When you catch yourself holding the dinner menu at arm's length, you know you're part of the Post50 crowd. You have come to the stage in life that forces you to grab your reading glasses to see anything within four feet of your face: a text message; newspaper; tiny lettering on a bottle of aspirin; nutritional facts on a bag of... well, anything.
A survey by the Ocular Nutrition Society found that almost as many baby boomers say they worry about losing their vision as having heart disease or cancer. What's more, 78 percent of those surveyed ranked vision as the most important of the five senses. Yet, more than half of the 1,001 U.S. survey respondents ages 45-65 said they don't typically have a recommended annual eye exam.
"While there are a variety of potential factors, one possible reason baby boomers may neglect their eyes is because vision problems are typically painless and slow to develop," Jeffrey Anshel, OD, FAAO, and president of the Ocular Nutrition Society, told Huff/Post50.
He said few people are aware of important nutrients that play a key role in eye health (we're talking more than just carrots). Anshel suggests proper nutrition and vitamin supplementation can safeguard eye health as people age, and must become a greater focus of primary vision care.
If people are willing to change their diet and lifestyles to help prevent heart disease and cancer, then they should do the same to prevent vision loss, he argues.
To help protect eye health as they age, Anshel recommends people ages 45-65 take the following steps:
- Stop smoking, exercise regularly and wear sunglasses with UV protection
- Make an annual appointment with an eye doctor
- Eat foods rich in eye healthy nutrients, such as tuna or salmon for omega-3s and spinach, kale and broccoli lutein and zeazanthin
- To help overcome shortfalls in the diet consider a vitamin supplement specifically-formulated for eye health
Take a look at some of the Ocular Nutrition Society's survey findings below: