I got a new cell phone the other day. It’s a sleek, sexy red model that’s got twice as many features as my last phone. Games, instant messaging, email, photos, music downloads—it’s all there at my fingertips. Although my 16-year-old son Josh appreciates these enhancements, they are largely wasted on me. That’s because the older I get, the less patience I have with pressing tiny keys and scrolling through hard-to-read menu screens. As my friend and fellow writer Roger Mummert half-jokingly observes, the designers of cell phones and PDAs seem to take perverse pleasure in testing the visual limits and patience of us presbyopic Baby Boomers.

My cell phone situation underscores the fact that Boomers have special eyewear and eyecare needs. Yet aside from the annoyance of having to read small type, many Boomers are unaware they may have vision problems. That’s why the Vision Council of America (VCA) and AARP have launched a new public service advertisement (PSA) campaign designed to educate Americans over the age of 40 about vision health. Titled “Sight Matters. Look into Your Eyes.” the PSA highlights the fact that while many Americans are concerned with how their eyes look, few place a high priority on how well their eyes see. That’s unfortunate, because the VCA estimates six million Americans over the age of 40 have an uncorrected visual impairment. According to VCA, this number will skyrocket by the year 2020.

Over the next decade, the mass of Boomer consumers will change the face of eyecare. ECPs who have the necessary lens and dispensing knowledge will be to best equipped to adapt to those changes.

—Andrew Karp