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Baby Boomers Value Vision More than Any Other Sense

but Lack Focus on Eye Health

Many Worry about Vision Loss, Few Take Action to Help Avoid it

SAN DIEGO, CA - October 24, 2011- Seventy eight percent of baby boomers rank vision as the most important of the five senses according to Eye on the Boomer, a new survey released today by the Ocular Nutrition Society. What’s more, many (55%) baby boomers surveyed worry about vision loss - almost as much as they worry about heart disease (60%) and cancer (65%). Despite this worry, almost one half of respondents said they don’t typically have an eye exam at least annually, and even fewer are aware of important nutrients that play a key role in eye health.

The National Eye Institute estimates that over the next 30 years, the number of Americans that experience eye health issues will double because of aging baby boomers. The demand for vision services is expected to flood the healthcare system by 2015 due to age-related eye disease and the diabetes epidemic. Sponsored by global eye health company Bausch + Lomb, Eye on the Boomer interviewed 1001 men and women, ages 45-65 (the baby boomer generation) to evaluate their eye care habits and gauge the level of understanding on the relationship between proactive eye care and eye health.

The baby boomer generation is characterized by their desire for independence. As this generation ages, many will be affected by some type of eye concern which could impact their daily lives,” said Jeffrey Anshel, OD, FAAO, President, Ocular Nutrition Society. “We wanted to gain an understanding of how active boomers are about maintaining their eyes as they age and what they knew about overall eye health. If people are at risk for heart disease they typically make lifestyle modifications. This survey found that people are as concerned about their eyes but do not know the simple steps they need to incorporate into their daily lives to take care of them.

Experts recommend that disease prevention, including lifestyle modification, attention to dietary intake and vitamin supplementation must become a greater focus of primary vision care. Studies indicate that proper nutrition promotes healthy eyes, however many American diets are found to be deficient of the critical nutrients that help protect eye health.

Many people surveyed were not aware of important nutrients that play a key role in eye health.

  • Almost 60% of respondents were not aware of the role of omega 3 fatty acids 
  • Two thirds of participants (66%) were not aware of the role of lutein 
  • Nine of ten respondents (89%) were not aware of the role of zeaxanthin 

The survey also looked at whether boomers are taking vitamin and nutrient supplements to support the gaps in their diet.

  • While over half of baby boomers surveyed are taking supplements to protect their joints, bones or heart health, only 18% said they take supplements to support their eye health 
  • Three quarters agreed that the need for certain vitamins/nutrients to support eye health increases as one ages, with one half also agreeing that taking a focused eye vitamin or supplement can help protect eye health 
  • Of those who do not take supplements, 31% said it was because they believe they receive enough nutrients from food 
As we grow older, the need for certain vitamins and nutrients to support the eye increases – the survey revealed low awareness of these essential nutrients,” said Dr. Anshel. “Over the past couple decades there has been a national focus on better nutrition and healthy living. This survey highlights the need for greater education on the lifestyle modifications that baby boomers should be incorporating into their daily lives, including proper nutrition, to safeguard eye health as they age.

For more detailed information about the survey please visit www.helpprotecteyehealth.com.

About the ‘Eye on the Boomer’ Survey

The survey was conducted by KRC Research through 15-minute, quantitative phone interviews. Respondents were recruited using a Random Digit Dial methodology, allowing each household within the U.S. to have the same equal chance of being called for the survey. One thousand and one interviews were conducted proportionately across the country among adults ages 45-65. The survey was supported by an educational grant provided by Bausch + Lomb.

About the Ocular Nutrition Society

The mission of the Ocular Nutrition Society (ONS) is to promote excellence in the care of patients through nutritional support of eye health and the prevention and control of ocular and systemic disease. The ONS provides an atmosphere where health care professionals can exchange ideas and concepts regarding nutritional influences on vision. The ONS provides a resource pool of clinically relevant refereed studies that support the role of safe nutritional support for the management of ocular and systemic disease. The society aims to monitor and validate claims made by industry regarding the quality and efficacy of nutritional supplements and encourages the inclusion of nutrition education in the curricula of medical and optometry institutions. The ONS conducts professional symposia to generate materials to educate eye care professionals regarding the role of nutrition in systemic and ocular health. www.ocularnutritionsociety.org.

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Carly McLean

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