Now that military personnel are permitted to undergo LASIK eye surgery, troops can react more quickly on the battlefield.
As an arson investigator for the Indianapolis Fire Department, Lance Langsford needed a keen eye. As a lieutenant colonel for the Indiana National Guard, he needed the same sharp vision.
Wearing glasses is a definite challenge in the sandy, dusty Middle East.
"You sweat a lot and so it was very difficult -- not just with glasses, but also with the contact lens," Langsford said
Contacts were difficult during long desert missions. If they didn't scratch his eyes, they'd pop out.
"Replacements were just additional equipment that you had to maintain," Langsford said.
So, to maintain his eyesight, Langsford got LASIK -- laser eye surgery once prohibited by the military because of concerns it could weaken eyes.
But now that the Pentagon has changed its stance, thousands of U.S. soldiers are waiting their turn.
Indianapolis Dr. Anthony Lombardo is performing LASIK on more troops than ever before.
"The quality of vision is improved over glasses or contact lens. There are subtle parameters that we follow regarding quality of vision that's very important to the military and important to the soldiers in the military," Lombardo said.
There's a chance Langsford will be deployed again to either Iraq or Afghanistan. If he is, vision is just one less thing to worry about.
"It's going to be a lot less stress, less worry, less concern and I'll be able to focus more on my mission and task at hand," Langsford said.
Improvements in LASIK procedures have also helped troops' vision on night missions -- lessening halos and glare.
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