Ballistic Eye Protection: Why Are Soldiers Reluctant to Use Them?

Orly Weinstein, Yossi Mandel, Jaime Levy, Tova Lifshitz, Avi Yitzhak, Muhammad Abu Tailakh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction The Israel Defense Forces (IDF), as well as many other armies, faces major challenges in balancing the need to protect soldiers from harm while not impeding their ability to fight. Eye protections available in the IDF are underused, for reasons that are as yet unclear. In this study, we aim to gain a better understanding of the influence of eye protection currently in use in the IDF on vision. Materials and Methods In this cross-sectional study, subjects were assessed for best corrected visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and binocular visual fields (Goldmann) in a crossover design (with and without eye protection). In addition, we established a comprehensive review on the subjective faults of the eye protection, both from personal experiences of soldiers who used them during their military service and from civilian volunteers who used them in a sterile laboratory setting. Results Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and visual fields with and without the eye protection were assessed in 25 subjects. Eye protection did not cause any statistically significant change in visual acuity. However, the eye protection caused a statistically significant decrease in visual fields in all quadrants and in both isopters used. Conclusions Significant restriction of the visual field can pose a major challenge for soldiers on the battlefield. The use of eye protection with wider lenses or no frame should be considered. Education and instruction should focus on increasing awareness among commanders and soldiers of the benefits of eye protection and fostering trust in the technology's capabilities. In parallel, it is crucial to educate soldiers about its disadvantages, and how such disadvantages can be overcome. We stipulate the findings to the standard IDF goggle and might not apply to other designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E211-E216
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume184
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • anti-ballistic eye protection
  • eye armor
  • eye shields
  • eye trauma
  • eyepro
  • polycarbonate
  • prevention
  • soldiers
  • vision

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