A while ago I was having one of THOSE days. Where things were going wrong left and right. One hour before my meeting I set my glasses down on my desk to rub my eyes. In one of those “what a day” sort of ways. When I picked them back up the lense popped out. My first thought was “oh shit?!” Luckily only the screw came loose and even more lucky it was still there. Like a good prepper I carry a Leatherman multi-tool around in my work 5.11 Messenger bag. That’s like trying to use a 308 to hunt squirrels for survival. Not gonna work. The screw was super small and there was no way to make it work. Asking around the office there wasn’t a set of jeweler’s screwdrivers in the IT department.
So the only option was to get in the car with my one lens glasses and drive to a CVS close by. With one eye closed to be able to see without depth perception I drove carefully and ran into CVS. Getting an odd look from the worker as I asked about a glasses repair kit with one eye closed. Getting back to the office it took a good 30 minutes to get the lens back in place. If you have never had to get them back together key thing to note is the lens has a convex outward bevel and the frames have a concave inward bevel that you need to get lined up.
My 45 minutes of frustration is the inspiration for this article and what I learned reflecting on the situation. Let’s face it in a survival situation not being able to see makes it a lot harder and for those without a strong constitution it could be the end for them. So here are things to think about now to help you prevent this catastrophe in SHTF.
Stem off Vision Problems
1. Protect your vision
Wearing eye protection when shooting or doing construction is only part of it. Making sure that you balance the light in your room with the light coming from your computer monitor or TV will help. Don’t sit too close to the screen. Try to blink more and consider eye drops for dry eyes. Try to avoid eye strain and baby your eyes they are your only pair.
2. Don’t depend on contacts
I love contact when I’m practicing Aikido or working out. When I’m working on a computer I use glasses so as to not further dry out my eyes. In our sterile world with all the proper cleaning solutions they are great. However the more you use the same pair the dirtier they become. You will want to avoid an eye infection at all costs. So it’s best to stop using them if SHTF happens and switch to glasses at that time. Now it may be worth keeping a pair in your BOB as a last resort.
Correct your vision problems ahead of time
1. Have surgery
Get laser eye surgery may not seem appealing. I know as a computer programmer I am hesitant for fear of possible damage to my eyes but if you can imagine no longer needing glasses in that world you will be far better off. As well that technology and knowledge may be lost for a generation or two so use it while you can.
2. Try Vision Therapy
There are some alternative techniques you can research online to try and improve your vision. I have heard some people having success with it through dedication and time assuming your vision problems aren’t from damage to the eyes. One of the techniques was to take a string attach it to the wall and put a bead on it. then put the other end of the string on your nose. Focus on the bead close to your eye right before it gets blurry. Then move it outward a little bit and attempt to refocus on that bead. Continue to do this can slowly improve your vision.
Have Spare Glasses.
The most obvious solution is to have some spare sets of glasses handy it makes it far easier to repair a set of glasses when you can see what you are doing. The problem for most is how to afford them. With local eyewear stores charging hundreds of dollars for a pair. Here are a couple ways to accomplish that.
1. Keep your old glasses
Sure your prescription changes and they won’t be as good, but if it’s between that and nothing a little blurry is better than a lot. Even though I bought extra pairs of glasses I still keep my old pairs.
2. Order from Goggles4U
After my recent incident I remembered a friend’s recommendation for the site Goggles4u where you can get cheap glasses. I went there and bought 1 pair of regular glasses for $10 shipped, and 1 pair of prescription sunglasses for $40. The quality were great for the price. I went with some of the free plastic frames. So they were a bit 50’s looking but they work great. At just a little more cost than 2 trips to Starbucks or McDonalds there is no excuse to not have an extra pair or two ready to go. If you click the Goggles4u links you will use my affiliate link and I will receive a kickback from your order that helps fund this site.
How to repair your glasses
1. Repair Kit
A simple glasses repair kit at CVS costs $3 and it comes with some nose pads, screws, and a screw driver. If you go to amazon you can get one better quality Glasses and Watch Repair kit that comes with a lot more screws, screw drivers and a magnifying glass compared to cvs. Either will help but the wide variety of screws
If you want something a little cheaper but still better than CVS try this glasses repair kit.
