The Vision Center of Excellence (VCE) mission is to lead and advocate for programs and initiatives to improve vision health, optimize readiness and enhance quality of life for Service members and Veterans.

October is Eye Injury Prevention Month, and the VCE encourages you to focus on protecting your precious sense of sight. This includes proactive wearing of eye protection and knowing how to respond to an eye injury so sight can possibly be saved. The following resources will help you this month and all year long.

Shields Save Sight Shields Save Sight
  • Need a reason to shield for sight? Check out our infographic
  • Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD/HA) Signs “Treatment of Traumatic Eye Injuries” Memorandum
  • Do you know how to treat an eye injury? Learn how in our podcast
  • Spread the word on shielding for sight and responding to injuries with these factsheets

Old Guard soldier taking a shot at EIB.

During the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) conflicts, eye injuries have accounted for approximately 15 percent of all battlefield traumas.

One slice of an MRI-type brain scan with various parts of the brain coded in different colors.

The DoD Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center notes the total number of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) visual disturbances was 37,376.

Two soldiers on a truck; one looking through binoculars and one looking through gun

In 2012, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts in Afghanistan caused 78 percent of all battle injuries. In Iraq, the same blasts caused 84 percent of all eye injuries.

Military eye professional giving exam to soildier.

The VA found that 2,593 enrolled Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) had disorders of the optic nerve and visual pathways related to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Three service members standing next to each other, all wearing protective eyewear from the Approved Protective Eyewear list (APEL).

Serious combat eye trauma from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom was the second most common injury and trails only hearing loss.

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