5 Things to Do With Old Glasses

12 sources cited
Vision Center is funded by our readers. We may earn commissions if you purchase something via one of our links.

You’re likely not going to keep the same pair of glasses forever. Often, they break. Sometimes, your vision changes, so your glasses need to be replaced with a new pair.

Maybe you’ve just had LASIK surgery or have chosen to wear contact lenses. Or perhaps it’s just about time to change up your style. 

But what do you do with old glasses? Tossing them out feels like a waste — especially because glasses can sometimes cost you a small fortune. Glass and plastic pollution also hurt the planet. 

Here are five things to do with old glasses instead of just throwing them away.

1. Donate Your Old Glasses

According to the World Health Organization, at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed.1

Many Goodwill organizations will take your used reading glasses, so long as they’re still in decent shape. Look for eyeglasses donation boxes at vision centers.

If your glasses are no longer wearable, however, the organizations will likely throw them out. So be sure you’re only donating glasses someone else could feasibly wear.

Where to Buy Glasses + Contacts

Best Overall: Warby Parker

Fastest Delivery: EyeBuyDirect

Also Great: Liingo

Best Place to Buy Contacts: 1800 Contacts

2. Gift Your Old Glasses

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Ask around your social network to see if someone you know needs a pair of glasses. 

You never know who might find value in your old pair — or who might know someone else who needs new glasses. Since glasses can be costly, friends and family will likely appreciate them. All they have to do is switch out the lenses. 

3. Sell Your Old Glasses

If you want to make money from giving away your pair of frames, you can also try to sell them online. Check out online marketplaces like eBay or Preloved, where people buy and sell secondhand items. Webuyframes.com is another website where you can sell your old glasses.

4. Repair Your Old Glasses

If the only reason that you’re giving away your old pair of glasses is that they are broken, you can try to get them repaired. Look for an eyeglass repair shop near you. 

There are also national services, such as the All-American Eyeglass Repair Shop, where you can drop off or mail your glasses to have them fixed.

5. Recycle Your Old Glasses

In 2018, plastics generation was 35.7 million tons in the United States, and landfills received 27 million tons.10 Meanwhile, glass generation in all products was 12.3 million tons in the United States, and only about 25% of glass products were recycled.8

If your glasses are too broken to be redistributed, don’t just throw them out. Make sure that you put your old specs in the recycling bin. This way, they won’t end up in landfills. 

Best Charitable Organizations For Donating Old Glasses 

Here are a few charitable organizations that will accept your old glasses donations. However, note that most organizations cannot accept lenses without frames or broken or significantly damaged eyewear. Make sure that the glasses you donate are wearable.

VSP Global

This vision insurance company will give you a prepaid UPS label to mail your old glasses in. Then, eye doctors and optometric organizations can request eyewear for outreach efforts domestically and abroad.

Lions Clubs International

Lions Clubs International has locations throughout the U.S. where you can drop off your used glasses.

You may also find Lions Club Recycle for Sight donation boxes at optometrist offices, schools, and other public locations. The organization will take your gently used eyeglasses, clean them, and send them off to those in need in different countries worldwide.

New Eyes for the Needy

New Eyes for the Needy is a United Way Agency.

You can drop off or mail in your used glasses, and they’ll donate them to those in need in rural areas overseas. Every year, the organization receives about 275,000 donations and distributes approximately 240,000 to people in more than 37 countries.

OneSight

OneSight is a charitable organization that collects old glasses, recycles them, and redistributes them.

OneSight has partnered with various eye care providers to collect, such as LensCrafters, Sears Optical, and Pearle Vision. You can drop off your old eyeglasses at any partnered store.

National Vision, Inc.

National Vision, Inc. is a large optical retailer that operates two programs: 20/20 Quest and Frames for the World. They distribute used eyewear to qualified non-profit clinics in developing countries all across the globe.

What Not To Do With Old Eyeglasses

Do not throw away your old eyeglasses.

Beyond the fact that glass and plastic pollute the planet, someone else in need could use your old glasses. There are many options for getting rid of old eyeglasses, so throwing them in the garbage should not be one.

Best Places to Buy Glasses

Best Overall

Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.

Also Great

Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.

Best on a Budget

EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.

Best Places to Buy Contacts

Best Overall

1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

glasses usa logo
Also Great

GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.

12 Cited Research Articles
  1. “World report on vision.” World Health Organization, 2019.
  2. “33 Years Repairing Eyeglasses – Walk-In or Mail-In.” All American Eyeglass Repair.
  3. “Donate Old Glasses.” America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses.
  4. “Donate.” OneSight.
  5. “Eyeglass Recycling Centers: Lions Clubs International.” Eyeglass Recycling Centers | Lions Clubs International.
  6. “Eyewear Donations.” Donate Your Used Glasses to VSP Eyes of Hope.
  7. Frank. “Where to Donate Old Eyeglasses: Payne Glasses.” Payne Glasses Blog, 2020.
  8. “Glass: Material-Specific Data.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 2021. 
  9. Jacoby, Mitch. “Why Glass Recycling in the US Is Broken.” Chemical & Engineering News, American Chemical Society, 2019. 
  10. New Eyes for the Needy.” New Eyes for the Needy.
  11. “Plastics: Material-Specific Data.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 2022.
  12. “What To Do With Your Old Glasses Frames: 10/10 Optics.” 10 / 10 Optics, 2020.
Vision Center Logo
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

All about Vision Center

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram