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A ‘Black Eye’ for African Americans
African-Americans have a higher risk of eye diseases, but fewer than half get a yearly eye exam, according to The National Council of Negro Women. The group is pledging to make eye health a top goal to address the higher risk among blacks for many eye diseases and vision problems.
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, executive director of the 77-year-old civil rights group, said a recent study found that only 7 percent of African-Americans know that extended exposure to the sun — a risk for cataracts — can damage the eyes. In the United States, African-Americans are the most likely demographic group to say they do nothing to protect their eyes from the sun, Jones-DeWeever said.
African Americans are 1.5 times more likely to suffer from cataracts than the general population, and are five times more likely than Caucasians to develop glaucoma, Jones-DeWeever said. They are also at higher risk for overall health issues, such as diabetes, hypertension and HIV/AIDS, all of which can have serious implications for vision.