ol' four-eyes

Confession time: I have terrible vision. I have worn glasses since I was 10 and contacts since I was 20. And the idea of laser surgery terrifies the hell out of me, so with contacts I am stuck.

And of course, every year when I would get a new prescription, I would have to get a new pair of glasses, leaving me with a collection of old glasses.

What to do with them? Obviously, they're still functional!

Enter eyeglasses recycling programs. There are different organizations that accept used glasses to help people in need around the world. But, they work in different ways.

Because everyone has different prescriptions or other problems corrected by their glasses, it's hard to match exact prescriptions with another person who needs it. Many organizations instead accept the used glasses for the materials, and then recycle them into new glasses for those in need, which still saves on using new materials.

Lions Clubs around the country accept used glasses through their Recycle for Sight program. They accept prescription and reading glasses, along with sunglasses, and plastic and metal frames. You can donate through a collection box or by mail.

New Eyes sends glasses in good condition to medical missions and international charitable organizations for distribution to the poor in developing nations. With monetary donations, they send new glasses to US residents in financial need.

Retailer Lenscrafters has partnered with OneSight for 25 years to provide vision care to millions of people in 40 countries. Through continued partnerships, volunteer efforts and financial support, OneSight provides comprehensive eye exams, vision care and customized prescription glasses to people in need throughout the world.

PearleVision, Sears Optical and Sunglass Hut also partner with OneSight to bring eyecare and glasses to people in need. 

And Warby Parker is a popular company that follows the TOMS model of providing glasses to people in need for each pair they sell. Each month, they make a donation to their nonprofit partners that covers the cost of every pair sold. So when you do need a new pair of glasses, you can help someone else at the same time.

So, gather up your (or your children's) old pairs of glasses, and donate them today so you can help others see clearly!

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