The cost of vision loss is staggering. The CDC estimated the direct care cost for older adults with vision impairment in the United States was $8.3 billion in 2006. A 2009 Canadian study placed the annual cost of vision loss at $15.8 billion (direct care costs plus worker productivity losses).
Vision Conservation is a clear Department of Defense priority. There are several eye protection standards which largely depend on the environment and risks faced by the end user. Below is an overview of various eye protection programs of the Services, which embrace applicable standards and requirements (e.g. MIL-SPEC, ASTM, ANSI, OSHA).
US Army: Soldiers receive Military Combat Eye Protection (MCEP) upon initial entry, through a Rapid Fielding Initiative, as part of Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment issued by a Central Issue Facility, through unit supply channels or from self purchase. Only items included on the most current Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL) list are authorized. All APEL items manufactured after NOV 2011 will be marked with the letters "APEL" on the frame. Follow this link to APEL Spectacle and Goggle Fact Sheets.
US Navy: The Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) cannot dictate policy to the fleet, however, medical personnel are authorized APEL items. Operational requirements drive Navy decisions to issue MCEP to Sailors.
US Air Force: Deploying Airmen receive USAF Ballistic Protective Eyewear which is generally limited to current APEL items.
US Marines: Marines are authorized to wear the ESS Crossbow and the ESS Profile NVG.
For the latest Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL), see PEO Soldier Military Combat Eye Protection Page.
DoD Civilians: In general, when prescription or non-prescription safety glasses are required, these are covered by Federal Law, 29 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 1910.132(a) and 29 CFR 1910.133(a)(3) .
OSHA Eye and Face Protection Safety Tips
Deployed DoD Civilians: DODI 1400.32 DOD CIVILIAN WORK FORCE CONTINGENCY AND EMERGENCY PLANNING GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES states:
6.1.3. Civilian employees should be issued, and trained in the use of uniforms, other equipment and the same protective gear as is issued to military personnel in theater, to include lens inserts, if required.