MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The Lions Club wants your eyeglasses

In 1925, Helen Keller addressed a national convention of the Lions Club at Cedar Point, challenging members to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”

The organization took up that challenge and since that time, Lions have worked to eradicate blindness and prevent vision loss through a wide range of programs. There are now clubs all over the world, and the eyeglass project has given millions of glasses to those who can use them most.

“Sight is a God-given right,” says Randy Keithley, Secretary/Treasurer of the Downtown Dayton Lions Club. “Contributing to people who are sight-challenged is one of the pillars of our organization.” “Your pair of glasses can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

The donated eyeglasses are cleaned, sorted by strength, packaged and distributed to those in need, mostly in developing countries, but also in America.

“And, we are still playing catch-up,” says Leithley. “Since the pandemic our donations have really slowed down.”

According to Keithley, the donated glasses from our area are taken to the Ohio State University School of Optometry, where students determine the correct prescription of each pair. “We deliver between 5,000 to 10,000 glasses to Columbus each year,” he says.

Chances are you have an old pair of eyeglasses sitting in a dresser drawer or glove compartment that you’re no longer using. Now you can give them a new life.

What they want

  • Prescription glasses
  • Readers
  • Children’s glasses (especially in demand)
  • Sunglasses, both prescription and non-prescription. People living near the equator or in heavy sunlight are more likely to get cataracts.
  • Eyeglass cases

When in doubt about whether your glasses can be recycled, says Keithley, donate them.

Look for drop-off boxes at:

  • Your optometrist’s office
  • Libraries
  • Schools
  • Community centers
  • Places of worship.
  • Corporate-owned Pearle Vision Centers and many of their franchise operations
  • Lobby of the Masonic Temple across from the Dayton Art Institute
  • Vandalia Recreation Center.
  • Franco’s Ristorante in the Oregon District
  • Downtown Dayton Optical at 112 E. Third St.
  • Dr. William R. Martin Optical, 1222 S. Patterson Blvd., Room 212, in the green glass medical building at the corner of Stewart and Patterson.
  • Vandalia Optometry, 33 Elva Court, Vandalia, OH
  • Lions Eyebank West Central Ohio, 3309 Office Park Dr., Dayton, OH 45439
  • Many Walmarts
  • Note that LensCrafter Stores accept eyeglasses for their own recycle plan

Want to donate by mail? Send glasses to:

Lions Clubs International Headquarters

Attention: Receiving Department, 300 W. 22nd St.

Oak Brook, Ill. 60523

If you have questions, call Randy Keithley 937-974-8786.


Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith:

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

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