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Safilo commits to new three-year partnership with Special Olympics International

Safilo Group, a worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and distribution of eyewear, has re-committed its longstanding support to Special Olympics, the global nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

The groundbreaking global partnership between Safilo and Special Olympics dates back to 2003. Over the past 15 years, it has led to over 1.2 million optical frames and sunglasses being provided to Special Olympics athletes as part of the Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes eye health and vision screening program.

This partnership renewal comes as a highlight in a momentous year for the Special Olympics movement, which is celebrating 50 years of tackling the inactivity, stigma, isolation and injustice that people with intellectual disabilities face worldwide.

The announcement of the new three-year commitment was made at Safilo’s headquarters in Padua, Italy.

It will see an annual donation of over 60,000 optical frames and sunglasses as part of the Special Olympics vision screening program. The Special Olympics global health platform, which is made possible through the support of the Golisano Foundation, Lions Clubs International, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and various additional stakeholders, includes the Opening Eyes vision care programme. It provides Special Olympics athletes with vision examinations, prescription eyewear and
valuable referrals for follow–up care. Safilo is a global supplier of the programme.

In addition to the critical donation of optical frames and sunglasses, Safilo personnel will continue to take an active part in the implementation of the Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes events as volunteers, donating their time and expertise for the benefit of Special Olympics athletes and those with intellectual disabilities.

“We’re very proud to renew the partnership with Special Olympics, first signed more than 15 years ago, thereby confirming our efforts to bring primary eye care screenings and eyewear to Special Olympics athletes around the world,” said Angelo Trocchia, CEO of Safilo Group. “As we know, 2018 is a jubilee 50th anniversary for the global Special Olympics movement. Being such a longstanding supporter of Special Olympics is a great joy and honour for Safilo, and marks once again our commitment to eye health programs that will have an important impact on millions of lives globally.”

Opening Eyes, part of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes public health initiative, is the largest programme in the world dedicated to providing vision care for people with intellectual disabilities. Since its inception, 410,000 exams have taken place with 215,000 prescription eye-glasses being prescribed. The Opening Eyes programme also provides sports protective eyewear for athletes who train and compete in contact sports.

“Opening Eyes is a crucial part of the Special Olympics health screening offering. Our assessments have identified that a large percentage of Special Olympics athletes have untreated eye problems with close to one in four athletes in need of a new eyewear prescription,” said Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International. “Between now and 2021, close to 200,000 optical frames and sunglasses
will be donated by the Safilo group to Special Olympics athletes. Added to this is the considerable time investment and invaluable expertise that Safilo volunteers will contribute to the Opening Eyes programme.

It is abundantly clear what a vital role Safilo plays in the successful delivery of the Opening Eyes programme. Special Olympics is extremely grateful for their continued commitment for another three years and the benefits it will bring to so many Special Olympics athletes around the world.”

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement that uses sport, health, education and leadership programmes every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. The movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners (athletes without intellectual disabilities) in over 170 countries.