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Battlefield Protection: Seeing is Believing

By May 16, 2006No Comments

MOSUL, IRAQ – February 28, 2006 – 1st Lt. Anthony Aguilar, Infantry Platoon Leader assigned to B Company, Task Force2-1 Infantry, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, boarded his Stryker armored vehicle for another day of another patrol.

But this patrol was far from ordinary. “Our patrol was struck by a massive IED, launching shrapnel and debris at high velocities toward the vehicle,” Lt. Aguilar recounted. “I was thrown into the hull of the Stryker and later discovered that my eye-pro, the ‘Sawfly’ yellow tinted lenses, prevented a shard of shrapnel from contacting my face, saving my eyesight and preventing serious injury. The shrapnel punctured the lens, but did not penetrate. The shrapnel was large enough to dislodge the eyewear from my face and force me into the vehicle. I wore the glasses the rest of the patrol, confident they could still do the job.”

Lt. Aguilar is one of the lucky ones. With all the media attention on body armor, very little has been said about eye protection. A soldier’s visual acuity is the most important tool in his arsenal of weapons. Yet, the rate of battlefield eye injuries has risen to 16% due to increased firepower and explosives in a largely urban setting. Add to that, environmental elements such as wind, sand and debris. Although the eye occupies less than half of a percent of the overall body surface, there is nothing to prevent the smallest bit of debris from penetrating the soft tissue. Add the high velocities of shrapnel and you have easy access to the brain and probable death. Over 90% of all battlefield eye injuries can be prevented. Why aren’t more of these injuries prevented?

Have you ever visited a plant or facility and are required to don a pair of safety glasses for the tour? Feel a little dizzy when it’s over? Notice the employees either quickly reaching for their glasses when management approaches or are wearing their own version of “eyewear protection”. I too, have to plead “mea culpa” since I find most shooting glasses hurt after a time or distort my vision (excuse #242 why I missed that shot) and I am more likely to wear my stylish sunglasses, which offer, mind you, NO PROTECTION! Most people, including soldiers, do not know the value of eye protection.

So, what are our soldiers looking for in eye protection? Protection. Comfort. Full-view Vision. Interchangeable Lenses. Prescription ready. And last, but certainly not least, a “coolness” factor.

Here’s where Lt. Aguilar made the right choice in eyewear protection. He chose the Sawfly Military Eyewear System from Revision Eyewear Ltd. because the Sawfly fit the bill in protection, comfort, full-view vision, interchangeable lenses and looks great. But on February 28, 2006 on a clear day in Mosul, did he care that the Sawfly was on the US Army Eyewear list for US Soldiers, or that the Sawfly has received the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) certification (Z87.1-2003) that stipulates that eyewear must resist a one gram steel pellet fired at a velocity of 150 ft/second? Did he care that in an independent test by the Munitions Experimental Test Centre in 2004 the Sawfly lens successfully resisted the one gram steel pellet fired at a velocity of 905 ft/second?

You bet he did.

For more information on Revision Eyewear Ltd. and their family of ballistic eyewear protection: the Sawfly Military Eyewear System, the Bullet Ant Tactical Goggle and the new Desert Locust Goggle, log on to http://www.revisioneyewear.com/ or drop me a comment.

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