Hope
Eyes of Hope is a charity platform founded by the vision insurer VSP Vision Care. It has provided access to free eye care and eyewear for more than 2 million people around the world.
Eyes of Hope accepts complete sets of new or gently used prescription glasses or readers with plastic or metal frames and intact lenses. It does not accept lenses without a frame, broken or damaged eyewear, eyewear cases, or contact lenses.
To send donations to Eyes of Hope:
- Pack up your glasses in a sturdy box or padded envelope
- Go to the VSP Vision Care website to generate and print out a prepaid UPS shipping label
- Apply the shipping label to your package
- Drop off your package at the nearest UPS location
You can also use your own shipping label. The address is:
Eyes of Hope
11340 White Rock Rd., Suite 200
Rancho Cordova CA 95742
LensCrafters is a partner of OneSight. To donate, simply drop off your gently used prescription or non-prescription glasses at a LensCrafters location near you and they will recycle and hand-deliver your used eyewear to those in need during a OneSight Global Clinic.
You can use LensCrafters’ Store Locator to find a LensCrafters location near you.
Some locations of Goodwill accept donations of used glasses.
These select Goodwill locations partner with local nonprofits to distribute donated glasses to those in need.
To find out if your local Goodwill will accept donations of glasses, contact them directly.
To find a Goodwill donation site near you, you can use the Goodwill Locator and select the Donation Site checkbox in the FILTER drop down list.
Walmart Vision Center
Walmart partners with the Lions Club to collect donations of used glasses. You can deposit your eyeglasses at any participating Walmart Vision Center.
Some, but not all, Walmart Vision Centers participate in this donation program, so it is important that you call ahead of time to confirm before visiting.
Walmart only accepts prescription eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses for donation. Over-the-counter reading glasses are not accepted.
To donate your used prescription glasses to Walmart:
- Go to the Walmart Store Locator to find a list of the stores near you
- Choose a store that has a Vision Center
- Call the Vision Center of your chosen store to confirm they accept old glasses donations
- If they do not, find another store with a Vision Center
- If they do, bring your glasses to your chosen Walmart
- Look for the blue and white Lions Club donation box that is usually placed near the entrance of the Vision Center
Each month, Walmart’s staff will send collected glasses to the nearest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center.
Sam’s Club Optical Center
Sam’s Club also partners with the Lions Club to collect eyeglasses donations.
Not all Sam’s Club Optical Centers participate in this donation program.
You can use the Sam’s Club Store Locator to find stores near you. Select the Optical Center checkbox to see only stores that have an Optical Center. Call your chosen store to confirm that it accepts glasses donations before you visit it to drop off your eyeglasses.
Donation Drop Boxes
Besides Walmart and Sam’s Club, Lions Clubs also partner with various local businesses and organizations to put donation collection boxes on their premises.
Typically, you will find Lions Club donation boxes in places such as your local libraries, schools, banks, small businesses, or places of worship.
ReSpectacle is a non-profit organization that facilitates the redistribution of high-quality, donated eyeglasses to underserved individuals and communities worldwide.
ReSpectacle accepts donated glasses in gently-used condition. By “gently used,” they mean no missing parts, no loose lenses, and no major cracks or scratches. The way ReSpectacle puts it, they want glasses that you would be comfortable in giving to someone.
To donate, you can send your glasses to:
529 2nd Street, Suite 100
Hudson, WI 54016
Many homeless shelters will accept donations of used glasses which will then be distributed to people who are in need.
Look up your local homeless shelters and ask them if they have any used glasses donation programs.
Many religious ministries will accept used eyeglasses for donations. Try your local churches, temples, and mosques. Many of them have set up programs to take in used glasses and distribute them to people who need them.
The Lighthouse is a non-profit in Georgia providing underinsured Georgians access to low-cost vision and hearing services such as vision screenings, eye exams, eyeglasses, eye surgeries, and hearing aids.
Unique among the organizations in this list, The Lighthouse accepts donations of eyeglasses of all types (including prescription eyeglasses, readers, and sunglasses) and in any condition of wear.
To donate, you can either mail your eyeglasses to or drop them off in person at:
5582 Peachtree Rd
Chamblee, GA 30341
Easy Donation PickUp
For those who live in Los Angeles or Orange County, you can use a service called Easy Donation PickUp to come to your home and pick up your eyeglasses donation for you.
The pickup service is completely free. And better yet, you do not have to wait at home for it to arrive. You can just leave your donations next to your front door.
