What should I do with my old eyeglasses?

donate eyeglasses

These days, glasses aren’t just for seeing better. They’re for looking better too. Now that glasses are widely recognized as a fashion statement, you may be in the market for a new pair of specs. But what should you do with your old pair? Can you donate your eyeglasses? 

If you’re not interested in keeping your old pair of glasses as a backup, there are several other options you can explore: 

1. Donate eyeglasses. Yes! You can donate your glasses. We’ll explain how later on. 

2. Recycle glasses frames. If they have glass lenses, remove them and recycle them with glass, then you can recycle the frames with either your plastics or metals, depending on the frame material. 

3. Sell glasses frames. Someone else may not be able to use your prescription, but they can definitely reuse the frames. If they’re a popular name brand — like Tory BurchMichael Kors or Coach — it’s possible that you could get a decent return on them. — it’s possible that you could get a decent return on them. 

4. Replace the lenses. If you’re shopping around simply because your prescription changed, you can just replace the lenses with ones that meet your needs. 

How can I donate my glasses? 

Maybe you’ve been thinking about donating your glasses for a while — you just didn’t know how. Would it be weird if you just walked into a thrift store with your old glasses? Is that even the right place to take them? 

You can put your anxiety at ease. Here are a few ways to donate your glasses: 

1. Mail them in. Avoid face-to-face interaction altogether by mailing them in to an organization that accepts donations. (We’ll name a few in the next section.) 

2. Walk them in. Yes, there are several places that allow you to drop off donations in person. You just have to know where to go. 

3. Slip them in a donation box. Some organizations place drop boxes in high-traffic areas where you can leave your old pair of glasses. 

4. Take them to a drive-thru. If you’re in a hurry, you can roll through a drive-thru for a national nonprofit organization. Larger nonprofits have streamlined the donation process, making it as convenient as getting a Popeye’s chicken sandwich. 

All of these are great options, but before you take your old glasses anywhere, make sure they are in good condition. Double-check that they’re not missing screws, cracked or bent. The nonprofit or business to which you’re trying to donate may reject your donation if the glasses are in poor shape. 

Where can I donate my used glasses? 

When you hear the word “donation,” you probably associate it with charities and nonprofits. However, not all charities accept donations for eyeglasses — and not all organizations that accept these donations are nonprofits. Here are a few places you can donate your old glasses: 

1. Coastal accepts gently-worn glasses* that were previously purchased from Coastal across the United States. In partnership with the Lions Club International Foundation, we recycle frames and donate them to someone in need. Prior to mailing them in, it is required to contact our customer service. In return, you’ll receive $5 Coastal store credit towards your next pair.

*Glasses must be in good condition. Frame Donation Consent Form must be included with the returned glasses. Please note that once a frame has been donated, it cannot be returned under any circumstances. Up to $25 per year in credit or five frames per year, per customer. 

2. Eyes of Hope is a charity initiated by VSP Vision Care. Clients and members can print a prepaid shipping label to ship gently used eyewear to them for free. 

3. Goodwill works with other nonprofits in the community. Check your local Goodwill donation center to see if they accept eyeglass donations in your area.  

4. Lions Clubs International runs a network of collection boxes and Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers across the United States. These boxes can be found in many public locations, including libraries, schools, optometrist offices, community centers, local Lions Club office and other public venues. 

5. New Eyes donates recycled glasses to people in the United States and overseas. You can mail or ship used glasses that are still in good condition in padded envelopes or boxes to New Eyes, 549 Millburn Avenue, P.O. Box 332, Short Hills, NJ 07078. 

6. OneSight accepts eyeglasses donations and sends them to the Lions Club for worldwide distribution. If you have used eyewear in bulk, you can mail them directly to their eyewear processing center: Optical Village OneSight Center, 9924 International Blvd., Dock 22 
Cincinnati, Ohio 45246. 

Before you make the trek to your local donation center, call ahead to make sure they’re currently accepting eyeglasses. It’s possible they’re already at capacity, or the location you found can’t take glasses donations for some reason. It’s definitely better to know before you go. 

You’ve donated your glasses. Ready for a new pair? 

You’ve made your donation, and now you want a new pair of glasses. But you haven’t found the right fit yet. Here are a few things to consider: 

Did you know about our ‘Buy One, Give One’ program? For every pair of glasses that you bought, Coastal will donate a pair to someone in need. Don’t miss this chance to help yourself and others see clearly. 

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