Lions Club International Opening Eyes Program

The Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes Program was established in 1991 and has been held in Wisconsin since 2001. In that time, over 130 different Wisconsin Optometric Association member optometrists have volunteered 474 days' worth of service, examining 7,402 athletes and dispensing 5,827 pairs of glasses and prescription sports goggles. In 2016, 23 optometrists, 3 optometry students, 22 para-optometric technicians and opticians, 66 Lions Club members, and 30 other volunteers assisted with the program over the course of two events held in April and June. Dr. Kellye Knueppel serves as program clinical director for the Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes Program in Wisconsin.

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 though 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 the vision and eye health needs of persons with intellectual disabilities through research.”

Areas of testing include vision history, near and far acuity, color vision, depth perception, eye alignment, internal and external health, auto refraction, intraocular pressure, and complete refraction when necessary.

International sponsors of the program include the following companies: Safilo – frames and sunglasses, Essilor (WOS in Wisconsin) – lenses and all finishing off-site, Liberty – sport goggles, and Santinelli – cuts and edges on-site.

Events for 2017 will be held on Saturday, April 8th at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus and Friday, June 9th at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus. Volunteers are needed and welcome. Be assured that we will assign you a station with which you are comfortable, if you do not have much experience with this population. Also, please consider sending your staff to volunteer in order to give them some excellent experience and training with this population.

To volunteer or get more information about the program, contact Dr. Kellye Knueppel’s staff at The Vision Therapy Center at sowioe@thevtc.com or 262-784-9201.

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Additional Information

Special Olympics Wisconsin Website

Volunteer Recruiting Form for 2017 Events