Support our mission

Military medical officials in Iraq are reminding troops that not all “ballistic eyewear” provides the same protection, and some styles might pose more danger than defense.

In fact, some brands have been banned by the military because they do not pass safety tests.

“Soldiers are buying a lot of commercial combat eye protection, and they’re not aware that some of it is not approved,” U.S. Army Capt. Joy Schmalzle, chief of optical fabrication for the 32nd Multi Functional Medical Battalion at Logistic Support Anaconda, said in a military news release.

“We’re seeing an increase in combat-related eye injuries because of this.”

Military officials say a recent study by the Office of the Surgeon General found that 10 percent of battlefield casualties involved eye injuries.

“It is imperative that commanders ensure the wear of the protective eyewear whenever engaging in field tactical operations, training, or situations where there is a risk of combat,” the study reads.

A list of approved ballistic eyewear can be found at, officials said.

One of the biggest problems is with “optical inserts,” corrective lenses that are inserted inside the ballistic eyewear.

For example, if someone uses inserts with the popular Wiley-X glasses, the inserts can shatter even if the outer lens does not.

The Oakley SI series is another brand that cannot be worn with optical inserts.

Among the brands that can be used with inserts are the the Body Specs Pistol Kit and Revision Sawfly USA Military Kit.


stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up