The Healthy Athletes program is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities. Through free health screenings, training of healthcare professionals, and evaluation of the health status of people with intellectual disabilities, Healthy Athletes has become a powerful public health organization worldwide.
Special Olympics - Lions Clubs International 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.
The Opening Eyes program is a 12-station vision evaluation*. It includes lensometry, visual acuity, far cover test, autorefraction, tonometry, color vision, stereopsis, external and internal eye health tests (undilated pupils). At the end of the screening a decision is made if refraction is needed. If it is, the athlete is then taken to the refraction area where refractions are conducted by a licensed professional who also provides a prescription for glasses. Through the generosity of our corporate sponsors Essilor (lenses) and Safilo (frames) attractive eye wear is selected. Athletes who do not need prescription receive sunglasses provided by Safilo.
*NOTE: the Opening Eyes program does not replace a complete eye exam which includes dilation. Athletes and guardians/coaches must be notified of this when present at the screening.
IMPORTANCE AND IMPACTOpening Eyes examinations have found that a large percentage of Special Olympics athletes have untreated eye conditions.38% need new prescription glasses23% have never had an eye exam16% have an eye disease
PURPOSE AND GOALS• Increase access to eye care for Special Olympics athletes, as well as all people with intellectual disabilities• Raise eye care professionals’ awareness of vision and eye health concerns of people with special needs, including difficulties involved in accessing treatment• Develop a body of knowledge about vision and eye health of children and adults with special needs• Providing vision exams, refractions, and dispensing of appropriate eyewear to athletes• Educating athletes, their guardians, coaches and administrators about the importance of vision to the performance of athletes in sports, school and work
VOLUNTEER MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS BACKGROUND• Certificate and current licensure as an eye care professional such as Optometrist or Ophthalmologist, Optometry Students, Optician or Optical Tech/Assistants