Can you donate used eyeglasses?

Yes, you can donate eyewear! Here's how to tell if your glasses can be donated, a guide to charities that will take them and answers to your tax questions!
Published 12.07.2021

Access to quality vision care and eyewear is no guarantee for many people. But you can help change that by donating eyeglasses to the numerous charitable organizations that focus on helping people obtain access to the care and eyewear they need to improve quality of life. 

Whether it’s the holiday season or just another week; whether you’re an independent eye care professional with aging inventory or a patient with gently used eyewear, your old glasses can improve somebody’s life. Read on for where and how to donate gently used eyewear!

Donating gently used eyeglasses

If you were wondering about whether it’s even possible to give eyewear to charitable organizations don’t worry: You can donate used eyeglasses. In fact, your gently used glasses can be an immense quality of life improvement for someone who does not have easy access to eye care. You can even donate prescription eyeglasses!

Just remember: Your donated eyewear should be usable! Any glasses that go to charity should be gently used so that their second life with their new wearers will last a long time.

You have plenty of options for donating your old eyewear! And if you’re an independent provider, don’t worry: You don’t have to donate to an organization affiliated with the big corporations looking to limit patient choice and take away your freedom to run your practice.

You can donate gently used prescription eyewear to certain non-profits.
You can donate gently used prescription eyewear to certain non-profits.

Where to donate used eyewear

Looking for a place to donate eyeglasses near you? There are plenty of charitable organizations that take in-person eyewear donations. Here are some non-profits you can donate glasses to in person:

Lions Club International

Lions Club International is a community of volunteers working together on a variety of charitable causes. Among those causes are efforts to improve quality of life through eyewear donations. Lions Club has seven recycling centers for eyeglasses in the US. At the recycling centers donated eyewear is refurbished, packaged and, from there, delivered to various eyewear missions.

Learn more about donating eyewear to Lions Club.

ReSpectacle

ReSpectacle helps distribute donated glasses through an online database of gently used and refurbished eyewear. You can donate carefully packed eyewear to the nonprofit through the mail. From there they clean and redistribute eyeglasses to underserved communities worldwide! ReSpectacle also accepts cash donations. In fact, just five dollars is enough to match a pair of glasses to someone who needs them!

You learn more about donating eyewear to ReSpectacle here

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse recycling center is based in Chamblee, Georgia, from which they distribute eyewear to communities in need. You can either mail your eyewear donations to the recycling center or drop off your gently used eyeglasses with a nearby Lions Club. You can also contact Lighthouse about opportunities to redistribute donated eyewear in your community!

Click here for more on donating eyeglasses to Lighthouse

Goodwill

You’re probably aware of Goodwill, but did you know that they accept eyewear donations? Goodwill redistributes donated eyeglasses in local communities or to other charitable organizations for disbursement. You can drop gently used eyewear at a Goodwill near you!

Learn more about giving eyewear to Goodwill here.

Walmart Vision Center

You can donate old eyewear at certain Walmart Vision Center or Sam’s Club locations as well. Usually there will be a blue box at the entrance or exit to the store where you can drop off eyewear donations. Just make sure they’re carefully packaged to avoid damage! 

Find a description of Walmart’s eyewear donation program here

Target Optical

Target locations with a Target Optical on site may also accept eyewear donations. Find a Target Optical through the Target store locator, call and ask about whether they take donations before bringing by your gently used eyewear.

Find a Target Optical near you

Salvation Army

If you have old eyewear you can donate it to the Salvation Army as well. The Salvation Army cleans donated eyewear, resells it in their thrift stores and distributes proceeds to charities. There are Salvation Army donation centers across the country. If you don’t live near a donation center you can also schedule a pick up. 

Click here to learn more about donating to the Salvation Army

Eyewear donations are tax deductible.
Eyewear donations are tax deductible.

Are donated eyeglasses tax deductible?

Improving quality of life for underserved individuals is something you can feel good about. But if you need another reason to donate old eyeglasses, then we have one for you: Donated eyewear is tax deductible!

You can deduct the fair market value of the eyewear you donate from your taxes as long as you’re donating to a qualified charitable organization. Here’s a checklist for deducting your donations from your taxes:

  • Check that the organization is qualified under section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Determine the fair market value for the donation. 
  • Keep any donation receipts or documents for your tax records. 
  • Itemize and report your donations when it’s tax time!

That’s all you need to get a tax break from your eyewear donation! Make sure you speak to a financial professional who can help you make sure you’re determining fair market value and deducting it correctly. 

Remember: Eyewear is eye care. Your patients are your focus day-to-day. But you can offer the first step in eye care to underserved communities worldwide through your eyewear donations.

Author
Connor McGann, Content Marketing Manager
Connor McGann is Anagram's content marketing manager. He joined Anagram in February 2020. Previously he was a finance writer and animation project manager at a marketing agency, and managed content for a live chat provider that serviced various industries including health care and plastic surgery.