Wartime Injuries Spark Medical Advances in Eye Care

Some great technology in eye care has been developed as a result of treating injured servicemen and servicewomen in the American Armed Forces druing the past 150 years.

Many soldiers in WWI, WWII, the Korean conflict and Vietnam lost their vision because of eye trauma, severe head trauma (and resulting retinal detachments) and infections due in part to unsanitary conditions.  These incidents  provided  motivation for the military medical community to improve our soldiers’ medical care and outcomes. Some of the first known wartime medical innovations in the areas of facial reconstruction and traumatic cataract extraction occurred as a result of injuries in the Civil War.

The severity of wartime injuries also inspired the manufacture of better protective body gear, helmets and protective eyewear. Many of these innovations have been built upon and improved over the years.  Military personnel have a higher risk of eye injuries, and products have evolved to improve protection.  In the past several years, companies such as Oakley have created a ballistics grade sunglass lens that can prevent major eye/facial trauma. Some soldiers have credited them with actually saving their lives!

Written by Bart W., Technician with Milwaukee Eyecare Associates