It’s always rewarding when I perform LASIK and the result is that it makes a tremendous difference in the patient’s job. It’s even more rewarding when the job in question is a matter of life and death.

Many of the people who come to me for LASIK are emergency first responders – police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians. For them and the communities they serve, LASIK can be a critical margin of difference when it really matters.

For most people, eyeglasses and contact lenses are just an inconvenience. But for emergency personnel, eyeglasses and contacts can actually be a hazard. They can interfere with the ability to do the job safely and effectively.

First responders face a variety of situations in which glasses or contacts can be a hindrance or even a danger:

Vigorous activity such as pursuing a suspect. A police officer in pursuit might have to run into underbrush or through challenging landscapes like junkyards where branches and debris can knock glasses askew or damage contacts. Even worse, a first responder can lose his or her glasses during an altercation and have their lives and those they are protecting placed in jeopardy.

Harsh environments such as fire scenes, where smoke, water and small foreign body debris can interfere and create discomfort with contact lenses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns contact lens wearers to be careful with their contacts when at the beach or engaged in water sports. Conditions for firefighters are even more difficult.

Routine physically demanding work such as lifting and moving patients, where eyeglasses and even contacts can be displaced. Sweating into contact lenses isn’t dangerous but can be distracting, which is a problem for any worker and especially so when the work is critically important to someone’s health or safety.

If your work is literally a matter of life and death, and if eyeglasses or contacts are hard for you to manage, LASIK is very much worth investigating.