During your decluttering process from time to time, you come across items that just seem a waste to throw away, but you just don’t know what to do with them. One item that I get asked about all the time is old glasses and contact lens. This is a common request because you have boxes of unused and unexpired contacts that are perfectly good to use, your prescription just changed.
Up until recently, I had this same situation every year or two when I went for my annual checkup and my eyesight had changed once again. It never fails one eye if not both eyes change ever so slightly and it deems my contacts useless. As expensive as contacts are I sure it drives you crazy to just throw them out.
If you are anything like me you’d persuade yourself to keep them for “emergency” purposes, yet even in an emergency you won’t be able to see so why not get them to someone who can actually use them? Well, a few years ago I went on a quest to figure out why places don’t accept donated contact lenses and why they expire. I mean aren’t they just sitting in some solution. Does the material degrade over time or something? I really wanted to know so I looked it up. Here is what I learned.
Why Do Contacts Lenses Expire?
First, I was pleased to find that there are a few locations that will accept your unused and unexpired contact lenses. I have listed those locations on this resources page. I also found out why soft contact lenses have expiration dates.
Technically, soft contact lenses are packaged medical devices that are sealed to prevent contamination of the saline solution that your contacts are sitting in. These seals can degrade and over time can allow the saline solution to become degraded. For this purpose, you will find the expiration dates for contact lenses are usually four or five years out.
Now, Gas Permeable lenses are treated differently because they are usually shipped dry from the manufacturer so they don’t have an expiration date on them. So based on this research I understand why some places won’t accept soft lenses, but still not sure why they don’t accept gas permeable lenses.
What About Donating Eyeglasses?
Eyeglasses are a different story. There are a number of locations that will gladly take your old eyeglasses. These are typically donated to underprivileged areas since the expense of replacing glasses can be extremely costly.
While you are pulling out all your old eye-wear, if you have recently had Lasik surgery and find you no longer need your eye solution or other eye care items and they are unopened and unexpired. Consider donating them as well.
Make sure to review our Resource Guide to get more detailed information regarding where and how to donate your old glasses and contact lenses.
Thank you for paying it forward to someone else who can use your items!