Where do my donated glasses go?

By Dr. Natasha Balani

January 5, 2024

Just had surgery and wondering what to do with your once well-loved glasses? We get it. Throwing them away feels like a waste, but keeping them tucked in a drawer isn’t helping anyone either. At SHARPEVISION, we collect gently used glasses and donate them to the LIONS Club. Donating glasses can go a long way in helping those who cannot afford them. Being able to see clearly can make the difference between employment and unemployment for an adult and a passing or failing grade for a child. 

Our local LIONS Club, headed by Phil and Carol Johnson, was gracious enough to visit with us and share some background information on their amazing organization.

Discover the Good

What is the LIONS Club? 

The Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is the World’s largest service organization. There are 1.4 million members, worldwide, in most all countries. Each Club is autonomous, free to raise funds and to provide services, but follow core focuses and programs of service. Lions International Clubs Foundation motto: Our mission is to empower Lions clubs, volunteers, and partners to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need.

What other causes does the LIONS club support?

Focus areas for the club go beyond glasses alone. The Lions Club supports a variety of initiatives including Disaster Relief, Hunger and food insecurity, Potable water in Third World countries, Hearing, Youth in need, Leader/Guide Dogs, and a Corneal transplant program.  LCIF improves access to quality education, vital health services, and positive youth development for people around the world.

Kindness in Action

Why Recycle Glasses? 

An estimated 120 million people are visually impaired because of uncorrected refractive errors (far and near sightedness). Almost all cases can be corrected and normal vision can be restored with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. The lack of eyeglasses denies children and adults opportunities for education, employment and a better quality of life.

The Journey of Recycled Glasses 

What happens to a patient’s glasses after they’re donated?

  • Lions and Leos collect used eyeglasses at various community locations. 
  • The glasses are shipped to the nearest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center where trained volunteers sort, clean and determine the prescription strengths of the glasses.
  • Volunteers at the recycling center carefully package the prepared glasses and store them until they are required for eyeglass dispensing missions. Glasses that are not suitable for reuse are recycled for scrap.
  • At the mission site, eye care professionals and trained Lion and Leo volunteers perform vision screenings and dispense the appropriate recycled glasses, free of charge, to children and adults in need.

Do you take contact lenses too?

Yes, non-expired, unworn and boxed lenses can be donated and recycled.

How many people does the LIONS Club help every year?

Countless people are helped each year, worldwide. LCIF raised an incredible $325 million last year. These funds are spent helping many millions. This charity’s score is 100%, earning it a Four-Star rating.

How do your local Fairwood Lions help our community?

The Fairwood Lions Club, as do all other Lions Clubs, collect used eyeglasses, which are: cleaned, graded, packaged and sent locally and overseas, to help patients in need. Last year our club raised $14,000 selling Christmas trees as a fundraiser. We

spent $14,000, or 100%, of our income helping others. We budget and spend funds for: two local food banks, eyeglasses and hearing aids for local patients, a clothing program for five K-5 students at Vine Maple Place, a service for single mothers with children, and many other local service needs. We spend it all…helping others. We have been members of the Lions for 37 years and appreciate all that Lions do, locally and worldwide. Our Motto is, WE SERVE.

For questions or inquiries about volunteer opportunities, you may contact Phil and Carol Johnson at philkona@hotmail.com or 206-778-8700.

Home | Lions Clubs International

Dr. Natasha Balani

Optometric Physician and Director
Make a Payment