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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


June 05, 2017 | North America: Missouri

Sharing insights on living healthy

By Allen Tobin

"It is important to learn how to be a healthy athlete because the healthier I am, the more energy I have, and the better I can be at my sports."

Hi, my name is Allen Tobin, and I wouldn’t be the athlete leader I am today if it wasn’t for Special Olympics.View Story Hi, my name is Allen Tobin, and I wouldn’t be the athlete leader who I am today if it wasn’t for Special Olympics. I would not be able to see or hear well enough to play the sports I love. I have gotten new glasses, sports glasses and two hearing aids, with help from Special Olympics global health program, made possible by the Golisano Foundation. Because of Healthy Athletes, I was referred through my local Special Olympics program to the Truman Medical Center Elks Club mobile dentist to help me with my dental problems. Also, during the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, I went to a Fit Feet event. They gave me new orthopedic running shoes to help me with my sports. Most of the athletes like myself do not have health insurance or cannot afford health insurance. Now I am able to talk to other people about Healthy Athletes as well as help my fellow athletes to go through these health exams. Because I am an athlete health leader, I do not think twice of helping out my fellow athletes.Most of the athletes like myself do not have health insurance or cannot afford health insurance. Now I am able to talk to other people about Healthy Athletes as well as help my fellow athletes to go through these health exams. Because I am an athlete health leader, I do not think twice of helping out my fellow athletes with intellectual disabilities all over the country and all over the world to get healthier and get health care. Special Olympics has done so much for me and that I try to help out and do whatever I can to give back to Special Olympics.

About Allen Tobin:Allen Tobin has been a Special Olympics athlete in Special Olympics Missouri for 23 years and recently received the Special Olympics Outstanding Athlete of the Year award. He currently competes in up to nine different sports: softball, basketball, bocce, floor hockey, flag football, bowling, track and field, volleyball and likes to cycle. He also tries to walk at least eight to nine miles each day. Allen hopes he can help more of his fellow athletes to be healthier and live healthier lifestyles. Allen is an athlete health leader, recently traveling to Special Olympics, Inc. to be trained as an inclusive health leader and he also has advocated for health during Capitol Hill Day.
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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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