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Donate Your Out-of-Prescription Eyeglasses

by Beth Hering
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Donating your old eyeglasses can save someone in a developing nation from unemployment. With the cost of glasses equaling a year’s salary in some countries, donated eyeglasses are the only feasible way to bring sight to many visually impaired. These recycled eyeglasses can be the difference between a blacksmith continuing his work or closing up shop, or the factor that enables a woman to support herself by doing embroidery rather than becoming destitute.

Medical missions often call their eye care facilities "joy clinics" because of the happiness that eyeglass donations bring. Imagine the feeling of being a boy who constantly did poorly in school because he couldn't see the words in his books all of a sudden having reading make sense because he received the gift of recycled glasses.

Yet while some mothers in poor, rural areas have never even clearly seen the faces of their children, more than four million pairs of unused eyeglasses go into the garbage in North America each year.

The good news is that you can make a huge difference in someone's life simply by donating your unworn eyeglasses and spreading the word to others. Groups such as the Lions Club can recycle eyeglasses for as little as 8 cents each. But they cannot do it without your help.

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Donate your old eyeglasses and sunglasses to help people with eyesight difficulties worldwide. (Sunglasses can be non-prescription. They are needed in countries near the equator to help protect people's eyes from sun damage.)

The Lions Club has drop boxes in many convenient locations.

To find a LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, Sunglass Hut, or other facility that collects old eyeglasses for the group OneSight, you can search by zip code on the organization’s site for the location most convenient to you.

Items also can be sent in padded envelopes or boxes to:

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

E-mail ten friends who wear glasses to see if they have old pairs that could be recycled for people with eyesight problems. Collect them for donation.

Check with lost and found departments in hotels, health clubs, stores, police stations, and mortuaries for unclaimed glasses that could be donated.

Also, consider sponsoring an eyeglasses collection drive at your workplace or house of worship.

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