The partnership started in 2003.

(Press Release) Starting this holiday season, passersby will see more than just sunglasses when they look into a Solstice Sunglasses store.

All 117 of the retailer’s store locations in 23 states will carry a Special Olympics seal in their window fronts to communicate the sunglass specialty retailer’s support of Special Olympics. A dedicated Special Olympics page has also just been added to the retailer’s website.

The partnership between Italy-based eyewear manufacturer Safilo Group, parent company of the Solstice Sunglasses retail chain, and Special Olympics dates to 2003. Over the past 13 years, the partnership has led to over 1 million optical frames and sunglasses being provided to Special Olympics athletes all over the world.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics now serves more than 5.3 million athletes and Unified Partners in sports training, competition and related services worldwide.

Safilo Group renewed its support of Special Olympics earlier this year with a donation of over 160,000 pieces of eyewear per year until 2018 for Special Olympics athletes. Safilo has been the global frames supplier to the Special Olympics Opening Eyes vision care program since its first involvement in 2003, with Safilo personnel taking an active part in the implementation of the events as volunteers, donating their time and expertise for the benefit of Special Olympics athletes. Opening Eyes, part of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes public health initiative, is the largest program in the world dedicated to providing vision care for people with intellectual disabilities. Many athletes have the chance to benefit from the vision screenings and to receive prescription eyeglasses to correct their vision impairments and sunglasses to protect their eyes.

The Opening Eyes program also provides sports protective eyewear for athletes who train and compete in contact sports. Opening Eyes was founded by Dr. Paul Berman of the American Optometric Association’s Sports Vision Section and formally incorporated into the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program in 1997.

A grant from the Lions Clubs International Foundation, the largest service club in the world, formalized a global partnership and enabled the Opening Eyes program to expand internationally. In collaboration with Essilor International, which provides polycarbonate lenses necessary for the fabrication of eyewear, Opening Eyes is able to provide prescription eyeglasses to athletes in need.

As part of Special Olympics’ global health platform made possible through the support of the Golisano Foundation and various stakeholders, the Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes program provides Special Olympics athletes in more than 80 countries with vision examinations, prescription eyewear and valuable referrals for follow–up care.

“Special Olympics has found that one out of every five athletes competing at our World Games has never had an eye examination and more than one in three athletes need a new eyewear prescription,” said Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics.

“Solstice is proud to show our support of Special Olympics in partnership with our parent company Safilo Group to raise awareness for this invaluable organization that helps so many individuals bring their extraordinary visions to life,” said Jan Michel, senior vice president – head of Solstice. “We are a proud contributor, donating frames designed with craftsmanship and quality for comfort and fit.”

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