2. Improvised Screws
I had a co-worker who had a pair of sunglasses break. The screw came out of the right arm. I didn’t have any screws with me as it was before my own incident. I used the leatherman in my pack, took a paper clip cut it to size and bending the ends over. After all, all that screw really did for the glasses was provide a pivot point to collapse the arms. It worked great and wasn’t noticeable on those glasses.
2. Duct Tape the Frames
You may remember the pictures of nerds of yesteryear having in the middle of their glasses. This was a solution to the frames breaking down the middle. This may not be the best looking but it beats being blind.
3. Super glue the lenses
If your lenses break like they are stepped on you can always try to reassemble them with some clear super glue. It’s not perfect and will probably be annoying but when it’s your only option, do it.
4. Improvised Frame
Consider making a frame from bending a coat hanger, wrapping in electrical tape or duct tape the parts that make contact with the skin and then using super glue on the lenses. There are other ways you could make some glasses depending on your handiness. Using various pieces of hardware from the garage to make a more steampunk looking set of glasses, or whittle some wooden frames. Be creative.
5. Scuffed Lenses
To fix scuffed lenses the trick is really filling the scuffed areas with a good gel like substance to reduce the effect the scuffs have. Essentially it’s like buffing a scratch out of a car except you are working with plastics. Some items you can use to accomplish this are… non-abrasive toothpaste, silver or brass polish, Wood cleaner, Cd/DVD Repair Kit Spray, baking soda and water, vehicle wax, rain-x, or a glass etching abrasive. The general idea is to cover the surface of the lens thoroughly then wipe away the extra. It’s not perfect but it will make it less annoying.
6. Nose pad replacement
To improvise one you need to find something rigid (cardboard) and something soft (cloth or tissue). Put the soft material against the rigid material and shape it accordingly. wrap the material in electrical tape so it will have a little more durability. Then remember they are best fastened to the glasses but if that won’t work tape to your nose… Their primary purpose is to shim the gap between your nose and the frame and prevent rubbing of the metal against your nose.
Worst-case Vision trick
1. Use your phone’s camera
If you have trouble seeing far then let the camera do the work and you simply watch the screen within your working vision range. This may not work in an EMP or if you can’t keep it charged but it will work. This would work with any video camera and lcd combo. Even night vision goggles can be used if needs be.
2. Pin-hole Glasses
The funny thing is you can improvise some glasses if you have nothing. The trick is to create pinhole glasses. You can use a material and create a number of tiny holes through the mock lenses. Or use your finger to create a single small hole to look through. The Reason you vision is messed up is the multiple beams of light coming from all angles causing the blur. So when you reduce the beams of light coming into your eye the image becomes less blurry. It’s not great as it will also be very dim and tunnel visioned. But it’s certainly better than nothing. Here is a youtube video to explain How to see without glasses better
3. Practice without glasses.
Try taking off you glasses and do some practice on how you would function without them. Learn your shortcomings and strength. Also try relying on your other senses (smell, touch, hearing) and develop them to help you. I have heard of a blind person who taught himself to see like radar. He makes a clicking noise and hears it reflect back to him. He Bikes climbs mountains and much more. Read the Story of the blind man seeing via clicking here While becoming a Bat might not be practical, learning to be more comfortable without them is valuable.
4. Rely on a group
Survival is best done in a group. This is one of those events that would help reinforce that idea. If you are with a group of people you trust they can be your eyes for those things you can’t do yourself. However you may want to think ahead of time as to what sort of skills you can take on without needing your vision as you will still need to contribute to your groups survival if you want them to stay with you.
I didn’t really understand how valuable my vision was until the lens popped out with no one to help you. In that moment you feel absolutely vulnerable. It puts the fear of God into you. That is why I wanted to write this blog post for all you preppers with glasses. Today’s society the weak are propped up on the shoulders of the strong. If you can’t see you can still function through technology or mandates by the government for disabilities compliance. In an SHTF situation not being able to see can spell disaster for all but the strongest at heart. Think of vision as a critical item to include in your prep.