Published March 9, 2023
Got some spare contact lenses you’re not using? You’re probably thinking of donating them; that’s why you’re reading this post. But can you donate contact lenses?
Yes, you can definitely donate contact lenses. But you can’t just donate any spare contact lenses you got lying around.
Though the donation policies differ, charitable organizations only accept unused and unexpired contact lenses – and for obvious reasons.
Aside from being totally unsanitary, sharing contact lenses also increases the risk of infection. You may not realize it, but there’s an entire community of bacteria living right in our eyeballs. So letting other people use contact lenses you’ve already worn may cause cross-contamination.
If you’re planning to donate contact lenses, here’s a quick guide to how and where you can do so. But first, let’s discuss the benefits of donating your contact lenses.
Why Donate Contact Lenses?
Here are some reasons why you should donate your unused and unexpired contact lenses instead of throwing them in the dumpster:
1. You’re Helping Other People See Better
There are lots of visually-impaired people around the world who can’t afford prescription glasses and contact lenses or even a trip to the optometrist. Getting contact lenses for free would already be a huge help for them.
2. You’re Helping Mother Nature
If you throw your contact lenses away, they’ll inevitably end up in a landfill somewhere. Since they’re not biodegradable, they break up into tiny microplastics and contaminate ecosystems. Studies have even pointed to contact lenses as one of the contributors to increased plastic pollution around the world.
By donating your extra contact lenses away, you’re saving them from the landfill and helping Mother Nature.
3. You’re Giving Hope
A pair of contact lenses may not mean that much to you, but for others, it can be their lifeline. For instance, a visually-impaired student may find it hard to keep up with schoolwork. While an aging mother who supports her family by sewing dresses may lose her job if her vision continues to deteriorate.
Donating your contact lenses, therefore, is not only about helping other people see better. You’re also giving them hope and a chance at a better life.
Where to Donate Contact Lenses
There are several charitable organizations that accept contact lenses. Here are some of them:
Goodwill is one of the largest charitable organizations in the US. They also have multiple locations across the country. So wherever you are, you probably have a Goodwill outlet a short drive away.
Though the donation policies vary, most Goodwill outlets accept unused and unexpired contact lenses. They then sell those in their thrift store to fund their various charity programs. You can use their store locator to find drop-off centers nearest you.
2. Bausch and Lomb
Bausch and Lomb’s contact lens recycling program is the only one of its kind in the US. While all the other organizations on this list only accept unopened and unexpired contact lenses, Bausch and Lomb accepts used ones. However, they don’t give those donated lenses out to those who need them. Instead, they are recycled by a third-party recycling company.
They accept any brand of contact lenses as well as blister packs and bottles for contact lens solutions. For every 10 pounds of donations collected, they also donate $10 to Optometry Giving Sight, a global fundraising to prevent unnecessary blindness.
You can drop-off your locations at any of their recycling centers nationwide.
Based in Boca Raton, Florida, DonateContacts is run by a couple of teenagers who want to make a difference in the world. They accept unexpired and unused contact lenses and ship them off to Feed the Children, a non-profit that helps impoverished children around the world.
It’s important to note, however, that DonateContacts is NOT a 501c3 organization. As such, it cannot provide donation receipts for tax purposes.
How to Donate Contact Lenses
As I said, you can’t just donate any contact lenses you got lying around. Contacts are regulated medical devices. As such, there are certain safety standards when handling or giving them out.
So before you pack your donations, make sure to check out these tips first.
1. Make sure that your contact lenses are unused and unexpired.
Unless you’re donating it for recycling, make sure that your contact lenses are unexpired and unused. Aside from complying with charitable organization policies, it also prevents cross-contamination of eye infections. And yes, this applies even if you’ve only tried on the contacts once.
2. Get in touch with the organization you’re planning to donate to.
As I said, each charitable organization has different donation policies. So it’s a good practice to get in touch with them first to know the do’s and dont’s when making a donation. You don’t want to drive a couple of miles to their drop-off location only to find out they’re not accepting your donations.
3. Pack your donations properly.
They might not look like it but contacts tend to be very sensitive. If not packed properly, it could get damaged and end up damaging the eyes of the person receiving them. So if you’ll mail or ship your donation, make sure to wrap it in a bubble wrap or any protective covering or storage container.
Donate To The Poor & Homeless Of South Florida
Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen has fed the poor and homeless in South Florida over 900,000 hot meals since 1993. Our tax deductible non profit organization also accepts and distributes donations such as clothing, toiletries, shoes, bicycles, and more. You can donate to help the poor and homeless through our website.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer and devoted Christian. She has a passion for writing about topics related to morality and helping the poor and homeless. She is the lead author for the Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen blog.
Correct Digital, Inc is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.