Operational Eyewear - What they do and corrective lenses

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by kitmonster, Jul 1, 2008.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I know you like your civi specs but.....

    The current range of Ballistic Eyewear consists of the Lightweight Ballistic Protection (looks like wrap around sunglasses) and the medium weight ballistic protection (small goggles). Both are designed to stop shrapnel and debris kicked up during operations. For normal use the sunglasses give a reasonable amount of protection and when things look like they are getting nasty stick them in your pocket and slide the goggles down off your helmet. The protection of the goggles is higher ballistically but both give 100% protection against UV.

    Currently they are both provided by the US Company ESS (Ice 2.4 and Advancer respectively). More info on their site at http://www.esseyepro.com/index.html.

    Both are provided with 3 interchangeable lenses. Clear for normal and low light, tinted for bright sunlight and yellow for flat light (Dawn and dusk). The yellow lens may change to a 'coral' colour (reddish to you and we but we can't issue rose tinted specs can we!) This may improve the recognition of certain shades of green.

    The extras in the packs include stickers, straps, covers etc. All are designed to encourage people to wear them. Unless you are an expert in technical specifications then you will not be able to compare the claims of rival manufactures. Needless to say if you are wearing a knock of set from a local Afgan shop then take a final good look at a picture of the kids or girlfriend. In an incident in which the issued stuff would have saved your sight the shop bought stuff may or will shatter and blind you. Scars in the bar are good for bragging but blindness is not. Nuf said.

    Despite a simple system some people still manage to deploy without corrective lenses for the issued ballistic eyewear.

    This rest of this sticky sets out the procedure and explains what happens in real life.

    Corrective lenses. Simple......

    Get the QM to order the unfortunately named 'Vice RX Kit. NSN 8465 99 318 7191. This contains the dummy lenses and the 2 clips which make the same set of corrective lenses fit into either one of the protective eyewear. Picture below.....Don't wait for them to arrive.


    Go to your Med Centre and get a form FMED 79. Ring up your local optician (check with the Med Centre who they have a contract with; here its spec savers.)

    Get your eye test done and then take the form back to the Med Centre. On the form you can tick Respirator lenses, glasses etc. The one you are worried about is goggles. The key measurement (apart from presumably the fact that you need magnification?) is the PD measurement (pupil distance)

    When the lenses come back fit them into RX inserts, freshly issued from the QMs, and fit them to either of the protective eyewear systems.

    Some Facts:

    The normal lens issued is fine for most people.

    Although there are not specific boxes for bi or Vari-focal lenses the FMED 79 has a box that can be filled out and the necessary sections and space to allow the optician to state the requirement for bi or varifocal lenses. I have checked with the manufacture of the lenses, its currently a specialist firm in West Sussex, and they do make them and have done so.

    However they also pointed out some why vari-focal's are not a good idea. Vari-focals gradually increase\decrease the magnification which stops the need for the traditional bi-focal line seen in those type of glasses. It also obviously stops sudden switch from the reading bit to the distance bit of the lens (its also classed as being more fashionable, but that wouldn't mean anything to a tough and battle hardened solder like you would it!!)

    The trouble is that vari-focals need to be aligned with the wearers eyes very accurately. So a slight movement in the way the eyewear is being worn will shift the magnified bit away from where its needed to where its not. The smart money is tells me that in an active environment vari-focals are definitely not recommended as any knock will make the wearers sight even worse than wearing no glasses at all.

    The corrective lenses are made from toughened plastic and conform to CR 39. Whats CR 39? Wiki says:

    'CR-39 is transparent in visible spectrum and is almost completely opaque in the ultraviolet range. It has high abrasion resistance, in fact the highest abrasion/scratch resistance of any uncoated optical plastic. CR-39 is about half the weight of glass and index of refraction only slightly lower than that of crown glass, making it an advantageous material for eyeglasses and sunglasses lenses. A wide range of colors can be achieved by dyeing of the surface or the bulk of the material. CR-39 is also resistant to most of solvents and other chemicals, to gamma radiation, to aging, and to material fatigue. It can withstand the small hot sparks from welding. It can be used continuously in temperatures up to 100 °C and up to one hour in 130 °C'

    In short getting a set knocked up at the local opticians because you can't be arsed to put the paperwork in may get you a dangerous piece of plastic (or worse still expensive glass) sitting over your delicate eyes.

    The manufacture regularly turns the corrective lenses around in a single day if required. If its taking months then its your unit or the Med Centre so kick up a fuss.

    If your in theatre now and reading this get down to the Med Centre and get it sorted by post.
  2. My eyes must be bad - I can't see the picture.

    Two questions:

    Are these available to everybody?

    Can these be obtained civvy-wise? I could do with some for work.
  3. I'm still working out how to get the picture in the message!

    Only available to the lucky few (thousands) on current ops

    Available through any good outlet but a massive overkill for work. Know anyone who has just come back from a sunshine tour?

