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DECLARING JANUARY 2007, AS GLAUCOMA AWARENESS MONTH.
Whereas, glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, affects more than 3 million Americans age 40 and older, and according to a University of South Carolina School of Medicine report, South Carolina ranked as the fifth worse state in the nation due to glaucoma blindness; and
Whereas, glaucoma is indicative of tragic health disparities, affecting African Americans six to eight times more frequently than Caucasians; and
Whereas, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness for African Americans, with African Americans ages 45 to 65 being fourteen to seventeen times more likely to go blind from glaucoma than Caucasians with glaucoma in the same age group; and
Whereas, Latinos and women are also disproportionately affected by glaucoma in younger age groups than other populations; and
Whereas, glaucoma affects an increasing number of older people across all races and ethnicities, reducing the quality of life for people in their golden years; and
Whereas, glaucoma causes people to lose their peripheral sight, oftentimes without the individual knowing it, and consequently only half of all people with glaucoma are aware of their condition; and
Whereas, because of the furtive nature of the progression of glaucoma, it is often called the "sneak thief of sight"; and
Whereas, most cases of glaucoma can be controlled and vision loss can be slowed or halted when identified and treated; however, when glaucoma is undetected, lost sight cannot be restored; and
Whereas, glaucoma runs in families, and yet few people know to have regular dilated eye examinations if they are at higher risk due to their family history; and
Whereas, Prevent Blindness America, the nation's leading voluntary health organization dedicated to saving sight and preventing blindness, in partnership with the General Assembly seeks to educate all South Carolinians, and especially people in communities of higher risk, about the dangers of glaucoma and the importance of regular eye examinations. Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:
That the members of the South Carolina General Assembly, by this resolution declare January 2007, as Glaucoma Awareness Month.
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