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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


December 15, 2016 | Africa: Nigeria

Eye Exam Leads to Clear Vision and New Insights

By Naomi Saliu-Lawal

Together with clinical partners The Eye Doctors, Special Olympics Nigeria distributed 180 pairs of prescription glasses on site at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos at their Opening Eyes screening.

A volunteer noticed one athlete squinting. The athlete's mother insisted repeatedly, “My child has no eye problem."View Story A simple eye exam made an extraordinary difference for a Special Olympics athlete in Nigeria. And parents nearby during the exam learned how easy it is to miss health issues. During a Healthy Athletes clinic, a volunteer noticed one athlete squinting. The athlete's mother insisted repeatedly, “My child has no eye problem." When she permitted the eye exam to take place, it was clear her daughter needed prescription glasses. The mother tried to leave before her child could receive the free lenses cut on site, but staff members pleaded with her to wait. When the glasses were fitted to her daughter’s face, the happiness and relief from squinting was immediately clear. The mother was extremely grateful she had allowed the test. She and other parents explained they thought only a change of eye color, pain or other dramatic symptom would indicate a visual problem, and so had never screened their children. Special Olympics knows that people with intellectual disabilities are at risk for preventable health conditions. Free Healthy Athletes clinics are held around the world to check the eyes, ears, teeth, feet and general fitness of Special Olympics athletes. At the same time, family members, coaches and others get health information that helps improve the lives of Special Olympics athletes.

About Naomi Saliu-Lawal:I am the National Director of Special Olympics Nigeria.
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November 10, 2016 | Africa: Senegal

Opening Eyes® Provides Free Glasses to Children Across 3 Cities in Senegal

By By Rajah Diouri Sy

"Bravo Special Olympics!" Free vision and eye screenings were held for 118 children and adolescents from Dakar, Kaolack and Thies at Le Dantec University Hospital Opthamology Clinic in Dakar.

Free vision and eye screenings were held for 118 children and adolescents from Dakar, Kaolack and Thies.View Story Free vision and eye screenings were held for 118 children and adolescents from Dakar, Kaolack and Thies at Le Dantec University Hospital Opthamology Clinic in Dakar, Senegal. Corrective glasses and sunglasses were given on site by our generous partners, Essilor. Yeumbeul Club and the Senegal Childhood Action Centre members joined in this massive effort, and a big thanks goes to Professor Paule Aïda Ndoye Roth and his team of medical professional volunteers for making the clinic premises at the hospital available to our athletes. The Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes program is a vision and eye health screening in partnership with the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Essilor representative Mohamed Agrebi, present on the day, said he was delighted to have taken part. “As Essilor we promote these initiatives, and are happy to have improved the vision of these young athletes at this excellently organised event. Bravo Special Olympics!”

About By Rajah Diouri Sy:I am the National Director of Special Olympics Senegal.
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December 29, 2015 | East Asia: China

Dr. Stefan Schwarz, the Global Clinical Director of Special Olympics Kicked Off “Opening Eyes” Clinical Director Train the Trainer Workshop in China

By SOEA

The annual symposium of ophthalmology in Zhejiang Province provided an opportunity for the first standalone Special Olympics “Opening Eyes” Clinical Director Train the Trainer workshop in China.View Story The annual symposium of ophthalmology in Zhejiang Province provided an opportunity for the first standalone Special Olympics “Opening Eyes” Clinical Director Train the Trainer workshop in China. Nearly 30 ophthalmological specialists stood out from 500 delegates participated in the training. Dr. Stefan Schwarz, the Global Clinical Director of Special Olympics made the special trip to China to conduct the training. Thanks to the strong support from Special Olympics China, Zhejiang Disabled Persons' Federation, Wenzhou Medical University and Alcon Foundation, we engaged more medical professionals for Special Olympics health programs. During the event, the Special Olympics Health Program presentation had attracted attentions from about 500 experts in such a large-scale professional ophthalmological conference. Our Special Olympics Global Clinical Directors had also received international certification successfully. Regional president of Lions Club International, Mr. Jiang Weiqiang also met with Special Olympics healthcare consultants from around the world.

About SOEA:I am a Special Olympics staff
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Mar 20 - 24 2017

Healthy Athletes Exams at World Winter Games

Free health and sports fitness exams will be offered to all athletes attending the 2017 World Winter Games will have the opportunity to receive free health and sports exams. Doctors, nurses and medical students offer their time for free to examine our athletes. They check the eyes, ears, feet, mouth and teeth. The health care volunteers make sure the athletes at a Games are fit to compete.
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