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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 6, 1993




Vision is a remarkable gift. Providing nearly 40 percent of all sensory input to the brain, our eyes allow us to read, drive, and experience many of life's greatest pleasures. Vision, however, is an extremely fragile gift, one that can dim with injury or the onset of disease. Moreover, it is a gift that, with few exceptions, cannot be restored once it is lost.

Thus, given the important but delicate nature of good vision in our lives, it is tragic that each year thousands of Americans suffer vision loss that might have been prevented.

Having a periodic eye examination is an effective and simple way for most of us to prevent this tragedy from occurring in our lives. A comprehensive eye examination can provide an early warning of developing eye disease and allow an eye care professional the opportunity to initiate appropriate treatment.

Both glaucoma and diabetes are potentially blinding diseases that can be controlled and treated effectively, if detected early. However, each remains a leading cause of blindness in the United States. People at high risk for glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40 and everyone over the age of 60, should receive an eye examination at least every two years to reduce the risk of blindness.

For people with diabetes, a regular eye examination is an absolute necessity. People with diabetes who have their eyes examined through dilated pupils at least once a year take a responsible preventive measure in protecting their vision.

Children also need early and regular eye examination. Even the seemingly healthiest child may have an unsuspected visual problem that needs prompt attention. A routine checkup can identify such disorders in time for effective treatment, sparing the child a lifetime of visual impairment.

Guarding against eye injuries is important for all members of our society. Both in the home and workplace, people should wear appropriate face masks, goggles, or safety glasses when working with chemicals or machinery that might be dangerous to the eyes. If possible, athletes should also wear protective eye wear, and children should be taught the basic principles of eye safety from an early age.

To encourage Americans to cherish and protect their vision, the Congress, by a 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 in March of each year as "Save Your Vision Week."




NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the week beginning March 7, 1993, as Save Your Vision Week. I urge all Americans to participate in the observance by making eye care and eye safety an important part of their lives. Also, I invite eye care professionals, the communications media, and all public and private organizations committed to the goal of sight conservation to join in activities that will make Americans more aware of the steps they can take to protect their vision.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.


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