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What to Do With Unused Contact Lenses?

Updated November 21, 2016

If your eye prescription has changed, or if you've moved from one type of lens to another or to glasses, you might have some unused contact lenses sitting around. Rather than throwing them out, there are several ways to donate your old lenses or to trade them in for credit at your optician's office. If you donate or return lenses, make sure the packaging is intact and has not been damaged or opened. The prescription information should also be clearly marked on the package.

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Donation

Goodwill shops, Lions Clubs, Lenscrafters, New Eyes for the Needy and the Madre organizaton's Helping Hands campaign will all accept unused contact lenses. These organisations will give your unused lenses to someone in need. You can drop off lenses at any Goodwill or Lenscrafters locations, mail them to or drop them off at your local Lions Club or send them to the following organisations:

New Eyes for the Needy 549 Millburn Ave., P.O. Box 332 Short Hills, NJ 07078 (973) 376-4903 http://www.neweyesfortheneedy.org/

or

Madre's Helping Hands campaign 121 West 27th St., #301, New York, NY 10001 (212) 627-0444 http://www.madre.org

These groups will issue a receipt for your lenses so that you can claim your charitable donation for tax purposes.

Trade-in

You can also take unused lenses back to your optometrist. Many eye doctors will issue a credit for your old lenses that can be used toward the purchase of new glasses or contact lenses.

Disposal

If your unused lenses have been opened and can't be donated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends disposing of them by sealing them in a zip-top bag and throwing them in the trash. Don't flush contact lenses down the toilet or rinse them down the sink.

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