Specsavers has launched a glasses recycling program in partnership with Lions Recycle for Sight, which will see quality glasses and sunglasses being delivered to people in need overseas.

Recent global studies have shown that there are 101.2 million people visually impaired as a result of not having access to glasses to correct simple vision problems. Over time, as the vision issues remain uncorrected and vision deteriorates, this has led to 6.8 million people currently living with blindness.

To address this, Specsavers stores across Australia and New Zealand will collect second-hand glasses as part of the Specsavers Community Program. These will be sent to the store’s closest Lions Recycle for Sight facility, where the glasses will be quality checked, cleaned and categorised. If the glasses pass the quality tests, they will be distributed to people in need overseas through partnering charities and humanitarian organisations.

“Lions Recycle for Sight is a part of the Lions Clubs International Worldwide Eyeglass Recycling Program,” explained Ken Leonard OAM, Chairman of Lions Recycle for Sight Australia. “Over the past 26 years in Australia alone, we’ve delivered more than seven million pairs of refurbished quality glasses to people in need all around the world. We’re really excited about working with Specsavers on this program because it will mean that we can process more glasses than ever before and save the sight of so many more people.”

Duchesne Markham, who manages the Specsavers Community Program, said, “Our stores see customers every day who purchase new glasses and no longer have a use for their old ones. Normally they are still in perfect condition, but the prescription is outdated. Our new recycling program allows these people to donate their pre-loved specs to change someone else’s life.”

Only weeks after the recycling program’s launch, thousands of glasses have already been donated, with the first round of collections already set to be delivered to communities in need.

The initiative was announced just as the Specsavers Community Program celebrated its fifth birthday. Since launching in September 2013, the in-store fundraising program has raised almost $3 million for The Fred Hollows Foundation Australia and New Zealand, as well as over $2 million for hundreds of local charities across the two countries. The program has also supported numerous outreaches by providing optometry assistance and equipment.