If you wear prescription eyewear chances are you have a collection of non-current glasses stashed around the house, taunting you with memories of when you didn’t need bifocals and thought you could pull off Dame Edna-style frames and other questionable fashion choices.
I recently gathered together all my discarded frames and found nine old pairs cluttering up drawers, some dating back ten years! It is quite easy to amass such a large collection with a new pair of spectacles and prescription sunglasses needed pretty much every 2 years on the dot (or in the case of my son, just 3 months after starting to wear glasses his prescription needed updating!).
Why was I keeping them? Firstly they seem too expensive to just throw away, and I think it was a case of “I know I shouldn’t throw these out, but what to do with them?”
So, I found out! Lions Club of Australia run the Lions Recycle for Sight program and your old glasses can be dropped into any participating optometrist or Lions Club, or posted back to their headquarters in Queensland.
The pre-loved glasses are quality tested — inspecting for scratches and damage — then the ones that make the cut are machine and hand-cleaned. They are measured through a lensometer, categorised and boxed by prescription. The glasses that are not up to scratch are recycled.
Lions Club International receive many requests each year from humanitarian organisations who are visiting developing countries or organising supplies to be sent. The program has been operating for more than 25 years in Australia and has delivered over 7 million pairs of refurbished spectacles to people in need in Africa, Europe, Middle East, Indian sub-continent, East Asia, and the Far East, China, the countries of the Pacific Rim and Southern Asia and Oceania.