by B. E. Lewis, RDPFS Intern
During National Hispanic Heritage Month each year from September 15th to October 15th, Americans celebrate the history and culture of those whose forebears came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. September 15th is a date that is significant because it marks the anniversary of independence for several Latin American nations, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, September 16th and September 18th mark the independence days of Mexico and Chile, respectively. The observance of Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into law in 1988. Hispanic Heritage Month “reminds us that the American identity is a fabric of diverse traditions and stories woven together.” In marking the observance, the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is reaching out to Hispanic people, especially individuals who are at higher risk for eye diseases. NEI affirms that it is time to “celebrar tus bellos ojos” (celebrate your beautiful eyes). People of Hispanic origin are at higher risk for some eye diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease. NEI also highlights the “diverse experiences of Hispanic eye professionals.” Through the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) materials and resources are available to connect to ensure that “Hispanic communities have the information they need to protect their eye health.” NEHEP offers a variety of resources in English and Spanish, including handout articles, fact sheets, infographics, videos, and more. Find out more by visiting the NEI webpage on Hispanic Heritage Month. Read more from hispanicheritagemonth.gov and from the United States Census Bureau webpage on National Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15 to October 15, 2023. For additional details from the NEI, read their webpage on Hispanic Heritage Month.