Wearing eyeglasses can be a tough gig. A lot of insurance coverage either does not cover visual, or barely covers it at all. Of course, while you can spend an absolute ton of money on a pair of eyeglasses, even cheap ones are prohibitively expensive if you are poor. In Indiana, it costs anywhere from $100-$200 to get an exam, lenses, and frames.
Going without glasses causes obvious problems. Wearing old glasses can wreck havoc with your health and comfort if your eyes have changed significantly since you wore them. This can cause migraine like symptoms in some. In general I have never known a person that needed to do this that did not have headaches of varying degrees that did not relent while they wore their old glasses. That was a messed up sentence, but I trust that you understand what I wrote there.
The cost and logistics (multiple trips, hours that are one's working hours, gas or public transit twice) along the the shitty "coverage" if you can even get that; all these things make glasses really hard to get once you live at a certain income (or lack of it) bracket. Groups, charities, and other organizations that help people get glasses do a tremendous service. I have written here before about how you can help by donating your own old or extra pairs to help the cause.
A few weeks ago, I went with the Boyfriend to a local Lenscrafters, as he needed new glasses. While we were there I picked up a brochure for OneSight, an organization that brings eyeglasses to those in need. Unfortunately, you cannot just go in with whatever proof you have for your lack of income, you need to be referred. But the program looks great, and works both internationally and domestically (US). They are also one of the programs that will take your old glasses, too!
I think OneSight does good work, and I wanted to pass the word along. Do you know of other groups and/or efforts? Please share them below!