A simple eye exam made an extraordinary difference for a Special Olympics athlete in Nigeria. And parents nearby during the exam learned how easy it is to miss health issues.
During a Healthy Athletes clinic, a volunteer noticed one athlete squinting. The athlete's mother insisted repeatedly, “My child has no eye problem."
When she permitted the eye exam to take place, it was clear her daughter needed prescription glasses. The mother tried to leave before her child could receive the free lenses cut on site, but staff members pleaded with her to wait.
When the glasses were fitted to her daughter’s face, the happiness and relief from squinting was immediately clear. The mother was extremely grateful she had allowed the test.
She and other parents explained they thought only a change of eye color, pain or other dramatic symptom would indicate a visual problem, and so had never screened their children.
Special Olympics knows that people with intellectual disabilities are at risk for preventable health conditions. Free Healthy Athletes clinics are held around the world to check the eyes, ears, teeth, feet and general fitness of Special Olympics athletes. At the same time, family members, coaches and others get health information that helps improve the lives of Special Olympics athletes.