Four Letters Re: Vision Care, Post-TEOTWAWKI

Hi Jim,
Acting on a recommendation from another reader, I’m happy to report that quality of the six pairs of eyeglasses purchased from Zennio Optical are good. These glasses are surprisingly inexpensive and only cost $150 for all six pairs, which is less than the typical cost of one pair [from most other sources]. The ordering process does require some thought and time to measure your current pair, yet a variety styles and sizes can be ordered insuring that at least one pair will be satisfactory. I’m happy with all six pairs and at those prices felt bold enough to order a pair of which can easily be worn inside goggles. Ask your optometrist to provide you with your pupilary distance (PD) at the time of the examination. In a pinch, even an old prescription could be used as it is not verified by the company. – EL, somewhere in Montana

From your posting from today (August 1st), my optometrist always advises me to keep my old pair of prescription glasses as a spare in case the new one breaks. I keep my last three most recent pairs of glasses (one in my car, two in the house) for emergencies. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, having a two or three-year old pair of glasses is better than having none (besides, you have already paid for them). I donate older pairs of glasses to a local charity (always keeping the three most recent pairs). – David M.


Mr. Rawles,
Took a dig into your own archives, and came up with this letter. I remembered seeing the adjustable eyeglasses on the Discovery channel a while ago, and that post was the first Google hit when I searched “adjustable glasses Africa”. The web page indicates that they normally only sell in bulk, but I shot them an e-mail to see if I could get a sample pair or five, for a nominal fee, of course… – Aaron in Florida


A few notes regarding vision care etc. (I am an optometrist). Not sure if this is worth posting or not, you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t:

Buying lot of contact lenses to stock up is a good idea if you are worried about SHTF scenarios. However stretching your wearing time in order to make them last longer, such as wearing monthly lenses for three months, is not a good idea. I have seen numerous cases of bacterial conjunctivitis, and almost always it is because people have worn their contact lenses longer than directed or slept in contact lenses they should not sleep in. Note that many eye care centers will not allow you to stock up on extra contact lenses because that is the way some people try to avoid yearly eye exams (i.e. buy three years of contact lenses and then see the optometrist every 3 years rather than every year). Another problem with stocking up on contact lenses is that your prescription may change, and you may be stuck with contact lenses that are less than perfect for you–although, in a SHTF world they would be ok. So weigh your options and priorities.

Regarding glasses: safety glasses are truly a notch up as far as durability. To be called “Safety Glasses” they must pass ANSI Z87.1 standards, which calls for both tougher frames and lenses. They are about the same cost as regular glasses, but they are both heavier and stronger. The lenses must withstand greater forces, and are therefore thicker at their thinnest point. So, if you are worried about your glasses “holding up” in a post-SHTF world, you may want to have a pair of safety glasses. Again, the primary problem would be if your Rx changes.

Another consideration is the scratch protection your lens offers. I have seen lenses from Sears and WalMart that are one year old and scratched so much you can barely see through them. If you are worried about a SHTF scenario, I would recommend a high-quality scratch coating. At our office we sell TD2, and it is fantastic; I am sure there are other offerings at other places. You generally get what you pay for.

Lasik and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) are also good options (as already noted); like the country doctor, I am biased towards PRK and in fact steer my patients away from Lasik due to flap complications.

In regards to overall eye-health issues (both pre- and post-SHTF), I would add the following top two tips: (1) Listen to your body. If you are a contact lens wearer and your eye(s) is (are) bothering you, get your contact lenses out! The worst infections come with the story, “Well, I knew there was a problem, but I had a basketball game, so I couldn’t wear my glasses!” or something similar. So make sure you have at LEAST one pair of backup glasses, and use them immediately if your eyes do not “like” the feeling of your contact lenses. Of course if problems persist see your local optometrist. (2) Wear safety glasses, preferably with side shields, anytime you cut, hammer, split wood, ride a motorcycle, etc.
Hope this helps, – Country Eye Doctor