Lions Club International Opening Eyes Program
The Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes Program was established in 1991. This initiative services individuals with special needs at Special Olympics events by providing free examinations and eyewear for athletes worldwide. Areas of testing include vision history, near and far acuity, color vision, depth perception, internal and external health, auto refraction, NCT and complete refraction when necessary.
Each station is manned by optometrists, Lions Club members, para-optometric technicians, opticians and various lay people. Following the examination, glasses and sports or swim goggles are distributed to those athletes in need. Safilo provides frames and sunglasses, Santinelli cuts and edges on site, Essilor (WOS in Wisconsin) contributes lenses and all finishing off-site and Liberty donates sports and swim goggles.
In its twelve year history in Wisconsin, over 5,700 athletes have been examined and over 4,000 pairs of glasses have been dispensed through the Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes Program. Kellye Knueppel, OD, FCOVD is the Clinical Director in Wisconsin for the program. She and her staff at the Vision Therapy Center organize two events annually in Wisconsin. The first takes place in early April at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus. The second takes place in early June at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point campus.
According to Special Olympics, “the mission of the initiative is to improve the quality of life for the millions of individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities by optimizing their vision, eye health and visual skills through quality eye care. Objectives of the program include providing screenings to Special Olympics athletes, educating athletes, parents and coaches about the importance of regular eye care; educating and changing attitudes of eye care professionals about the vision care needs of persons with intellectual disabilities worldwide; and increasing knowledge of visual and eye health needs of persons with intellectual disabilities through research.”
Please feel free to contact Dr. Knueppel’s staff at 262-784-9201 or email email@example.com for more information regarding the program, or to volunteer for future events.