As reported by The Hartford Courant, June 12, 2008.

Face It, Boomers; It's Specs and the City

By Korky Vann

They show no sign of crow's feet, sagging boobs or gray hair. They're still strutting their stuff in killer heels and fashions to die for. But the "Sex and the City" crowd is getting older, and the proof — as it so often is — is in the bedroom. This time around, when Carrie and Mr. Big settle into the sack, the agenda isn't steamy sex, it's reading. When the two realize they can't make out the small print, they share a pair of reading glasses rather than passionate kisses before drifting off to sleep.

The gal pals and their boy toys hold magazines at arm's length and squint? The directors might as well have had Mr. Big reach over and pop a Viagra.

"The condition is called presbyopia, and it's a part of the normal aging process," explains Elizabeth Simmons, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. "As the elasticity of the eye naturally decreases, close-up sight is affected. It happens to most everyone when they hit their 40s and 50s."

Even the trendiest can't escape. It's been 10 years since the HBO series began, and Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte are now in their 40s. Samantha celebrates the big 5-0 at the movie's end. Sarah Jessica Parker, who co-produced the film (and plays the part of Carrie), said the group decided not to dodge the age issue.

"When we started cobbling together the movie, we knew there was only one road we could take," said Parker in an interview with The Associated Press before the movie was released. "You cannot pretend we're 32, still running around New York drinking with liberty and looking for interesting sexual partnerships. It would have been vulgar. None of us wanted that."

Instead, reading glasses join flower pins, Manolo Blahniks and horseshoe necklaces as must-have accessories, and "cheaters" takes on a whole new meaning. For the country's trailing-edge boomers (born between 1956 and 1964) and Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1979), it's nothing short of culture shock, says Mark Levit, president of VisAcuity.com, a Web-based business specializing in trendy designer reading glasses.

"Older boomers have already had to face the fact that they're aging," says Levit, a former professor of marketing at New York University who teaches advertising at the University of Miami. "This younger group isn't going there. They're not going to wear drugstore glasses on a chain around their necks. If they have to use readers, they're going to relate them as a trendy fashion statement, not a necessity."

In fact, says Levit, "trendy reading glasses" and "cool reading glasses" are popular search-engine terms, and VisAcuity's "New" section receives the most traffic. While older boomers are ordering "Hootenanny," "Strawberry Fields," "Hare Krishna" and other retro-style glasses, Gen Xers are choosing "Tryst," "Smokin' Cool," "Hollywood Eyes" and "Brazillia." "Vanity plays in here," says Levit. Before stocking up on reading glasses, Simmons recommends individuals experiencing any vision problems to schedule an eye exam. If presbyopia is diagnosed, options include prescription lenses or over-the-counter styles.

"The reality is that, sooner or later, you're going to need some help with reading the fine print, making out the numbers on your cellphone or reading menus at candlelight dinners," says Simmon. "Presbyopia is often the first thing that makes you face the fact that you really are aging."