I’ve recently attended a conference on Ocular Trauma where Dimitri Yellachich spoke about Trauma on the Battlefield.
During the Crimean war eye injuries made up 0.6% of total injuries. Back in those days the battles were fought at close range. Soldiers wore a lot of protective gear.
In the Iraq war eye injuries made up 13% of total injuries. Now the eye is only 1% of the body so you’d be tempted to think that the eye would attract 1% of the injuries.
Modern war is fought with highly destructive weapons and the fighting is conducted from a greater distance. Soldiers tend not to wear their protective gear, mostly because they consider it uncool. Safety glasses can be uncomfortable and condensation and dust can sometimes interfere with vision.
Dimitri showed a slide of a pair of safety glasses that had been penitrated but had greatly reduced the trauma to the eye.
He explained to us that a study of eye injuries in the Vietnam war had shown that 40% would have been prevented or at least lessened had the soldier been wearing safety glasses.
My mother proudly displayed the slogan ” Smart weapons stupid people! ” across the back of her truck during the Iraq war. There is no indication that the smart weapons are getting any less destructive and people don’t appear to be getting any brighter.
Dimitri’s talk was enlightening and I hope his message gets through to the right people. Safety glasses may be uncool but there is a reason they are issued to soldiers.