Good vision is a must in an emergency. Whether it’s an active shooter situation, a home invasion, an accident that leaves you stranded in the wilderness miles from civilization, or a natural disaster; the better you can see, the better your chances of survival. You may have naturally good vision that does not need correction or you may have corrected vision, either way, in an emergency good vision is non-negotiable. I have read surveys reporting that 40% to over 60% of Americans require some sort of corrective device such as glasses or contact lenses. That’s a lot of folks who are dependent on some type of corrective device, some to a lesser extent and others to a greater, to perform life’s normal daily activities.
If you’re one of those who requires corrective visual devices, what would you do in an emergency? Do you have a plan for what to do if you do not have your glasses or contact lenses? Do you have backup devices? What if your contacts are lost or dated, do you have backup glasses? If you use glasses, do you have backup glasses in case your primary pair is broken or lost? These are all important questions that need to be considered before you are confronted with an emergency.
Some people experience visual disorders that result in decreased visual acuity at younger ages. But even if you’re one of the lucky ones who made it through young adulthood without experiencing any visual problems, that will change. As we age, all of us will experience deterioration of our visual acuity and our ability to quickly accommodate from one focal distance to another. Typically, after age 40, most people will start to notice problems and experience difficulties carrying out everyday tasks due to decreased visual acuity. The bottom line is this… if you live long enough, you will likely develop some sort of age-related eye disorder(s).
I won’t go into detail about the various eye disorders that are commonly experienced, like myopia (near sightedness), presbyopia (age-related farsightedness), hyperopia (congenital farsightedness), glaucoma, cataracts, etc. I’ll leave it to the ophthalmologists out there to educate you in these. Having regular eye exams is important to detect problems early so they can be treated or corrected. My main goal for this article is to sensitize you to the importance of being able to see well in emergencies. That means you must consider how your eyes will perform under all conditions – corrected with corrective devices and uncorrected without the aid of corrective devices.
Let’s get back to the questions I asked above. Do you have a plan that ensures you will be able to see well in an emergency? As with any plan, you should include contingency planning. I use the PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency) planning method. Develop Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency courses of action. The goal is to have redundancy in your plans. That way if your primary plan fails, you already have an alternate plan to transition to quickly. Even if you only have one backup plan; one is better than none.
If you wear eye glasses, you should have at least a couple of backup pairs strategically placed where you can access them quickly. If you haven’t already, you should consider placing extra pairs in your desk, in your vehicle, in your office, in your gun safe, in your bug-out bags, or any other place you feel could be beneficial. If you wear contacts, you may want to consider just switching to glasses during an emergency that lands you in austere conditions. Eye infections from contaminated lenses can be extremely severe and if you can’t access medical care, well… You can avoid them altogether by just switching back to glasses. Should you choose, or be forced, to stick with contacts you should have plenty of spares with plenty of contact lens solution and ensure a high-level sanitation. And contact wearers should still have spare eye glasses readily accessible in several places too…just in case.
If you have poor vision, another course of action is to go to your eye doctor see if you are a candidate for one or more corrective surgical procedures that may correct your vision and eliminate the necessity for eye glasses and contacts. It is important to realize the difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologist in this scenario. The ophthalmologist is the type of eye doctor that performs those procedures. Optometrists can give you a prescription for glasses, but cannot evaluate you for possible surgical correction. If the ophthalmologist deems you an appropriate candidate, there are several procedures available to you.
The most popular procedure is LASIK. There is another procedure called LASEK. And PRK is another popular procedure, but the recovery time is a little longer (recovery time 5-7 days) than with LASIK and LASEK (recovery time 24-48 hours). In all three cases, a laser is used to reshape your cornea by removing corneal material to improve visual acuity and correct astigmatism. Both procedures can provide long-term solutions to visual acuity disorders, eliminating the need for glasses or contacts for many years. Either of these procedures eliminates you having to worry about broken or lost glasses, or eye infections from dirty contact lenses. Should you opt for one of these procedures, you should know that the results are NOT permanent. LASIK, LASEK, and PRK correct your visual acuity, at the time of the procedure, to near perfect vision. However, your visual acuity will continue to deteriorate and in most cases, a correction will be required in ten to fifteen years. This is because your lens, which is in the anterior chamber of your eye, will continue to deteriorate with age. It will become slower at accommodation (adjusting to different focal distances) and it will ultimately develop cataracts if you live long enough. That means that even though you had your vision corrected through Lasik (removing material to reshape your cornea). you’ll have to have the same procedure again every ten to fifteen years to correct it for your ever-deteriorating lenses. It should also be noted that most people will only be acceptable candidates for one or two procedures. This limitation is because the cornea must maintain a certain thickness, and each time material is removed the cornea is made thinner.
There is a better option, and in my opinion the best option for correcting your vision if you are an acceptable candidate. This is the extreme prepper option. The procedure is called Super Sight Surgery. If you want to do the ultimate prep to ensure you have perfect vision for the rest of your life, then you want Super Sight Surgery. Check out our article on Super Sight Surgery - The Ultimate Prepper Move For Your Vision!