The mission of Special Olympics – Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes 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.

Led by volunteer vision care professionals, Opening Eyes provides:

  • vision screenings, refractions and dispensing of appropriate eyewear (prescription eyewear, sunglasses and sports goggles) to Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes
  • education to athletes, parents and coaches about the importance of regular eye care
  • permanent changes in the attitudes of eye care professionals about the vision care needs of persons with intellectual disabilities worldwide
  • increased knowledge of visual and eye health needs of persons with intellectual disabilities through research

Through a grant from the Lions Clubs International Foundation, the partnership of Special Olympics and Lions Clubs International is dramatically expanding the effort’s scope. The formal partnership encompasses sustained continuous vision screening programs across the world, as well as the development of Train-the-Trainer sessions to create a strong volunteer force of vision health professionals. The partnership enables Opening Eyes to reach one of the world’s most underserved population: those with intellectual disabilities.


Opening Eyes screenings throughout the US have found that a large percentage of Special Olympics athletes have untreated eye conditions.

  • 35% need new prescription glasses
  • 15% have an eye disease
  • 5% have never had an eye exam

Available Screenings

Opening Eyes screenings are offered at the Indoor Sports Tournament and Summer Games.

Volunteer Opportunities

To volunteer for Opening Eyes please email

Clinical Director

Dr. Kellye Knueppel, OD, FCOUD


For more information on Opening Eyes, please contact Melissa Schoenbrodt, Director of Health Programs.

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