In a year where an estimated 2.8 million baby boomers will celebrate their 60th birthday, age-related eye disease has become an important health issue.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) reminds Americans 60 and older that early detection through a comprehensive eye exam can prevent or slow vision loss due to cataracts and other age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

“Today’s 60-year-olds are more health conscious than 60-year-olds 20 years ago,” said Richard C. Edlow, O.D., AOA information and data committee chairman. “Being better informed about health risks, improved technology and treatment options has not necessarily translated into including regular eye examinations into their health care routine.”

The National Eye Institute estimates that over the next 30 years, the number of blind or visually impaired Americans will double. Some eye diseases have no symptoms in the early stages, when it is most critical to help slow the progression of vision loss.

The AOA developed the Baby Boomer’s Checklist for Healthy Vision. Are you:

• Someone with diabetes, hypertension or any other systemic or chronic disease?

• At risk for certain systemic or eye diseases because of family history or other factors?

• Having more difficulty reading smaller type, such as books and newspapers?

• Experiencing frequent head-aches after working on a computer?

• Doing a great deal of reading and other close work?

• Rubbing your eyes frequently or having tired or burning eyes?

• Losing track of a person or objects in your peripheral (side) vision?

• Avoiding close work?

• Having difficulty driving at night?

• Experiencing frequent near misses, accidents or difficulty parking?

• Handling or using chemicals, power tools or lawn and garden equipment?

• Playing eye-hazardous sports such as racquetball, softball or tennis?

• Experiencing difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination?

• Playing sports and having trouble judging distances between you, the ball or other objects?

If you answered yes to any question on the checklist, be sure to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye examination. Even if you didn’t answer yes, don’t forget that symptoms of vision problems aren’t always apparent.

A comprehensive eye exam can help prevent vision loss.

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