Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 105 Part 3.djvu/607

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PROCLAMATION 6249—FEB. 11, 1991 105 STAT. 2491 Proclamation 6249 of February 11, 1991 Save Your Vision Week, 1991 By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation During this "Decade of the Brain," which is dedicated to enhancing public awareness of the benefits of neuroscience research, our observance of Save Your Vision Week is particularly appropriate. Our senses—the precious gifts of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell— link the mind to the outside world, enabling us to enjoy all the wonders of creation. As a "window" for the brain, our eyesight merits special care and protection. Tragically, thousands of Americans suffer vision loss each year—vision loss that might have easily been prevented. One simple and highly ef- fective way to prevent vision loss is through periodic eye examinations by a licensed professional. A thorough examination by an eye care professional can lead to early detection of eye disease and allow time for successful treatment. Glaucoma is one potentially blinding eye disease that can be controlled and treated effectively if detected early. Regrettably, however, glaucoma remains the leading cause of blindness in older Americans because many fail to have their eyes tested for the disease before it has permanently damaged their vision. Black Americans over age 40 need to be especially vigilant, since glaucoma has been shown to affect this group more frequently and at an earlier age than it does others. Regular eye examinations are absolutely critical for persons with diabetes. Treatment is usually available that can help those with diabetic eye disease to avoid extreme vision loss. As in the case of glaucoma, these treatments are most effective when the condition is detected early. Children also need early and regular eye examinations. Even the healthiest of children may have an imsuspected visual problem that requires prompt attention. A routine checkup can identify such a disorder in time for effective treatment. In addition to regular eye examinations, all of us can avoid vision loss by protecting ourselves against eye injuries. At home as well as in the workplace, one should wear a face mask, goggles, or safety glasses when working with potentially harmful chemicals or machinery. Whenever possible, athletes participating in contact sports or other potentially hazardous activities should also wear protective eyewear. Contact lens wearers should always handle and center lenses carefully, in accordance with the directions of their eye care professional. Finally, from an early age, children should be taught the fundamentals of eye safety—and one of the best ways we can teach them is by good example. To encourage Americans to cherish and protect their vision, the Congress, by joint resolution approved December 30, 1963 {77 Stat. 629; 36 U.S.C. 169a), has authorized and requested the President to proclaim the first week of March of each year as "Save Yoiu" Vision Week."