Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Ask the Doc: Eye Need Answers

Image of Senior Airman Mitchel Delfosse, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical environmental system journeyman, attends an eye exam appointment Jan. 30, 2020, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. Maj. (Dr.) Gerardo Robles-Morales, 22nd Operational Medical Readiness Squadron optometry flight commander, recommends an eye exam a minimum of every two years to ensure overall eye health and correct vision. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexi Bosarge). Senior Airman Mitchel Delfosse, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical environmental system journeyman, attends an eye exam appointment Jan. 30, 2020, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. Maj. (Dr.) Gerardo Robles-Morales, 22nd Operational Medical Readiness Squadron optometry flight commander, recommends an eye exam a minimum of every two years to ensure overall eye health and correct vision. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexi Bosarge)

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Ask The Doc

Dear Doc: I consider myself pretty lucky. I'm in my late 20s and I've never had any eye problems to speak of. I have 20/20 vision and I've never worn glasses. But...the Air Force tells me to protect my eyes and I'm not exactly sure what that means.

Do you know anyone who can give me some solid advice on the best options for eye protection? What should I be wearing at work or on the flight line? What should I be wearing out in the sun? I know I have a lot of questions, but I just want to protect myself as best as possible. Thanks in advance, Doc!

-Eye Need Answers

Illustration of a female face with the words "Ask the Doc"

Dear Eye: First, let me say that protecting a service member's eyes is vital to operational readiness and mission success. That being said, e>ye (excuse me, I) reached out to Dr. Michael Pattison at the Vision Center of Excellence here at Defense Health Agency Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, and here are his thoughts:


When performing any task, whether at work, home or play, we are advised to do a risk assessment which includes the determination of whether it is important to wear appropriate eye protection. As an example, on a flight line, you are exposed to flying debris, heat, exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun and, depending on the tasks, other potential risks such as chemical injuries from fuel and other agents.

Each day, about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment, with more than 100 of these injuries resulting in one or more days away from work. In 2019 alone, military personnel reported 9,702 eye injuries according to the Tri-Service Vision Conservation and Readiness Program at the Army Public Health Center.

The most important thing to remember, according to Prevent Blindness America, is that the simple act of wearing proper eye protection can prevent 90 percent of these injuries.

Everyone from commanders to the individual worker have key responsibilities that need to be met to prevent mishaps. The service member, their supervisors and safety personnel must understand the risks by analyzing the job tasks and determine the type of protection required. To determine if there are specific requirements in place at your

site, it is beneficial to start with asking your supervisory and safety personnel about what is required for your position.

>Nonprescription and prescription safety glasses provide eye protection for general working conditions where there is a risk from things like dust, chips or flying materials. In addition, side-shields and goggles, which also protect the eyes from chemicals, can provide additional protection if needed.

When purchasing eye protection, it is important to know that you should only purchase eyewear that have the ANSI Z87.1 logo on them. In addition, the military has the Authorized Protective Eyewear List which are marked "APEL" and should be available from your unit if required or at your local Exchange. APEL approved items meet higher levels of ballistic fragmentation protection and also provide ultraviolet light protection for work outside.


The bottom line is to remember that it only takes one incident to result in loss of vision. Understanding the hazards in your environment at work, home or while playing, and wearing the appropriate eye protection that are in good condition is essential to protecting your eyes and making sure they’re available for you to use for the rest of your life.

Eye, this should help you out, whether you're going through your command or heading to the Exchange for something that might be stylish, but also provides you the maximum protection possible. Keep an eye out for the ANSI Z87.1 and APEL logos and you should be good.

As a doctor, I can't thank you enough for being proactive. As a result, you could very well be preserving that perfect vision of yours for years to come.

Take care (of your eyes) out there!

You also may be interested in...

Ask the Doc: All This Noise is Giving Me Headaches

Article
6/13/2022
Ask the Doc: Noise from ship can cause headaches. Try to give your ears a rest when you can.

Ask the Doc: What is causing all of these headaches?

