Managing a Pair of Glasses

 A pair of purple glasses After a child has an eye exam, is it time to buy glasses? It was never “in about an hour” like the retail optician commercials claimed to obtain my glasses as a kid. It lasted more like an hour…and three weeks. My strong prescription meant longer wait times for special orders. It happens. Nowadays buying a pair in person is not the only option. Online retailers like my favorite Warby Parker offer glasses and sunglasses as long as you have your prescription and some basic measurements handy.

In America, cost should not hold you back from vision screenings, eye exams and a valid glasses Rx. Early detection of vision issues can eliminate learning struggles. But what if the cost of buying glasses is too high for an already tight budget?

Luckily, I’m all over it. New Eyes, a non-profit organization, offers vouchers for children and adults to purchase new glasses. Another place I mentioned in my last post which provides eye exams, Sight for Students, also provides free glasses for children. Score.

Now that the barriers to vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses are gone with the information you learned in this series, you’ll only have one more problem. When the time comes to stop using a pair of glasses, it seems wasteful to throw them out. Whether you are fortunate enough to afford glasses or not, what can be done with old pairs? Donate ’em.

A few places accepting donated glasses:

One thing to note with glasses donation. The work behind managing donations consumes a lot of time and resources to transfer, sort, and redistribute all those pairs of glasses. As this Bloomberg article points out, the costs quickly add up. Making a small financial donation to an organization providing new glasses to those in need, such as New Eyes, can help, too. Or, buying your glasses from places which pledge to donate a pair for every purchased pair, like my favored Warby Parker, helps, too.

Providing glasses by physical or financial donation will increase the ability to learn and enhance the quality of life to those in need. Be a giver.

Where else can qualified individuals receive free glasses? Did you know used eye glasses could be donated? What’s your experience with eye glasses donation? Do you believe eye glasses are an important tool for learning? Tell me about it.


Thanks for reading the Kids and Vision Screenings series. I hope you enjoyed it. To reference previous installments, check out Part 1: It’s Elementary, Part 2: Detecting a Eye Issue in a Flash, and Part 3: See Something, Screen Something.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Casee says:

    I have a few pair old eyeglasses laying about. I will donate them to New Eyes and a donation to help them with their important work. I had not heard of this organization before.

  2. Interesting series, Susan. I am not up to date with derails of eye screening in the UK but I know that problems for pre school children will be picked up by the health visitor, subsequently by the GP (general practitioner doctor) or the school nurse. All eye tests and glasses are free to children up to 16 or 18 if they are in full time education. Of course, any child insisting on designer frames will have to pay for them. Many parents are grateful to Harry Potter and his free National Health specs! Opticians take donations of unwanted glasses and send them to third world countries. I’m not sure which charities are involved. incidentally, all pensioners over 60 also receive free eye tests in the UK.

    1. Hello again, Bridget. Thanks for sharing the information about glasses and screenings in the UK. It’s interesting to see how American policies (don’t). Measure up.

  3. Well, yes! But the system is very fragile here under the present Conservative government so we shouldn’t be smug!

  4. This is very good information Susan. Like you I remember back in the day waiting weeks to get my glasses and it was a tortuous wait because just getting the refraction would make things so much sharper for me. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I found the trick to making my lenses thinner was smaller frames. The last pair of eyeglasses I had were about as small if not smaller than reading glasses and I loved them. Of course back then the glasses were just back ups to my contact lenses but this particular I didn’t mind wearing.

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