2014-03-28 / Community Events

Avoid low vision:

Wear your military combat eye protection
By Wesley Elliott
DDEAMC Public Affairs

February is Low Vision Awareness Month which was created to bring awareness to “low vision” which describes a vision deterioration that is not fully correctable by lenses, surgery or medication.

In the United States the leading cause of vision loss for people over the age of 50 is age-related macular degeneration but other causes include glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, albinism, some birth-related conditions and trauma.

Doctors can assist low vision patients by prescribing and training them to use magnifiers, prisms and automated reading and writing devices which help them maximize their existing vision or by using other senses such as hearing and touch.

Roughly 92 percent of Army personnel are under the age of 40, so the more immediate low vision concern is from trauma.

An eye injury can occur instantly and the injury may cause permanent loss of vision but unlike AMD, glaucoma and cataracts, trauma can be prevented through basic safety precautions.

The Army Public Health Command says the best way to preserve your vision is to protect it.

Much like how Soldiers can drastically reduce the risk of certain conditions such as diabetes through a good diet and exercise, they can also reduce the risk of cataracts by wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet light, or by limiting exposure to it.

Soldiers can also avoid most eye injuries by using appropriate eye protection at work, home and during recreational activities.

Prevent Blindness America estimates that 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable simply with the use of proper protective equipment.

Current Military Combat Eye Protection devices represent over 50 years of research and development and all that work becomes useless when a Soldier suffers an eye injury because they were not wearing the proper protection.

The Approved Protective Eyewear List shows the tested and approved MCEP devices and may be viewed at: https://peosoldier.army. mil/equipment/eyewear/.

The eyewear on the APEL meets and goes beyond the impact requirements for standard industrial safety glasses by four to six times, depending on whether the eyewear is a spectacle or a goggle.

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