Where to donate your glasses

Photo of a pair of glasses on top of some books
Emilie Harris/Staff

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Do you know what four billion people on Earth have in common? It’s not hair color, height or skin color. It’s actually those lenses on your face. That’s right, an estimated 64% of adults wear glasses. 

However, more than one billion people are still in need of glasses, and it’s not a secret that eyewear is expensive and often hard to come by. So what can you do to help? Donate your old pair, of course!

Here are a few places in the Bay Area and beyond that accept glasses for donations.

Lions Club International Foundation

This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization has over 1.4 million members worldwide and has been around since 1916. They have Lions Clubs all over the globe, with many situated in Berkeley. Each club takes donations of gently used, working glasses and matches them with individuals all over the globe based on prescription and fit. If you’re looking for a reputable organization to find a perfect match for your spectacles, check out Lions Club. 

Goodwill

Your local Goodwill is once again pulling through as an amazing resource for redistribution. When donating glasses to Goodwill, they will ask for the prescription and make sure the set is in good condition. Once these steps are complete, the organization will match the glasses with members in the community. This route is a great option to aid low-income individuals locally. 

The same goes for thrift stores, too. If you don’t have access to a Goodwill or other non-profit organization, your local thrift store will most likely resell your old glasses for an affordable price, thus providing opportunities for those who don’t have the means to buy new. 

Your local optometrist’s office

If you want expert information on what to do with your old eyewear, turning to your eye care provider is also a valuable option. Many eye centers (including the Meredith W. Morgan Eye Center at UC Berkeley) have donation stations in their frame department. When picking up a new set, make sure to bring your old ones and see if they have a resource for donations. 

Some things to remember

By donating your old glasses, you will expand their lifespan significantly. Glasses are a product designed and manufactured to fit one person, but with organizations like these, they can be a resource for more people.

Another thing to note, however, is that glasses cannot be put in the recycling bin. A lot of people try to recycle damaged glasses, thinking that the materials can still be used for something else. However, glasses are one thing recyclers keep sighing at. Instead, try repairing or revamping your glasses. Lensology provides services to reglaze glasses, so you can simply change the lenses and refurbish the frames. 

So, the answer is crystal clear. Before you set your next eye appointment, remember to donate your former pair and help someone out.

Contact Sophie Horvath at [email protected].