    PECOC will deliver a similar (if not the same) eyewear system to all.
  4. Thanks very much for that! I didn't know anything about these before, very helpful
  5. Kitmonster, just a quick one, mine came with the clips, I didn't have to order them separately.

    Are they going to start issuing two sets as swapping the clips is fiddly?
  6. Thats right the clips come with the RX Vice pack. A replacement nose guard for the Lightweight protections and some complicated looking star shaped affair for the Advancers.

    If you mean can I get two sets of corrective lens then not officially. The extra cost would have to be justified by a user requirement that said that the time taken to shift the corrective lenses from one pair to another was unacceptable; as of today no one has said its an issue so there is no will \cash for a double issue.

    If you don't agree then complain up the chain as this type of change only occurs from the bottom up not the top down.
  7. I'm looking at Revision Eyewear stuff for Mountain biking and for when I'm in the forces. If I was to buy them would I be permitted to wear them on ops as they have a stock number and are NATO approved.
  8. Sorry, I didn't make my self clear, the clips came with the lens and the nose piece already fitted. I didn't have to order the RX Vice pack.
  9. NATO approved just means to a minimum standard and tested using a test regime recognised by NATO. For example all body Armour is tested using a NATO standard specified in STANAG 2920. It does not mean that it performs as well as that being procured by the UK. Normally the UK will adopt the NATO standards as a minimum spec but recognise that this represents what can be agreed by all the nations and demand a higher spec.

    So eyewear that meets the NATO standard means that it performs to a level that all nations feel they could sign up to. If that minimum is set by a small eastern European NATO nation who doesn't want the spec set too high as it would commit them to funds they don't have, it gets ratified as the baseline; not what's acceptable to individual nations. Getting a NSN means nothing; you could get an NSN for a dog turd if you applied through the correct channels.

    That's the long answer! The short answer is that Revision are a good Company that make eyewear to different specs; how would you, and your Commander who is responsible for seeing that you are correctly equipped, know its as good as the issued kit? When the specifications change and the op black bag and issue eyewear is updated how would you know that your Revision eyewear is still as good as the latest issue?

    Anyway the eyewear is trashed after a 6 month tour due to the harsh environmental conditions; why trash your own stuff?

    As I have already said the eyewear contract will soon come back up for tender and amongst the many manufacturers interested I can guarantee that ESS, Wiley X and Revision will bid. Wait out and you might get them anyway!
  10. It will have been demanded by the QMs and passed to the Med Centre or by the Med Centre direct. I have checked the operational kit list and it definitely on it under the NSN I said. You must have good unit QM!
  11. If mobilising through RTMC, take a copy of your prescription and fill in a form at the front desk of the med centre. They wont give it to you automatically.

    edited to add: 3 weeks later got through the letter box a pack with new S10 lenses, a lovely pair of glasses and the protective eyewear lenses already in their 'vice set'
  12. Anyone got a set of these inserts that they don't want? I can't find any on ebay and sounds like it would be ideal to get hold of to replace civy specs on exercise. Already got the Ice glasses so just looking for the insert.
  13. Apologies for dragging this thread up, but was wondering if anybody has the date of the latest FMed 79? Off on HERRICK and need lenses for goggles but the FMed 79 I have been given has no choice for goggles on the back only respirator, glasses etc… Was wondering if a new one has been issued.
  14. I scrawled across it 'Inserts for ballistic glasses/goggles'.

    And recieved Joe 90, S10 and the inserts.

    As soon as you get to theatre say they were lost and get a second set for the glasses.

    (And Joe 90, S10 and the inserts.)

    This saves faffing around changing to and fro between the two. The lightweight metal can bend alarmingly when you try to fiddle them in and out of the clips.

    Oh, and leaving camp? Wear them. Always. No matter how gay you look. At least you will still be able to see your gayness on tour photos later in life and cringe.
  15. 10 out of 10 for the ESS Ice ballistic glasses. i'm short sighted so with the corrective perscription lenses they are a godsend. i can wear them all day out here in theatre without danger of them falling off and breaking, due to the headstrap. the issue def specs are really geeky looking and my civiy glasses cost money! as long as the corrective lenses inside stay unbroken, i can exchange the ESS glasses at the qm's - great!
    as a mover (yeah, incoming awaited!) i have to drive a variety of vehicles at short notice aswell as do loads of manual lifting, being able to keep these glasses on and secure all day saves loads of time when getting into a wagon.
    had a bit of a mare mindyou getting the insert lenses, sodding crab med centre's! had to get them flown out to me a month after i deployed!

    couple of questions kitmonster:
    1. can i get a replacement ESS cleaning cloth from the qm's? (as the suppled one is getting a little dirty now)
    2. could i exchange the clear, tinted or yellow lenses if they get scratched at the qm's store or would i have to exchange the full ess ice kit?

    cheers for your reply in advance mate. and a version of the excellent ess glasses issued to all with pecoc would be superb, especially to those of use who have to wear corrective glasses.