If you want to donate old eyeglasses, this is what you need to know and 5 places that will take them.
First, they need to be in good condition. The whole process from your donation all the way to the person who receives the glasses is costly, so at the very least, the glasses must be in good shape.
This informative article calls it a "feel-good" waste of money, explains why and states the numbers that back it up. It's an interesting read, so give it a gander.
From the New Eyes website:
Eyeglasses in good condition are sent to medical missions and international charitable organizations for distribution to the poor in developing nations. Proceeds from the sale of scrap metal, hearing aids, jewelry and giftware are used to support the U.S. eyeglass voucher program.
From the Lions Clubs website:
Throughout the year, Lions, Leos and other volunteers collect used eyeglasses and deliver them to regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers (LERCs). LERC volunteers clean, sort by prescription strength and package the glasses. Most of the recycled glasses are distributed to people in need in developing countries where they will have the greatest impact.
From the Eye Make A Difference website:
Eye Make A Difference® is an eyewear donation program to help people see worldwide. Nearly 310,000 pairs of glasses have been donated through Marchon® Eyewear and our doctors, clients, and members. To participate, simply order a free eyewear donation box, collect gently used eyewear in your office, and send it back to us. We’ll even pay the shipping! VSP Global works with our partner to clean, refurbish, and label your donated glasses for VSP doctors to use on global eye care missions.
From the Saving Sight website:
For disadvantaged people, a pair of used eyeglasses can mean the difference between drowning in poverty and providing for their families. With strong vision, children can do better in school, adults can return to the workforce, and everyone can better accomplish the tasks of daily life.
That’s why Saving Sight partners with Lions clubs, ReSpectacle, and humanitarian groups to collect used eyeglasses and recycle them by distributing them to people in need. Join us in Eyeglass Recycling so people can get the vision they need to lead healthy, independent lives.
From the OneSight website:
While OneSight dispenses 100% new eyewear to patients, we do accept eyewear donations to be responsibly recycled. Donated eyewear is disassembled and sent to a third party recycler that utilizes the raw materials. OneSight receives modest funds based on weight that supports charitable programs.