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Organize an Eyeglasses Collection Drive

by Beth Hering
The Challenge

Approximately 1.4 million visually impaired children in developing countries need eyeglasses but cannot afford them. In India, many vision impaired children are sent to blind schools even if they have usable sight because they do not have corrective eyewear. About half of the visually impaired kids in institutions for the blind in Africa would be able to read normal or large print if they just had glasses.

Sadly, over 4 million pairs of old eyeglasses are thrown away each year in North America. A new pair of glasses in a developing country may cost as much as someone there earns in a year.

Yet, recycling a pair of old eyeglasses for use by a visually impaired person in a developing country costs as little as 8 U.S. cents. Instead of cluttering our landfills, our old eyeglasses could be helping visually impaired children to get an education, eventually get employment, and lead a more fulfilling life.

The good news is that you can help. By taking a few hours to collect old eyeglasses in your community, you can give a visually impaired child a life-changing gift — the gift of sight.

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Help the visually impaired by organizing an eyeglasses collection drive at your workplace, local school, library, or place of worship.

Or, help the visually impaired year-round by maintaining an eyeglasses collection box at your village hall, library, church, or local medical center; ask if they will let you permanently display an eyeglasses collection box on their property.

Eyeglass Donation Drop-Off Locations:

New Eyes accepts donations of:

  • plastic eyeglasses and sunglasses in good condition
  • metal eyeglasses in any condition
  • pairs of prescription lenses

Items can be sent in padded envelopes or boxes to:

New Eyes
549 Millburn Avenue
P.O. Box 332
Short Hills, NJ 07078

New Eyes' website offers a downloadable kit with posters, pamphlets, and press releases to advertise your event. It also has a section on how to organize a successful eyeglasses collection drive.

Lions Clubs in the United States also collect used eyeglasses, reading glasses, and sunglasses (prescription and nonprescription) to be cleaned, repaired, classified by prescription, and distributed to optical missions in developing countries. Items from your drive can be sent to one of the regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers.

Or, simply drop off the eyeglasses at a nearby LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, Sunglass Hut, or other facility that collects old eyeglasses for the group OneSight (search by zip code on its site for the location most convenient to you).

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