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Special Olympics 2019 in Abu Dhabi – a very special event for Essilor!

The Special Olympics is an international sporting events fostering acceptance of people with physical and intellectual disabilities of all ages. In line with our commitment to improve lives by improving sight, Essilor has been working with the Special Olympics to empower athletes, for 17 years.

During these Special Olympics Summer Games, competitors from more than 190 countries met in Abu Dhabi to compete in 24 sports. A total of 22,000 volunteers joined the event including 35 Essilor employees who worked together in great team spirit wearing Essilor Vision Foundation T-shirts. They helped to perform free eye screenings and set up an on-site temporary lab where they carried out edging and mounting services and quality control checks. All to ensure that the athletes received their prescription eyewear to allow them the best possible vision – so that they could focus on their sporting event!

Key figures of Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi 2019

– 7,500 athletes
– more than 190 competing countries
– 24 Olympic sports
– 22,000 volunteers
– 5,888 athletes screened through Healthy Athletes program in which Essilor volunteers participated
– 815 pairs of glasses provided by Essilor as part of ‘Opening Eyes’ program


Ludovic Mathieu
Vice-President, Middle East, Turkey, Africa & CIS of Essilor

He commented on the involvement of his team: “It’s our honor to support the Special Olympics in its efforts to provide health care to all its athletes. Essilor volunteers raised awareness about the importance of eye health and provided corrective lenses to those in need. We firmly believe clear vision will help them unlock their fullest potential!”

Sami Bakhache
Country Manager covering the Arab States of the Gulf, based in Dubai. He has been with Essilor for more than 10 years.

“The teams in the Middle East are driven by our vital mission of improving lives by improving sight. In keeping with Essilor’s commitment to the Special Olympics project, I was responsible for overseeing the provision of the best service possible – from providing effective edging services to making quality lenses to making them available and fitting the participating athletes on time. Personally, I have always believed that every person regardless of their limitations has the right to be provided with the best eye care. Essilor has allowed me to see this become a reality for these athletes. It was a truly worthwhile personal experience.”

Hazem Ali
Sales Representative for Essilor Optical Supply started work for Essilor in Dubai almost 18 months ago.

“My role was to coordinate between the different Essilor teams and the many Essilor volunteers arriving every day. I coordinated for both special athletes and regular athletes to make sure we could provide everyone with the best quality of lens fittings and measurements. It was a fantastic experience and also to share such moments of happiness; to witness their joy and appreciation when they were able to see better wearing their glasses. Their faces said it all. They really spread positive energy to all the Essilor team!”


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