Skip to main content

Military Health System

Wear Approved Safety Eye Protection, Save Your Vision

Image of 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). 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)

Recommended Content:

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

Many people take their vision for granted, but most also recognize the increased likeliness of declining vision and vision loss as they age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies the leading causes of vision loss as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. 

While routine eye exams and healthy habits can help reduce the risks or severity of age-related vision loss, the possibility of injury or trauma to the eye can happen at any age. Eye injuries can range from scratches to more permanent vision loss. 

Each year thousands of active-duty military personnel injure their eyes. Eye injuries can result in both short- and potential long-term effects on vision, and have mission impacts. 

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. 

“It’s important for service members to recognize that any eye injury can adversely impact their performance and operational readiness, so it is essential to continuously enforce eye protection and workplace safety,” says Cmdr. Hong Gao, a Navy optometrist working with the Army Public Health Center TSVCRB. 

In field training and combat activities, eye hazards range from fragmenting munitions and other airborne debris, to invisible hazards such as ultraviolet radiation. 

The most common work-related eye injury, according to TSVCRB experts, is from small foreign body metal pieces that come from cutting, grinding or explosions. These and other eye injuries can be prevented with workplace inspections and wearing proper safety eyewear. 

Military commanders and safety officers are required to assess local work and training conditions to determine if and what types of eye protection are needed. Local vision conservation and readiness teams, which ideally should include safety, industrial hygiene, occupational health and optometry members, can inspect a work environment for ocular hazards or risks and give recommendations. 

To ensure proper safety eyewear, service members are to use Military Combat Eye Protection. The MCEP, which includes the Army Protective Eyewear List, actually includes a list of various safety eyewear that have been approved by military eye experts for workplace and combat uses. Safety eyewear in the MCEP not only meet national criteria specified by the American National Standards Institute, but additional requirements to ensure maximum protection for military service members. 

It’s important to note that just ensuring the best eye protection is used in military activities and the workplace isn’t enough. 

During the pandemic, many service members have been working from home or working on more home projects where eye protection is advised (e.g. mowing lawn, weed trimming, working under sinks and painting). While prescriptive glasses or sunglasses offer some level of eye protection (e.g. falling debris), it is best to use specific certified safety glasses to ensure the highest level of eye protection. According to the TSVCRB, the best safety glasses should have an ANSI z87.1 label on them. 

Certain sports, such as basketball, paintball, lacrosse and boxing, are also high risk activities for eye injuries among service members. 

“I have found most acute eye injuries are from finger strikes to the eye,” says Lt. Col. Terryl Aitken, one of the Army optometrists at TSVCRB. “Many of these occurred during basketball, and could have been prevented if the individual was wearing eye protection.” 

Aitken says the other very common cause of finger strike eye injuries is when a baby or child’s finger or toy hits a parent’s eye. Though these may be less feasible to prevent with eye protection, just being alert to these common hazards can help with avoiding them. 

Organizations and programs such as MCEP and local vision conservation teams help to protect the vision and ensure the mission readiness of soldiers. But a service member should maximize the Department of Defense’s efforts to reduce associated eye-injuries by assessing their personal activities for eye hazards and choosing suitable eye protection. The International Safety Equipment Association provides a selection guide to assist. 

General eye protection tips are provided below: 

  • If it’s a chemical environment, wear proper chemical safety goggles rated for the chemical hazard (e.g., working on your car battery).
  • If it’s an impact environment, wear proper safety eyewear or goggles rated ANSI z87.1 or greater (MCEP/APEL approved eye protection), examples include grinding metal or working underneath a car. 
  • Be a role model for safety glasses or goggle use. 

The Army Public Health Center focuses on promoting healthy people, communities, animals and workplaces through the prevention of disease, injury and disability of Soldiers, military retirees, their families, veterans, Army civilian employees, and animals through population-based monitoring, investigations, and technical consultations.

You also may be interested in...

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

Caring for Recruits' Injuries is Key to Success at Basic Training

Article
2/23/2022
U.S. Marines wait for instruction from their Senior Drill Instructor after concluding a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, on March 11, 2021.

Injuries at bootcamp can end a military career before it starts. That’s why trainers and drill instructors take countless precautions to ensure trainees stay fit and healthy.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Readiness Capabilities | Injury Prevention

BIAM Vision and Hearing

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM Vision and Hearing

Vision and hearing are vital senses for effective communication and situational awareness. To defend yourself against injury and maintain mission readiness, wear the proper vision and hearing protection while on and off duty. Find the latest vision and hearing protection recommendations here: • Vision: https://vce.health.mil/Eye-Injury-Prevention-and-Response/Eye-Protection • Hearing: https://hearing.health.mil/Prevention/Evaluated-Hearing-Protection-Devices #BIAMonth #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

World Hearing Day

Infographic
2/15/2022
World Hearing Day

Noise-induced hearing loss from exposure to hazardous noise on and off duty is the most common type of hearing injury for service members. You can protect your hearing for a lifetime by wearing hearing protection. #WorldHearingDay #HearingHealth #SafeListening https://hearing.health.mil/Prevention/Hearing-Protection-Devices

Recommended Content:

March | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

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

Why Today’s ‘Gen Z’ is at Risk for Boot Camp Injuries

Article
2/8/2022
Military personnel during boot camp

Today’s military recruits are more likely than ever to sustain a serious injury at their initial military training. Here’re some tips for how to prepare before shipping out.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Readiness Capabilities | Injury Prevention

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

Tackling Concussions: NCAA-DOD CARE Consortium Battles Brain Injuries

Article
1/6/2022
Naval Academy football team runs onto the field

Dr. Paul Pasquina and Dr. Terry Rauch recently discussed the NCAA-DOD Concussion Assessment, Research and Education (CARE) Consortium, the largest concussion and repetitive head impact study in history, on the NCAA’s “Social Series.”

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Medical Research and Development | Injury Prevention

Hearing Center of Excellence: Ear Protection

Video
10/26/2021
Hearing Center of Excellence: Ear Protection

Tips for protecting your hearing using the proper protection.

Recommended Content:

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

No More Suck It Up and Press on -- Preventing Injury is Hard Science

Article
10/18/2021
Military personnel working on a crane

The best way to reduce work related musculoskeletal injury risk factors is through using tools like dollies, carts, lifts, and power tools.

Recommended Content:

Injury Prevention and Occupational Health | Injury Prevention

Top Medical Workplace Injuries – And Some Tips to Prevent Them

Article
10/15/2021
Military personnel getting an N95

Occupational Hazards for Health Care Workers: Advice from the Experts

Recommended Content:

Injury Prevention and Occupational Health | Injury Prevention

Hearing Connects Us to the World; Protecting Your Hearing Matters

Article
10/5/2021
Audiology - Hearing Loss Prevention and Hearing Protection

Hearing Center of Excellence duo talks about the importance of hearing health and protection both on and off duty.

Recommended Content:

Hearing Center of Excellence

Occupational Safety

Video
9/24/2021
Occupational Safety

Occupational Safety. It is everyone's responsibility to be aware and take care of yourself when it comes to workplace environments. Whether you work from home, in a hospital or clinic, or are out in the field, take precautions and preventive measures to ensure your welfare to be able to continue to serve our beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Injury Prevention and Occupational Health | Injury Prevention

How Good Diet and Exercise Prevent Injury and Disease

Article
8/30/2021
Photo of group doing pushups.

A proper diet and exercise regimen can ward off disease and aid in maintaining your health.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Injury Prevention | Nutritional Fitness

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
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 4
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 15, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery