93% of Donated Eyeglasses Are Not Usable

(p. D6) Giving used eyeglasses to poor countries may please the donors, but it is not worth the high delivery costs, a new study has concluded, and a $10 donation would do more good.
The study, led by Australian scientists and published in March in Optometry and Vision Science, found that only 7 percent of a test sample of 275 donated spectacles were usable. That raised the delivery cost to over $20 per usable pair. A simple eye exam and a set of ready-made glasses from China can be provided for just $10, the authors said.

For the full story, see:
DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. “GLOBAL UPDATE; Donations for Eyeglasses in Poor Nations Are Better Than Recycling Used Pairs.” The New York Times (Tues., April 24, 2012): D6.
(Note: the online version of the article has the date April 23, 2012.)

(Note: a more extended analysis of this example appears in an online article by Virginia Postrel. I am grateful for Dale Eesley for sending me a link to Postrel’s article.)

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