05/12/2015 10:49 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Things Baby Boomers Miss Most -- Part 2

5 Things Baby Boomers Miss Most - Part 2


Baby Boomers,

I recently brought to you the first of five articles about the five things, I think, Baby Boomers miss the most from their youth.

The first thing I miss and I bet all guys do too is playing "sports."

Hey, shoot me for being a "macho man," but a fact is a fact... I miss playing sports. I think I already made it clear in that article that "everybody will have their own opinions."

Boy, was I right, especially about the women. Back in my day, sports like softball, football, bowling and hockey were considered the domain of men. Hey, I didn't write the rules... it was just the way it was. Back in the '70s and '80s, women were just breaking into the national sports scene in things like tennis, track and field and gymnastics. Not exactly primetime sports.

Anyway, I bet those of us (men and women) who miss playing competitive sports wish we could go back and have it all over again.

The same sentiment goes for the second "thing" Baby Boomers miss from our youth and that is our eyesight.

2. Having the Eyesight of our Youth

I know not everyone had perfect eyesight when they were younger. What I am talking about here is the element that we never worried about our eyesight. We never feared that we could possibly lose this incredible sense of sight like we do now.

Just so you know, I was one of those awkward-looking, stringy-haired, pimple-faced teenagers in school who had to wear what they called "coke bottle" glasses.

My vision was terrible, but I never gave it a second thought. First of all, I wore glasses for as long as I could remember. In fact, I can remember my very first eye exam.

My Dad took me to the optical shop at Montgomery Ward. Do you remember that name Baby Boomers?

I remember the doctor asking me to read a sign that was hanging from the ceiling about 25 yards away from where we were sitting. I couldn't do it. I didn't know that was an issue until he put a test pair of glasses on my nose and "voila," the sign actually had words on it that I could read.

This opened up a whole new world for me.

I started wearing glasses that day and I was fine with that. As a young kid they were always broken and taped up. The lenses were large, thick and obtrusive, but when I had my glasses on it was like everything seemed normal.

It was a miracle that I ever dated.

The style of glasses we wore even defined our personalities. As a young kid, my dad made me wear thick black frames because I played baseball and they were more rugged.

During my high school days, these were traded out for more stylish turtle shell frames and then eventually, metal frames. By college days, I was emulating John Lennon with the large round wire rims.

By this time, contact lenses were coming of age.

Do you remember the first generation of hard lenses that felt like you were wearing shaved glass on your eyes? Eventually, soft lenses were developed, but they never quite worked for me, either.

I wore glasses for almost 40 years and never gave a single thought about my eyesight at all. As far as I was concerned it was always "good."

About 10 years ago I had Lasik surgery and my life got even better. No more stumbling around after waking up looking for my glasses. In fact, no more glasses... or so I thought.

Unfortunately, since my eyes were already almost 50 years old the doctor told me I would always need reading glasses even after the Lasik. Hey, I was OK with that. They made me look distinguished.

But now that I am looking at 60, my eyes aren't what they used to be.

Oh sure, I still see great thanks to the Lasik, but there are little problems starting to creep into my life.

My night vision has become a bit of a concern. I don't feel as confident as I did driving years ago.

My eyes tire quickly now. Maybe it's all of the paperwork and sitting in front of the computer but after a few hours things aren't as clear as they should be.

And I feel like my eyes are constantly dry. I constantly wake up with giant, crusty "eye boogers."

This probably has something to do with the fact that I live smack dab in the middle of a desert.

Anyway, the bottom line is:

"I want my young eyes back again, glasses or not!"

Believe it or not, according to the American Foundation for the Blind, United Staters fear vision loss more than they fear cancer, HIV/AIDS, stroke, heart disease or diabetes.

I could not imagine living without my eyesight. It seems like I am constantly aware of the condition of my eyes and my risk of decreasing vision.

I bet I am not alone.

Vision experts predict that within the next 15 years the rates of vision loss and severe visual impairment in the US will double as our almost 80 million baby boomers reach retirement age. That really sucks.

That means a tougher time driving. This means more difficulties reading not only books but also bills that come in the mail, boxes on the shelves at grocery stores and even labels on medicine bottles.

It is expected that 36% of Baby Boomers will soon not being able to watch television or go to the movies due to concerns related to declining vision. Let's face it, loss of vision means loss of our ability to live independently. That's a tough pill to swallow.

I want my young eyes back again.

Since that's not going to happen, I plan on keeping my "old eyes" in shape as long as possible. I plan to combat anything that causes vision loss.

There are several conditions that can contribute to a decrease in your eyesight. The most common cause of failing eyesight in older folks like us is "macular degeneration." This is basically just old age for your eyes.

The early stages of macular degeneration are so gradual that most people don't notice it. The eyeball becomes less elastic, vision may slowly blur and objects may become distorted. There is difficulty in seeing smaller print and loss or graying of central vision may occur.

Impaired vision can also be caused by inherited diseases, birth defects, diabetes, glaucoma and/or cataracts.

Here's what you need to do Baby Boomers:

Stop smoking
Lose Weight if you are considered obese
Reduce stress in your life
Keep your eyes moist
Reduce direct sun exposure
Exercise both your bodies and eyes

If you have concerns about your eyesight, the American Foundation for the Blind has created the AFB Senior Site complete with instructional videos, health tips, and testimonials to help you keep your vision in tip top shape.

Unfortunately, we will never get our "young eyes" back, but you can join me in doing everything you can to help your "Baby Boomer eyes" stay as strong as possible.