It sure is nice to be able to see where you're going, especially as you navigate obstacles on a trailer or drive a car down a crowded street. Also great is having the ability to read and consume important information, whether it be via news outlets or simply the labels on your prescription bottles. Having good eye sight is something often underappreciated and taken for granted by those who are lucky enough to have it. If you have vision that requires correction, you may don glasses or pop in your contacts every morning without another thought. When it comes to survival, however, planning for continued vision and eye health is a must.
Once the SHTF, having access to a doctor that can attend to your eye care needs will rapidly become a thing of the past as will access to manufacturers of eye care products, be it frames, lenses, or contacts. It will not be as simple as a few mouse clicks or a phone call to get these items replaced and you will have to have prepared for your current supply to eventually become exhausted and/or possibly damaged. Without a backup plan for your eyes, your survival will be that much more difficult as you are unable to see threats as they approach or accurately shoot targets such as game animals that could feed your family.
Vision needs can vary amongst individuals, but being sure to know and care for your own is a good place to start. The most obvious issue with eyes is corrective vision. Even if you have had Lasik surgery to correct vision issues, your vision can still worsen again with time. If you've opted for contacts, you must be prepared to deal with their shelf life as most contacts are only good for a short timeframe in your eyes as well as on the shelf. Glasses have longevity provided they are not broken or damaged, but can oftentimes be repaired with a simple eyeglass repair kit which is a must-have for all glasses wearers. Ultimately the thing to remember is that everyone's vision fades with age and regardless of what you currently have in place to protect yours, continued attention will be a requirement in the future whether it is a need for a stronger prescription or the addition of reading glasses.
Photo: The Impersonals
Take cataracts, for example, which are the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in individuals over 40 years of age. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, blocking your ability to see. This can be remedied with a simple surgery, but again, who is going to perform cataract surgery on you after the SHTF? If you have cataracts, the time to address them is now, along with other eye ailments that may be present. The sooner you get problems such as cataracts out of the way, the better able you will be to see whatever might be thrown at you post TEOTWAWKI.
When it comes to glasses and contacts, the solution is to stock up. Even if your prescription changes, do not discard those old eye glasses as you upgrade your eyewear. Older glasses with a weaker prescription are better than none at all and they can possibly work for someone else in your camp even if they no longer work for you. You can always upgrade the lenses in an old pair of frames to your current prescription in order to have a spare, or ideally more than one spare, at all times. In the case of contacts, you can order a healthy supply to keep on hand, but having a backup pair of glasses is still ideal, especially when you factor in the less than optimal hygiene opportunities that may exist after the SHTF. Contacts are recommended for limited wear and can tear or become damaged. Additionally, contacts have an expiration date which makes keeping an infinite stock on hand a little more difficult. The same applies to contact saline and eye drops which also have expiration dates, although there are ways to make your own saline if you have the supplies needed.
Photo: The Optical Cue Blog
Additionally, protecting eyes from harsh light is strongly recommended as a means to preserve vision. This means limiting exposure to fluorescent light and wearing sun glasses when outdoors to protect your eyes from UV rays. Make sure any sunglasses you buy are rated for UV protection as cheap versions may not have what you need. When you do find a good pair of sunglasses, buy more than one set. If you wear glasses for correction, adding magnetic sunglasses that affix to frames is vital to eye health. When selecting sunglasses, look for labels indicating one of the following:
- ANSI Z80.3 blocking requirements have been met
- UV 400 protection is offered
- UVA and UVB rays are blocked to at least 99%
Photo: Eternally Fashion
One of the recurring themes in discussions on eye health is overall health. Conditions such as obesity and diabetes are the enemy of eye health. Eating right and exercising are touted as vital to eye health, so the next time you're tempted to skip the gym and sit on the couch, thank your lucky stars that you can see stars at all and get up and get moving. Your eyes, and the rest of your body, will thank you.
What are your long term eye care plans in a survival situation? Do you have a contact lens or glasses stockpile or other eye car provisions in place? Let us know in the comments.