Vision Preps for Disasters, by Josh D. in Georgia

As anyone who makes preparations for the survival of themselves and their family knows the number of things you have to take into account when planning is truly vast and can be overwhelming at times. Food storage, reusable resources, home defense, and do-it-yourself medical care are just a few of the things that must be researched, prepared, and enacted to ensure that you are safe and ready for whatever may come. The number of articles giving advice and urging action are equally numerous throughout dozens of blogs, web sites and books. Within all of this however I have seen almost no Information on preparing for something that is essential to almost 60 percent of the American public, Prescription Corrective lens. This really shocked me as it seemed like an item that would be on the forefront of anyone who uses glasses mind, given the level of helplessness that would arise without the corrective lens we rely on.

Glasses are used by a large percentage of people on a daily basis for the essential task of granting usable vision. Anyone who wears glasses will understand exactly how important they are to effectively any activity. I myself am nearsighted, without my glasses I legally cannot drive, without my glasses I am effectively helpless, unable to see more than 3-4 feet in front of me in any usable way. In our current society that’s not a problem, Contacts, Lasik vision surgery, and old-fashioned prescription lens give people like myself the ability to see at almost 20/20 vision with a short examination and a wait of a few days for your lens to be delivered, granting you full functionality as a member of society. Now picture a broken world, roads badly maintained, little to no trade or contact with anyone more than a few miles away, and 0, that’s right 0, access to the specialized equipment and even more specialized skills needed to manufacture prescription glasses. Imagine trying to effectively forage for food and resources while unable to see more than a few feet away from you, or if far-sighted without any close up focus, this takes a situation already extremely difficult and turns it into one where you have little chance of independent survival, and worse in many perspectives, can find yourself a burden to those who love you. Taking this problem, something with such a widespread applicability, as lightly as many people do is simply unimaginable. To truly drive home how dangerous this is and how crippling it can be, think on what could happen if your attacked by unknown people, its late at night your glasses are on the table next to you but in the dark you can’t find them, you grab your home defense weapon, always kept ready and loaded and run to see what’s wrong, as you reach the door  you come to a horrible realization, without your glasses you can’t distinguish between your children, your wife, your mother, your father, and whoever it is that has penetrated your defenses, now you are truly helpless, unable to use your carefully prepared and lovingly cared for weapon to protect your family for fear of hurting that very family.

Considering the gravity of this problem the solutions are actually fairly simple to enact and can lead to either a complete resolution or at the very least the reduction of the problem to negligible risk. There are three main things that can be used to nullify this problem, Lasik, Glasses, and contact lens, each of which has their own pros and cons
Lasik is overall the best option as it is a permanent solution to the problem, and completely removes the risk associated with. The procedure has become easy, quick to perform and easy to heal from leading to its continuing increase among the general population. Despite these benefits there are some downsides that can eliminate lasik as a usable solution. The biggest hurdle for most people to overcome is the expense, Lasik is considered elective surgery by almost all insurance carriers, and as such the full cost must be borne by the patient themselves. A basic Lasik surgery, for a simple prescription change generally cost around 300-600 dollars per eye, while a large prescription, with astigmatism and other complications, can cost upwards of $1,500 per eye. I don’t know about most of you but I definitely don’t have an extra $600-$1,200 lying around much less $3,000. Taking all of this into account Lasik can be seen as a good investment for many people who can afford it and as a goal to work and save towards for those such as myself.

The second solution is one familiar to anyone preparing themselves and their family for periods of unrest and lawlessness, namely building up stores of necessary tools and materials, in this case Glasses and contact lens. The expense is once again a stumbling block; glasses are expensive ranging from a hundred to several hundred dollars a pair at traditional retailers with contact lens costing nearly $30-$100 for a 3 month supply. A solution I have found and frequently employ is online discount eyeglass retailers. My preferred point of sale is Zenni Optical, due to their low cost and general high level of quality but there are several other retailers as well. At Zenni you can get most prescriptions for 6.99 a pair and can get progressive or bifocal glasses for only $40-60, which as anyone who lives with corrective lens can tell you, is a significant savings. By using online retailers you can purchase several pair for under a hundred dollars, and with each pair you will receive a hard case, cleaning cloth and pay low shipping, making them perfect to put in several different locations for all eventualities. I myself have ordered some 30 pairs of glasses from Zenni and several pair from Goggles4u another of the online retailers. I keep several pair throughout my house along with five pair in a secure location away from my home, I have a pair in my car and one in my BOB along with the pair I keep with me at all times.

When you place your order you simply take the prescription given to you by your doctor and input it into the fields provided on the order page, then choose whatever styles and materials you like along with any add-on’s such as non reflective lens coatings and things of that nature. Make sure you ask your doctor to do a full eyeglass prescription for you as you won’t have the technicians at the store to take Pupillary Distance (PD), which is the distance between the pupils of your eye, and facial measurements all of which are necessary to ensure a comfortable fit. The only real downside to using Zenni in particular is that they have almost no customer service available, a trait which seems typical for the entire field, for instance except in instances in which they’re manufacturers made a mistake in the prescription or the glasses are broken upon delivery they will only offer 50% in a refund. Despite this the overall quality of the lens and frames are very high, I’ve only had one pair in which the prescription was off and it was quickly replaced for shipping costs only. When I compare the $6.99 glasses I receive from the bargain retailer versus the $239 per pair I last purchased from Lenscrafters. I can see no difference in the quality of the lens and with the frame the pair from the online store is actually sturdier and less susceptible to scratches and bending. In short I would seriously recommend checking out these online stores in order to build up a cheap store of eyeglasses to protect your vision.

With contacts it becomes both more expensive and provides a shorter term benefit. Contacts have a usable shelf life of only a few years which limits the amount you can reliably stockpile as without regular rotation they will become less and less viable. Along with the lens themselves solution and proper maintenance materials must also be maintained. Contacts must be regularly removed and cleaned to prevent the buildup of dead cells on the surface of the lens which can lead to the formation of a corneal ulcer. With no regular medical service available what in our current society is a treatable condition could easily lead to partial blindness.  On the other side of the argument contacts offer several benefits over eyeglasses, ease of use, relative security from theft, and ability to work and do activities without worry of shattering or damaging them. By wearing contacts it is much more difficult for anyone who captures you or attacks your family to exploit them as they can’t be knocked off or removed as easily as glasses, a major tactical benefit. While wearing them one doesn’t have to worry about accidentally hitting them or knocking them loose through an incautious movement, thereby accidentally depriving you of corrected vision. In a world without optometrists and the ability to produce new glasses eyeglasses could have a great deal of value as a potential trade good, given that with many lower level prescriptions there will be some overlap among prescriptions, leading to possible theft of eyeglasses for trade.

To procure contacts I would again recommend taking advantage of discount online retailers, as the price is generally much lower than traditional brick and mortar companies. 1-800 Contacts is the company I use for all my contacts but I’m sure there are others available. By using them I save $10-$15 for each three month supply I purchase, which allows me to buy an extra several months every year without going over budget. By ensuring that I rotate my supply out each time I purchase new lens I can keep about a year’s supply on hand at all time, thus giving me a buffer between breaks in supply and a way to slowly move myself off of contacts without too much difficulty if the supply is completely cut off.

By using these methods and planning ahead anyone with a need for corrective lens can ensure that they have continual and unimpaired vision even though the ability to produce new glasses is no longer in existence.