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Ask The Doc

New Centers Will Deliver Advanced Care for Serious Eye Injuries

Article
4/27/2022
Army Brig. Gen. Katherine Simonson, Defense Health Agency Deputy Assistant Director of the Research and Engineering Directorate, and Dr. Barclay Butler, Assistant Director for Management, DHA, talks with Army Lt. Col. Samantha Rodgers, Ophthalmology chief (left), during a tour and designation ceremony April 19 at the Ocular Trauma Center – San Antonio Region, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The designation ceremony marked the launch of DHA’s first Ocular Trauma Center, comprised of personnel from Brooke Army Medical Center and the 59th Medical Group. (Photo: Larine H. Barr, DOD)

The Defense Health Agency launched the first of four Ocular Trauma Centers, which will become primary hubs for the treatment of complex eye injuries and development of cutting-edge research programs.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Wear Approved Safety Eye Protection, Save Your Vision

Article
3/25/2022
Gunner with 1Brigade Combat Team 82nd Division wears shaded eye protection as he fires his M249 at Rotation 21-05 at the Joint Readiness Training Center. (Photo: Capt. Joseph Warren)

The Tri-Service Vision Conservation and Readiness Branch, or TSVCRB, encourages service members to wear eye protection while at work and at home to prevent eye injuries.

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

Ask the Doc: Can a Concussion Affect Hearing and Vision?

Article
3/16/2022
Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, a physical therapist for the Fort Drum Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clinic, New York, uses a model of the inner ear on Feb. 27, 2019, to demonstrate how a concussion can cause inner ear, or vestibular, damage which may result in dizziness, anxiety, depression, moodiness, balance problems and irritability to name a few. (Photo: Warren W. Wright Jr., Fort Drum MEDDAC)

Even a mild concussion can lead to hearing and vision problems.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Ask The Doc

Data Registry Helps Improve Research and Treatment for Eye Injuries

Article
3/14/2022
Pvt. Second Class Jagger Dixon, treats an eye injury during Expert Infantryman Badge testing, June 15, 2021, at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Dixon is a soldier with B Company; 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. Soldiers must successfully execute a variety of warrior tasks to earn their EIB. (Photo: Army Spc. Kay Edwards, 27th Public Affairs Detachment)

Eye injury registry (DVEIVR) transforms data into usable information to help improve initial warfighter care and rehabilitation.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

Ringing in Your Ears Might Be a Sign of Hearing Loss

Article
3/10/2022
Army Col. Randy Lau fires a 120 mm mortar during a live-fire exercise at Camp Roberts, California, June 15, 2021.

Tinnitus can affect your concentration, reaction time, and short-term memory. It can be linked to anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Some people turn to substance abuse to try to block the sounds.

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

It’s True – Carrots (and Other Vegetables) Can Help You See in the Dark

Article
3/4/2022
Each color in fruits and vegetables indicates an abundance of specific nutrients.

Have you ever heard that carrots are good for your eyes, or that they can help you see in the dark? It’s true – carrots are rich in the compound beta carotene, which your body uses to make a form of vitamin A that helps your eyes adjust in the dark. A shortage of vitamin A can cause a host of health problems, including blindness.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

For Thousands of Troops, Eye Surgery is Key to Vision Readiness

Article
2/10/2022
A surgical team with the Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg monitors the progress of a patient's surgery inside the Ophthalmology Clinic's Refractive Surgery suite.

Helping service members – especially aviators – see clearly without glasses is key to military readiness.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

Researchers Connect with Warfighters to Guide Tech Development

Article
1/25/2022
Military personnel trying an immersive training device

Researchers ‘get out of the clinic’ to learn warfighter challenges

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

Military Laser Eye Surgery: Enhancing Vision Readiness

Article
7/12/2021
Military health personnel looking at wavescan results

Enhancing vision readiness through laser eye surgery is now available at 26 military medical treatment facilities.

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

Mobile hearing test system enables quicker diagnosis, treatment

Article
7/8/2021
Military personnel during a hearing test

Portable device can detect hearing loss in remote areas, clinic settings and beyond.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Vision Care Service Coordinators Support Ocular Care Management

Article
6/24/2021
Military health personnel giving an eye appointment

Vision care service coordinators support eye injury and vision loss patient recovery.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Patients Contribute to Shape Future Hearing Loss Treatment

Article
6/21/2021
Barbara Kelly from the Hearing Loss Association of America hosting a meeting

Patient-focused meeting could lead to improved hearing loss therapies

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing and Balance Injuries | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Cataracts Concern Battle Fighters, the Aging

Article
6/21/2021
A doctor performing cataract surgery

Traumatic cataracts can occur during battlefield injuries, but they are largely avoidable in non-combat situations.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Researchers find key senses impact readiness, survival

Article
6/8/2021
Military personnel in driver and casualty evacuation training

Sound localization is a critical component of situational awareness, or to put it in layman’s terms, knowing what is going on around you

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing and Balance Injuries
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 16, 2021

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.