How a Free Screening Changed Isaac “Joe” Crawford's Life

Seeing Clearly Union County Athlete Receives Glasses for the First Time.jpg

Isaac “Joe” Crawford knew something wasn't quite right. In his third year competing in Special Olympics, Crawford was getting better at every bowling competition, but something about his vision was holding him back.

He often couldn’t tell the difference between a seven and a one on the board in his classes at South Piedmont Community College and the squinting caused headaches. His sister, Fredria Smith, took him to the eye doctor.

“They told me he had astigmatism,” said Smith. “But they said it wasn’t anything major and that they wouldn’t be giving Joe glasses.”

Smith, who is also Crawford’s Unified partner for bowling, then encouraged her brother to go to the Healthy Athletes screenings being offered during Summer Games. With some hesitation owing to their previous experiences, they made their way to Opening Eyes, which provides free vision screening and assistance to athletes.

The Opening Eyes volunteer confirmed what they already knew. “I told him that we already knew he had astigmatism and that we were hoping to visit another doctor soon to get him glasses,” explained Smith.

What the volunteer said next left them amazed.

“Ma’am, we can make Isaac a pair of glasses right here, right now—and for free!”

Click here to read the rest of this happy story and find out how those glasses have made remarkable improvements in Crawford's life—and his bowling game. To learn more about Healthy Athletes, click here.