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10 Things to do with old glasses

It’s fun getting new glasses, especially for our little ones. Maybe your kid has grown out of the frames, changed prescriptions or even worse – broken their frames! But what do we do with our old glasses?

As a mum with two kids that wear glasses, we already have quite a few pairs of ‘oldies’.

As someone who’s been wearing glasses since I was nine years old, I’ve always found it pretty fun to choose new frames when my prescription has changed. Going through the rows and rows of shiny new frames, trying each appealing pair on before finally settling on the perfect pair. When the new glasses arrive, the old ones typically got shoved in a random drawer somewhere in the house, never to be seen again – unless the new pair was lost or broken. As a mum with two kids that wear glasses, we already have quite a few pairs of ‘oldies’. Most of them are stored in school bags for backups or beside the bed for early morning reading but there are a few that just don’t provide any use.

What do you do with old glasses?

Sometimes the frames are reusable, and a change of prescription can just mean a change of lenses and not frames. Strangely enough though, when I have tried to do this on two occasions, it has been cheaper to just buy a whole new pair. This is because many optical stores do package deals for kids’ glasses, so it’s less expensive to do the package that includes frames and lenses, than just replace the lenses.

Or maybe the frames don’t last that long for you. Sometimes they get scratched or chewed (yes, I’ve seen what dogs can do to kids’ frames!) and the new frames are needed more than a new prescription lens.

Either way, what do you do with old glasses? I’m not sure I would ever think to actually throw them out, so we’ve come up with a list of our best upcycle and recycling ideas for you to try out.

Kids Eye Gear’s Tips to Repurpose Old Glasses

1. Donate them

Donate them – The place you got your glasses most likely has a collection box for old glasses which they use in various ways. Most optometrists (but definitely Specsavers), partner with the Lions Recycle for Sight program which helps deliver glasses to people in need overseas. The Recycle for Sight program collects almost 600,000 pairs of recycled glasses each year, providing people from around the world with essential eye care. They take adults and kids glasses.

2. Sell them

Sell them – Especially if you splashed out on some expensive frames you may be able to recoup some of your funds by selling your old glasses online. There are a number of Facebook groups including the For Little Eyes Marketplace, where families are often looking for second hand frames. They will simply pop out your lenses and replace with new ones (this seems to be a cheaper way to go in the USA).

3. Keep as a spare

Keep as a spare – Even if the prescription is different, having an extra set on hand in case of a glasses emergency, isn’t a bad idea, as a short term solution until you can get your normal specs on. Perhaps keep old glasses in the car or at a relative’s house – they might come in handy at Grandma’s house.

4. Put them on display

Put them on display – Like keeping a lock of hair, or their first newborn outfit, keeping that first pair of glasses they wore, can be a real keepsake. These would also look super cute on display in their room. You could even create a timeline of glasses. We put together these two different options, details are at the end of this post.

5. Glasses for dolls

Glasses for dolls – Do you have some teddy bears that may need their eyes tested and even a new pair of glasses? I bet you do. Old glasses in the toy room will get a new life.

6. Turn old lenses and frames into jewellery

Turn old lenses and frames into jewellery – I saw on Pinterest way too many ideas on how you can turn a lens or a frame into a necklace, or even earrings! My personal favourite was the business card holder made from an old pair of frames – but there were some really cool ideas. Try searching ‘repurpose glasses’ on Google or in Pinterest.

7. Add them to the fancy dress box

Add them to the fancy dress box – Old glasses make great dress ups for little ones. Just pop the lenses out so there are no issues with the prescription on non-glasses wearing kids. You could even donate them to a kindergarten or daycare – their dress up collection will thank you! Again, pop the lenses out before you give them up.

8. Save for Book Week

Save for Book Week – Glasses make a great addition for many costumes and maybe you have a non-glasses wearing kid who may want to be Harry Potter or that old guy from the movie Up. Remember, pop out the lenses because wearing prescription glasses when you don’t need them is not good for eyes.

9. Pass on to a family member

Pass on to a family member – Especially if your prescription is mild, you may have a cousin or grandparent in need of a new or extra pair of specs. They can pop the lenses out and get their prescription filled in them.

10. Add them to a craft box

Add them to a craft box – You may not know how to use them, but if you add them into the craft box, you can bet your kids will find a way, probably involving glue and glitter, to turn those old glasses into a new treasure!

Do you have a cool way that you reuse or recycle old glasses? Please share with our community by emailing me, posting on Facebook or Instagram and tagging @kidseyegear.

Two great ways to display your kids old glasses

We came up with two fun ways to display your kid’s old glasses – assuming they haven’t been chewed up by the dog or lost! 

The first is a shadow box frame from Spotlight. Simply print out a photo of your child wearing the glasses, pop it in the frame and then secure the glasses in the frame. This can be hung on the wall or displayed on a shelf. 

The second idea is using a jewellery display drawer from Kmart (how awesome is Kmart!). This would work as a storage idea or flip it up and it becomes a fantastic display box. This one is especially good for little glasses.