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Protective eyewear is a battlefield essential ? it?s not a choice

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Revision Eyewear
: 30 July, 2008  (Application Story)
Eye protection has not been top of the agenda when it comes to the safety of soldiers undergoing military operations. Most recently, the need to improve the protective capabilities of body armour has taken priority and consequently, eye damage has accounted for an ever-greater proportion of the injuries suffered by soldiers during combat. This has led to an increasing awareness of the importance of eye protection.
The London based international sales manager at Canadian manufacturer, Revision Eyewear, Alex Hooper, believes that the US move to providing protective eyewear as a personal issue to all new recruits and established troops going into training is the way forward. “There is reluctance among British troops to wear their protective glasses or goggles on operations,” he said.

“It’s a mix of familiarity and comfort wearing the product and the traditional sergeant majors attitude towards wearing sunglasses in uniform. Yet it’s crucial for everyone to wear eye protection, Soldiers are just not accustomed to them.

“Our people get sent to Iraq or Afghanistan having never worn a pair of protective glasses before, so they then have to develop new habits and new drills, operating with them on and feeling comfortable doing so. As improvised explosive devices become more common it becomes increasingly important that troops wear their eye protection as a matter of course.”

Hooper highlights the seriousness of the situation, citing figures indicating that 16 percent of all casualties evacuated from Iraq had eye injuries, accounting for 13 percent of all life-threatening wounds. “Statistics show that a high proportion of battlefield injuries could have been avoided by wearing suitable protective eyewear,” he said.

Revision Eyewear has provided the U.S. Army with over 175,000 sets of the Revision Sawfly™ Military Eyewear and these protective glasses are used in the Army’s Training Base Eye Protection Programme. All new recruits wear Revision eyewear during training to protect their eyes and to familiarise them with routinely wearing protective eyewear.

Hooper added: “The US Army is now taking eye safety particularly seriously and we are delighted that we have been able to help them with their eye protection programme. Like the Americans, we have to ensure that our combat troops do not find that wearing eyewear is a distraction when they become operational and need them most.”

With technology currently under development, there is every possibility that Revision eyewear may soon be able to protect soldiers against laser targeting equipment, with a lens that protects against three different laser frequencies. With this new technology Hooper claims that soldiers will be able to change the colour of the lens with the touch of a button. The company is also developing protective visors which can be worn with issue Kevlar helmets.

Revision has also launched the new Hellfly range of protective sunglasses which have a more fashionable 'civvy' look to help make protective eyewear acceptable to soldiers and law enforcement officers who require enhanced eye protection.

More than half a million sets of the Revision Sawfly Spectacle System, which include clear, solar and high contrast lenses, have now been fielded around the world. Soldier feedback has been universally positive on the eyewear performance, especially in combat situations where these glasses have demonstrably saved soldiers’ eyesight.
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