Sunday, January 06, 2008

Post-Apocalyptic Vision

With one exception, I can pretty easily see how future tribe and I can meet all our physical needs and substitute hand-made items for civilization-dependent, or adapt to going without. But I haven't really known what to do about my dependency on glasses! I have five ideas:

  1. Figure on going without glasses. This would suck, since I have very poor eyesight and without my glasses I can't make out any details of anything more than a foot away from my face.
  2. Make my own glasses from remaining fragments of glass. I haven't read of anyone experimenting with this; I worry that if it doesn't work out well impaired vision will permanently handicap me. Perhaps not as badly as with option #1, but any impairment in vision will significantly impact my ability to hunt and gather, and even to grow food.
  3. Practice natural vision healing techniques, such as those pioneered by Dr. William Bates. Ran Prieur has done a lot of work on this with significant results, but his progress has taken quite a while and he still has a long way to go before he could discard his glasses altogether. I have heard and read some encouraging testimonials as to the effectiveness of healing your eyes, but I have also seen at least two accounts of case studies showing no improvement in vision tests from months of eye excercises, even when the subject felt his or eye eyesight had improved. All in all, I feel reluctant to depend on healing my eyes back to normal vision with no backup plan.
  4. Eye surgery such as Lasik or PRK. I really like the idea of walking in with my current crappy vision and walking out with normal vision. The pricetag (maybe $1000-$3000 range for both eyes?) definitely crimps my excitement. Most of all, my uncertainty as to the long term effects of eye surgery scare me off from wanting to try it. Doctors have only been performing these surgeries for 20 years, so no one knows what happens 30, 40, 50 years down the line. I fear some unexpected side effect that leaves my vision in worse shape than if I'd never had them cut open my eyes, or chronic dry-eye or something even more painful.
  5. Stockpile glasses! Ran Prieur mentioned Zenni Optical, an online store which sells complete glasses (frames & prescription lenses with UV protection and anti-scratch coating) starting at $8, plus a $5 flat shipping cost.
I expect to follow a strategy combining #3 and #5. I will experiment with eye excercises to see whether I can improve my vision, and I'll probably order a bunch of glasses. For $165 I could get 20 pairs of glasses with a wide range of prescription strengths from weaker to stronger than my current need. I can stash glasses in multiple places so that if a disaster breaks, burns, or buries one stash I'll still have others available. Ideally I'll find a frame that meets my normal frame needs (basically lenses as big as possible so I don't lose much of my peripheral vision but still attractive for Theressa to look at), plus has interchangeable left and right lenses. I'll order that frame for all the pairs, and have even more options for mixing and matching lenses to customize my glasses for years to come! Basically I'll have (say) 20 frames and 40 lenses to use, mix up, cannibalize for parts, and so on.


Corum said...

Scrub, i wanted to ask this for a while, are you going to practice with weapons too?
If your tribe is going to be the only ones with food in the area, or even if you are going to have just more comfortable lives than other people... you sure as hell will need to defend your way of life.

rich said...

Hi Norris

My dad had radial keratonomy (knives, not lasers) about 30 years ago, and swears that it was the best thing he'd ever done. It's still holding out nicely for him, too. He's a pilot, so seeing without frames messing up his peripheral vision was a big deal to him. Getting over the whole "you're going to cut me where?!?!?!" thing would take some getting used to, though.


Anonymous said...

i posted this over here about a post-collapse vision related thing:
"don't know if this really works but i found this:
Pinhole goggles/ Survival vision-wear-"

FarmerScrub said...

Hi Rich and hi balsamfir,

Thank you both for your input!

Rich, I hadn't thought about/known about radial keratonomy as a precursor to laser stuff. That makes me feel a bit better about the long-term effects.

balsamfir: awesome pinhole goggles link! Thanks so much for the pointer! I've been acting like a dork on the bus and around town peering through tiny holes between my curled-up finger and my hand, muttering to myself in amazement at how clear I can make things look without my glasses on. So maybe the decreased-light effect explains why squinting can make things look clear too?

And interesting that the forum links to a page describing myopia as another disease of carb-based diets. I hadn't been aware of that link; I had assumed the theory of "too much focusing on close-up stuff" (AKA reading) explained the problem.

Corum, good question! I think I'll write up some thoughts on that as a new post some day soon...


markali52 said...

I think that for most even the basics of survival will be beyond them never mind considering things like poor vision or glasses, there will be many types of lenses available from binoculors, telescopes, digital camera etc so there will always be materials for almost everything to an adaptable person or tribe.

Chariti said...

Look into Bate's Method and Clear Vision Naturally Gene Younger teaches people how to free themselves of glasses - he corrected his myopia in the 80's and has never used glasses since. He teaches in Portland and Vancouver. I've just started with his CD, but it's definitely inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Come on, No Zenni anymore! There are so many online optical stores to choose from. I have bought from most of them.

The greatest deal should be the one from Strongly

recommend it!

Dale Asberry said...

I went with custom Lasik. I don't have the night-time glare problems and I figure that if something happens after the 30 year time frame, it means I'll be dependent on my tribe to protect me. I don't like the possibility, but it is the natural order of things as we age.