Vision Conservation and Readiness

 Eye Protection

Last Updated: August 09, 2023

​Service Members should prioritize eye injury prevention on- and off-duty to ensure mission readiness and safeguard their vision. An estimated 90% of eye injuries are considered preventable with proper protective eye wear​.External Link 

Some additional facts: 

  • According to a 2016 JAMA Ophthalmology study there were around 30,000 emergency room visits each year related to sports injuries. The leading sports activities resulting in eye injury were basketball (22.6%), baseball (14.6%), and air gun (11.8%). 

What Type of Eye Protection Should I Use?

It is important to utilize the correct type of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task at hand. According to the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA), types of eye protection devices include: 

  • ​Spectacles. These protective eyeglasses have safety frames constructed with impact-resistant metal or plastic and impact-resistant lenses. Side shields are required. 
  • Goggles. This tight-fitting eye protection completely covers the eyes, eye sockets, and the facial area immediately surrounding the eyes and provide protection from impact, dust, and splashes. Some goggles will fit over corrective lenses. 
  • Welding Shields. Constructed of vulcanized fiber or fiberglass and fitted with a filtered lens, welding shields protect eyes from burns caused by infrared or intense radiant light; they also protect both the eyes and face from flying sparks, metal spatter and slag chips produced during welding, brazing, soldering, and cutting operations. OSHA requires filter lenses to have a shade appropriate to protect against the specific hazards of the work being performed to protect against harmful light radiation. 
  • Laser Eye Protection (LEP). These specialty goggles protect against intense concentrations of light produced by lasers. The type of laser safety goggles an employer chooses will depend upon the equipment and operating conditions in the workplace. 
  • Face Shields. These transparent sheets of plastic extend from the eyebrows to below the chin and across the entire width of the employee’s head. Some are polarized for glare protection. Face shields protect against potential splashes or sprays of hazardous liquids, droplets, and particles but will not provide adequate protection against impact hazards. Face shields used in combination with goggles or safety spectacles will provide additional protection against splash and impact hazards. 

Military Eye Protection 

Eye Protection should provide protection from sun, wind, dust and laser as well as ballistics fragmentation protection. 

Eyewear used on duty must be approved by the Department of Defense or specified Service component. Army and Marine list of approved devices can be found on the Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL) at: 


Read more to learn when to wear protective eyewear both on and off duty​.​External Link​