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Opening Eyes

Opening Eyes is changing lives in communities across the globe, providing free eye assessments, prescription eyewear, sunglasses and sports goggles to people with intellectual disabilities.


opening eyes

The Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes program is a vision and eye health screening in partnership with the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Led by volunteer vision care professionals, Opening Eyes is able to offer prescription eyewear, sunglasses, and sports goggles to Special Olympics athletes.

For more information, contact Bjoern Koehler, Manager, Opening Eyes.


Opening Eyes News and Stories


March 27, 2017 | Africa: Kenya

Free Cataract Surgery from Lions Club for Kenya’s Goal Keeper at World Winter Games 2017

By Romi Reinecke

Lawrence only grew into the champion he is now since joining Special Olympics Kenya.

The goal keeper of Special Olympics Kenya’s Floor Hockey team has kept them on top of their division. But no one knew 16-year-old Lawrence Mwangi had been achieving such greatness on the sports field despite having cataracts.View Story The goal keeper of Special Olympics Kenya’s Floor Hockey team has kept them on top of their division. But no one knew that 16-year-old Lawrence Mwangi had been achieving such greatness on the sports field despite having cataracts. He was diagnosed in a Special Olympics Lions Club International Opening Eyes screening at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria by Adib Jaber, the regional clinical advisor for Special Olympics Middle-East North Africa (MENA) region. Adib has been volunteering with Special Olympics Lebanon for over 14 years. Lawrence only grew into the champion he is now since joining Special Olympics Kenya. When his mother discovered he had an intellectual disability, she was devastated and could not stop blaming herself. This affected Lawrence, and he did not know if he was good at anything. But through sports he discovered he had athletic talent, focus, and was a team player with a specialty in goal-keeping. And now, with better vision thanks to Special Olympics volunteers, there is no telling what else this talented young man will achieve.

About Romi Reinecke:I work in communications for Special Olympics in Africa.
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March 27, 2017 | Africa: South Africa

Celebrating World Optometry Day with Special Olympics South Africa

By Faith Chabedi

Recipients of Certificates of Participation

On 23rd March 2017, 40 students at University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa celebrated World Optometry Day by attending a presentation on "Making Optometry Inclusive".View Story On 23 March 2017, 40 students at University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa celebrated World Optometry Day by attending a presentation on "Making Optometry Inclusive". The address was presented by Faith Chabedi from Special Olympics and explained the need to train optometry students to assess people with intellectual disability and to promote the involvement of students in Healthy Athletes screenings annually. By so doing, the institution would produce graduates who are equipped to help reduce health disparities for people with ID. Faith suggested that the training should include at least a module covering modification of test protocol and how to effectively communicate with people with ID. The students and staff were receptive to the idea and called for more presentations to other students in April.

About Faith Chabedi:I am the manager of Partnerships for Inclusive Health (Africa and Asia Pacific Region), in the GDGR departmnent. I have been a Specail Olympics Volunteer since 2002. I served as a clinical director and an RCA for Opening Eyes. I joined SO staff in September 2016.
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March 15, 2017 | Asia Pacific: Philippines

Improving Lives by Improving Sight in Manila, Austria and Beyond

By Niamh M.

Brina and Sashi at the event in Manila

"Disability is not an inability to have a better life. That’s what we want to show,” says Special Olympics athlete and Global Youth Leader Brina Maxino. Brina and her Unified Partner Isabela “Sashi” Montana were the driving force behind the “Eye Can Play: A Healthy Eyeffair” event, sponsored andView Story "Disability is not an inability to have a better life. That’s what we want to show,” says Special Olympics athlete and Global Youth Leader Brina Maxino. Brina and her Unified Partner Isabela “Sashi” Montana were the driving force behind the “Eye Can Play: A Healthy Eyeffair” event, sponsored and supported by Essilor Phillipines, Brina’s explained their goal was an event “based on the “Opening Eyes” program of Special Olympics that is fun and entertaining, like a fair and a carnival.” Sashi added: “We thought of this project to promote the importance of clear vision – both literally and figuratively.” Essilor Philippines provided a vision screening booth that catered to all participants, with Essilor employees providing volunteer expertise. Essilor employees will be volunteering again at the Special Olympics Winter World Games in Austria, with an expected 2000 vision screenings to take place at the Games.

About Niamh M. :Niamh works in the Dublin offices of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia.
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