To donate using Easy Donation PickUp:
- Schedule a pickup either
- Online: https://easydonationpickup.com/schedule-a-pickup/
- By phone: 1 (855) 628-8387
- Pack your old glasses in a box or padded envelope. Mark your package with the letters “NVF” so the person doing the pickup can find it easily
- No need to be home for the pickup. Just leave your package outside your door. Easy Donation PickUp will show up on the scheduled date, pick up your donation package, and leave your tax receipt on your door
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army accepts all sorts of donations, including eyeglasses and sunglasses.
To donate, you can drop off your eyeglass at your local Salvation Army Thrift Store or Donation Drop Off Center.
You can use the Salvation Army Locator to find a Salvation Army location near you.
Bausch + Lomb
Bausch + Lomb offers a program called ONE by ONE Recycling Program that allows used contact lenses and packaging to be recycled properly, with the goal of reducing landfill waste associated with contact lenses.
Bausch + Lomb is the only organization on this list that will accept used contact lenses for recycling.
It turns out contact lenses are not handled by regular recycling programs. Due to the size of contact lenses and their packaging, these materials get filtered out at recycling facilities and directed to the waste stream, contributing to landfills and microplastic pollutions across the United States.
In contrast, with the ONE by ONE Recycling Program, your used contact lens items are separated based on composition and melted into plastics that can be upcycled to become playground sets, park benches, and more.
This program accepts:
- Contacts & packaging from any brands, not just those from Bausch + Lomb, including:
- Contact lenses
- Top foils
- Opened plastic blister packs
This program does not accept:
- Unopened blister packs
- Bausch + Lomb contact lens cardboard boxes – they recyclable through regular municipal recycling
You can send your contacts and related packaging to Bausch + Lomb ONE by ONE Recycling Program in 2 ways:
Drop off at Local Recycling Center
- Go to the ONE by ONE Recycling Program Recycling Center Locator
- Find a Recycling Center near you
- Visit your chose Recycling Center to drop off your contacts
Send by Mail
- It is more sustainable to drop off your lenses at a recycling center. But if there is no recycling center near you, collect a year’s worth of used lens items before you ship them
- Go to the ONE by ONE Recycling Program Recycling Center Locator
- Scroll down and type in your name & email address
- Click GET MY FREE SHIPPING LABEL
- Print your free shipping label
- Put your contact wastes in a sealed cardboard box package
- Apply the shipping label from Step 4 to your package
- Drop off your package at the nearest UPS location or schedule a pickup to ship from home
America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses
America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses is a discount seller of eyeglasses and contact lenses with over 700 retail locations in the United States.
America’s Best also partner with Lions Clubs to collect used eyeglasses. You will see a bright blue-and-yellow donation box inside participating America’s Best locations. Just drop off your old glasses into that box.
You can use the online Store Locator to find an America’s Best store near you.
Not all America’s Best stores have a collection box. So, make sure you call your local store to make sure they can accept donations before you visit them.
Sight Learning is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing eyeglasses to students who need them but cannot afford them. It has collected and distributed more than $2,000,000 worth of used eyeglasses to students around the world in Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, and India.
To donate your old glasses, mail them to:
1 League # 60715
Irvine, CA 92602
Nationwide Vision is a regional chain of optical shops and vision care centers with more than 80 locations in Arizona. They accept donations of used glasses.
If you live close to a Nationwide Vision, you can just drop off your old glasses there.
You can look up their locations here.
Local Optometrist Shops
Many independent optical shops also accept donations of used glasses. You can just call your local opticians and see if you could drop off your old eyeglasses there.
Organizations That No Longer Accept Used Glasses Donations
One thing to keep in mind is that the number of places that accept donations of used glasses has been decreasing. Some of the information you see on the Internet is outdated. Quite a few organizations that are commonly listed on the Internet as places that accept used glasses donations no longer do so.
New Eyes for the Needy
New Eyes is a United Way Agency. It is dedicated to providing eyeglasses to children and adults facing financial difficulties all over the world.
Many articles on the Internet list New Eyes as a place to donate your used glasses. Unfortunately, that is an outdated piece of information.
Like New Eyes for the Needy, Sears Optical is commonly listed on various articles on the Internet as a place that accepts donations of used eyeglasses.
Unfortunately, all Sears Optical locations are closed as of February 1, 2020.
Pearle Vision is another chain of optical stores that is commonly listed on articles on the Internet as a place you can drop off your used eyeglasses donations.
But as of March 2021, all mentions of used glasses donations have been removed from Pearle Vision’s website.
On the other hand, Pearle Vision will still take donations in money. You can donate money on their website here.
National Vision, Inc. (NVI)
National Vision is one of the largest optical retailers in the United States. It is also commonly mentioned as a place that accepts used glasses donations.
Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. As of 2021, National Vision only accepts new eyeglass frame donations. Used glasses are no longer accepted.