Recycling Contact Lenses


Does anyone know what to do with old but still usable contact lenses? Can they be donated? Does it matter if they're soft or hard, semi-permeable lenses? I know the Lions Club used to take old eyeglasses.

jantoo from Kenosha Co, WI



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By Claudia-MD (Guest Post) 08/07/2007

I imagine it would depend on the regulations of your state dept. of health. However, my guess is that, unless they are in unopened bottles, they would not be able to be donated because they might harbor bacteria or viruses that could infect the next wearer.

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By Jess 125 743 04/23/2015

Here is a message from MADRE regarding donations of contact lenses:

Dear Sir or Madame, I am writing on behalf of MADRE, an international womens human rights organization based in NYC. Previously, MADRE accepted donations of contact lenses, but unfortunately we no longer have the capacity to receive them. We are however, still accepting donations of:

Eyeglass cases and cloths

We would like to ask that you please reflect this on your website. MADRE appreciates your continued support of the Helping Hands Program. We would not be able to carry out our work without the help of supporters like you.

Thank you and best regards, Lauraine

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By Regina Arlauckas 27 203 08/02/2007

The Lions will not work with contact lenses - only regular eyeglasses (BTW - the Lions also collect hearing aids). A google search turned up the information listed below but I saw conflicting information on if they still accept contact lenses or not.

However if they are expired - they will not be accepted.

Helping Hands Coordinator
MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Organization
121 West 27th Street, #301
New York, NY 10001
212.627.0444 (tel)
212.675.3704 (fax)

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By Dave 3 88 08/02/2007

I don't think passing them on would be wise. It would be almost impossible to guarantee them to be disease free without spending more than they cost new. Its a great idea but I don't think it is feasable.

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By joan pecsek 88 545 08/02/2007

I used to make contact lenses. Every time you put them in or take them out they bend a little. Eventually they will loose their shape(this can be seen only through a microscope but your eyes will know it) and become ineffective. There is really nothing you can do with old lenses but you are sweet to want to pass them on!

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By Janice C. 18 710 08/04/2007

Thanks for the responses. Contactlensdoctor.com did not address my question at all, but from the other replies, I've concluded that it probably isn't done. MADRE either does or does not accept contacts, depending on which posts you read. I guess I'll just keep my hard, semipermeable lenses as backups.

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By Peter (Guest Post) 08/18/2008

I have unopened lenses because my prescription just changed. Do they just go into the recycling hopper?

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