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.
Objectives of Opening Eyes® include providing screenings to Special Olympics, 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. Athletes will be fitted for new glasses, or sport goggles if necessary. A typical screening may include the following:
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. The screening process takes approximately 30 - 45 minutes. Offered at our Special Olympics Summer Games, athletes pass through various testing stations and educated on proper vision care. Every athlete who needs vision correction is provided with a free pair of glass and/or sports goggles. Athletes who do not need prescription glasses receive free sunglasses.
OPENING EYES CLINICAL DIRECTORS
NADINE FURTADO | Dr. Nadine Furtado is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science where she is Head of the Ocular Disease and Imaging Service. She earned her Doctor of Optometry and MSc. in Vision Science from the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry, and then completed a residency in Ocular Disease and Primary Care at the VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a member of the Board of Directors of the Vision Institute of Canada. She also has an interest in global optometry and travels twice a year with the Eye Health Institute to provide eye care to underserved communities in Jamaica.Dr. Furtado has been actively volunteering with Opening Eyes since 2010, and she became a Clinical Director in 2014. In addition, she is involved with the Healthy Communities Healthy Eyes initiative.
TOM WEISSBERGER | Tom has been in the Optical industry for 43 years; has been a licensed optician for 35 years; is a former professor of Opticianry at Seneca College, as well as program developer and course coordinator. Tom originally worked with children with special needs as a high-schooler for his Physical Education leadership program, where he discovered that it was an amazing and very rewarding experience. Tom first volunteered with Special Olympics as an Optician in 2004 when the first Opening Eyes event took place in Peterborough, Ontario where his employer, Essilor, was sponsoring the event. Tom continued through the years volunteering for the Opening Eyes program, and got more involved with the clinics and the wonderful people running them. He started to work hand-in-hand with Dr. Melanie DeJesus the first national Clinical Director, and with Dr. Su Danberg from the US to set up and run OE clinics. Tom has been head dispenser for the last few years, and is now the national Clinical Advisor. Tom finds working with the athletes and other volunteers one of the most rewarding things he has ever done, and always tells new volunteers during orientation sessions before events: "Even though on the surface it seems like we are helping them; in reality it is they who help us", they have no pretensions, no hidden motives, it is about the basic aspects of life; to feel better about ourselves and fulfill our need to serve and work with those in need.
SIMRAN GREWAL | From a young age, Dr. Simran Grewal has had a passion for health care and serving her community. She is a graduate from both Aston University and the Optometry Bridging program at the University of Waterloo, and is Board certified to practice Optometry in both the UK and Canada. She is currently practicing in both her hometown of Mississauga as well as the City of Brampton where she is a partner of a private practice. She began to Volunteer with Special Olympics Opening eyes in 2014 as an Optometrist, and from then on her passion for volunteer work within the vision care sector has grown. Over the years she has been able to learn from incredible colleagues within Special Olympics, and has eventually trained to become one of the Clinical Directors for the Program. In her spare time, Dr Grewal enjoys hiking, cycling and travelling - recently some of her travels have taken her to volunteer for various Eye Camps in Rural parts of Punjab, India.