For glasses or contact lenses wearers, imagining your life without them can be daunting. Visual impairment is a prevalent issue that affects every demographic in the world. The World Health Organization reports that at least 2.2 billion people have some degree of vision impairment. It can lead to reduced productivity, educational setbacks, and economic burdens.
Eyeglasses are not a luxury but a necessity, and there can be a plethora of reasons why you need to switch to new lenses or frames, leaving behind a pile of old eyeglasses you don’t know what to do with. Le’s look into the different reasons you may need a new pair of glasses, how you can recycle your old ones in home decor, and other suggestions you can opt for.
When Do You Need New Glasses?
An eye doctor or optometrist ensures your contact lenses and glasses prescription is up to date and looks at the overall eye health. If your prescription changes, you’ll need new glasses. Your eye doctor will also inform you of any medical condition, like glaucoma or cataracts. In fact, the American Optometric Association recommends you see an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam every two years to ensure you do not put undue stress and weaken your eyes. Here are some signs you might need an updated prescription before your visit:
- Squinting: if you’re squinting, you’re trying to get concentrated light to enter your eyes for better vision.
- Constant headaches: straining your eyes puts tension on your eye muscles, leading to headaches
- Seeing double: Your eyes are not working together to see clearly. The sight in one eye might have worsened.
- Light sensitivity or photophobia: A heightened sensitivity to light that can be a sign of astigmatism, and an updated prescription can cure it.
- Tired or achy eyes: A result of eye strain.
- Poor night vision: Seeing a halo around lights can be fixed with glasses that correct astigmatism.
- Farsightedness or nearsightedness: Signs include difficulty reading the menu or holding your phone at arm’s length.
Other reasons to switch out your frame include damaged glasses that do not sit properly on your face and scratches on the glass that can blur your vision. Or they can just be out of style, and you want to keep up with trends, or you want a lens with different features, such as:
- UV protection lens to block ultraviolet rays
- Photochromic lenses that adapt to brightness and filter ultraviolet rays
- Anti-glare lenses are ideal for those who drive regularly and want to protect against bright eyes
- Blue light protection lenses that filter harmful light coming from cell phones, televisions, computer screens, etc
- An anti-scratch lens whose sturdy coating protects from scratches
- High-index lenses for higher prescriptions.
How to Decorate My Home With Old Prescription Glasses
Now that you have an old pair of glasses, consider incorporating them into your home decor to personalize your space. For example, you can use them as Christmas ornaments by adding vintage images from different sites onto eyeglasses.
For this DIY project, you will need the following:
- Old eyeglasses
- Jewelry wire
- Clear decal printable paper
- Beads (preferably in festive colors like red, white, and green)
- Wire cutters
Use the wire cutters to take apart the eyeglasses. You need one lens for each ornament, so you can make two from one pair of glasses. Measure the lens size and reduce the vintage image size so it fits on the lens. After choosing the image, print it on the clear decal printable paper (first try it on regular paper to ensure the size is correct before printing on the pricier decal paper).
Peel away the backing from the printed sheet and stick the clear sticker on the eyeglass lens. Then, use the jewelry wire thread to add beads to the bottom and top of the eyeglass ornament, and you can hang them on your Christmas tree. Other people have explored their creative side by making or using the glasses differently. You can often find ideas on Pinterest, such as:
- Chandelier from eyeglass lenses
- A Business card holder
- A necklace
- Animal art or turning them into sculptures of your spirit animals
- Using paper-cut outs to make clever disguises
- Sunglass lamp
- Painting on the lens
- Picture frames
- Eyeglasses necklace or using the lens as a pendant
- Make brooches
- DIY fisheye lens
- Use an old watch mechanism and old frames to make a tiny clock
- Turning into collage art
Other Ways You Can Give Life to Your Old Glasses
If doing a DIY project or turning your old glasses into decor seems too much like a hassle, here are other suggestions you can follow.
Donate Them to Reputable Organizations
An estimated one in seven people worldwide need glasses but cannot get them. Instead of keeping your glasses in an unused drawer, consider donating to those in need. Impaired vision can have negative impacts such as:
- Cognitive deficits
- Social isolation
- Poor mental health
- Increased risks of fractures, falls, and injuries
- Restriction in independence, mobility, and education
Many charities take old or used glasses and resell them at lower prices or donate them to homeless, unemployed, or low-income individuals both nationally and internationally. Organizations assess them to determine whether the eyeglasses are usable and not broken. They wash, sanitize, and sort them into different prescription types. You can drop them off in collection points or donation boxes or mail them to respective organizations. Reputable organizations you can consider donating to include:
- Easy Donation Pickup: They donate used eyeglasses to veterans.
- ReSpectacle: They donate used glasses to underserved communities internationally.
- Lions Club International: Their program ensures kids get corrective lenses, regular vision screening, and follow-up eye care.
- Goodwill: They partner with charities to distribute eyeglasses
You can also gift your glasses to friends or family needing a pair but cannot afford it at the time. While they may have to pay for the lens, they can forego the cost of the frames.
Recycle Your Eyeglasses
Another option is recycling your glasses to reduce waste and help those in need. You must take apart the metal frame, glass lens, wood or plastic, and the metal screws holding them together. Then, sort each material into the appropriate bin at the recycling center.
Your optician may have recycling boxes for donation, or you can drop them at a charity shop or local recycling services. The difference between donating and recycling is that for donation, you give it to a service like a nonprofit, while recycling means having it made to be reused or scrapped for its parts instead. You can also get a tax deduction from some nonprofits for donating, while for recycling, some companies may pay you for glasses’ parts.
Old glasses in good condition and designer frames sell well online on sites like eBay, Etsy, Depop, and other second-hand resell sites. Buyers seek out old frames and reglaze them to match their prescription.
You can post ads for your old glasses. Add clear pictures and mention any imperfections, such as scratches, so buyers are fully aware of the condition before purchasing. You can also consider contacting your local thrift store to see if they take prescription glasses.
Don’t just leave your glasses in an old drawer; instead, find creative ways to use them. Use your imagination to come up with new designs and ideas that can elevate your home decor, or consider giving them away to your friends or family or donating them to those in need. This way, you can reduce environmental waste associated with dumped eyeglasses and even help others improve the quality of their life.