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3 Great Places to Recycle Old Prescription Glasses

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Have you had your annual eye exam lately? Many will leave their optometrist’s office with a new prescription for eyeglasses, but what will become of their old glasses?

You may have several old pairs of glasses lying around when prescriptions change or your preference in frame styles change. It does not have to be that way, and several options can help you decide how your old glasses can be helpful.

If your new eyeglasses prescription has not changed much from the glasses, you already own, consider keeping a pair as a secondary or backup pair in emergencies. If something happens to your primary glasses or contact lenses, making them unusable, you may not have time to wait for another pair of eyeglasses. Many patients also like a second pair, a “home pair,” that they can wear when lounging at home without concerns of ruining their good pair.

The Lions Club

If the eyeglasses are in decent shape, another option is to donate them to your local Lions Club. The Lions Club is a service organization with over 1 million members worldwide. One of their missions, Lions Recycle for Sight, helps those in need get the eyecare and eyewear they desperately need but cannot afford or do not have access to. The Vision Center at Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans on Jefferson Highway has a donation box for the Lions Club where you can drop off your old glasses. Glasses are picked up periodically by the local Lions Club. The donated glasses are sorted, and the prescriptions are matched and used to provide the “gift of sight” to help those in need. You can find a local Lions Club accepting eyeglasses donations if you are not near an Ochsner Vision Center.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army accepts in-kind donations, including old eyeglasses. But they must be clean and undamaged. The Salvation Army assists approximately 25 million Americans annually and has drop-off centers across the United States.


Goodwill is another organization where you can donate your glasses nationwide. Find your nearest donation center.

Why should I recycle my glasses?

Recycling glass helps reduce pollution and waste. We throw away garbage daily, and glass is a significant part of it. The benefits of recycling our old glasses include the following:

  • Sustainability and waste reduction
  • Being philanthropic in ways other than giving money
  • Impact of being charitable

Tips when donating eyeglasses

  • Leave the broken glasses at home. If you are donating eyeglasses, ensure the recipient can still use them.
  • Pack with care. Remember that eyeglasses are easily breakable, so pack them properly to prevent damage.
  • Clean them up! Make sure your glasses are cleaned and free of dust and marks if you can make them look good as new.

Schedule an appointment for your annual eye exam at the Ochsner Eye Center.

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