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Supporting the troops one laser eye surgery at a time

Soldiers who suffer from vision problems often opt for contact lenses over glasses. Glasses can fog up or fall off in battle. They cause problems when used in conjunction with gas masks and night-vision goggles. A soldier who loses his glasses can be, at best, merely blinded or, at worst, a liability to himself and others. It has even been reported that eyeglasses often hurt the ability of a soldier to fire his weapon with complete accuracy.

Contact lenses are nearly as bad. They can cause corneal ulcers and other infections. On patrol there's no time to stop, take out their contacts, keep them free of grime and dust or dip them in cleaning solution. Day after day, the troops are out there humping it over the dry and dusty dunes. They haven’t the time for proper maintenance of their contact lenses. Also, what happens if a lens falls out? Away from base, these soldiers may have no way to replace a lost lens.

Many of us may remember that Far Side cartoon where the nomad is trying to replace his contact lens during a sandstorm. That cartoon doesn’t seem quite so absurd any more.

Nearly one third of the United States army suffers from vision problems, and many soldiers are choosing because it might save their lives. The United States military has approved and treated over 35,000 troops who elected to get laser eye surgery. The army plans to see over 10,000 troops this year alone. Those who are being deployed into combat zones are being moved ahead in the line in order to be completely combat ready by the time they ship out.

Military doctors studied soldiers who had received laser eye surgery. The doctors discovered that over ninety percent of the soldiers who received laser eye surgery were more confident, felt that they were better solders and believed that the chances of a successful mission had increased.

Laser eye surgery usually costs somewhere between two-thousand to the four-thousand dollars, but soldiers receive the surgery for free from the United States government.

Soldiers, who are fighting for our country, are able to do so more comfortably and efficiently. Their lives are perilous enough. Laser eye surgery is one more advantage our troops can take with them while hustling through a hostile land. Their eyes, their senses sharpened, keeping themselves and their comrades safe. It is a small boon in such hazardous times.

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