Goggles that aren’t so ugly

Blinded by Fashion (12/15/2004 entry)

Strategy Page notes that the Army was prepared for the additional risk of eye injuries due to roadside bombs. But there’s always a ‘but’:

But many of the troops did not like to wear the goggles because, well, the army issue goggles were considered ugly. Moving quickly (for the army anyway), the army switched to a more fashionable brand of goggles. The troops wore them more often, and the number of eye injuries declined.

Where I work, people in the production areas are required to wear safety glasses. They usually didn’t. Individuals would be reprimanded, but that did very little to improve the overall percentage of workers who actually wore their safety glasses. Then the company decided to get cool-looking safety glasses, and suddenly everyone wanted some.

It doesn’t seem to make much sense to me, as I consider being able to see good much more important than looking good. But that’s the way people (in general) work, and it’s important not to lose sight (<< of that. If you make something more enjoyable (or at least less unenjoyable), people are more likely to do it. It doesn’t excuse anyone from failing to follow orders to wear eyegear, but people are people, and will behave like people most of the time.

Saving someone’s eyesight is worth whatever premium had to be paid for “cooler-looking” goggles. Not only to the individual whose eyesight is saved, but to the Army. The individual won’t be out of action, medical bills and/or disability won’t have to be paid, and the mission will be more likely to succeed.

There are limits, of course. But this case seems to be clearly one where buying “cooler” stuff is warranted.


  1. Yeah the additional cost up-front is WEll worth it. It’s like body armour, it’s cost is brutal, but everytime some infantrist walks way sore from a bullet hit, it paid for itself 10 fold. It’s my understanding that thanks to the internet (Someone finds something an the words gets around very quickly.) the Army has been unusually rapid in deploying new equipment this go-around. And when they haven’t, the troups buy it themselves and get it fedex’ed.

  2. Well……..everyone was having a good time until someone got poked in the eye (bad pun alert!)! An excellent anectedote on the essential short sightedness (bad pun red alert! LOL!) of human nature. No one figures it’ll happen to them until it does, and is the same quirk of human nature that produces a disregard of any number of safety devices (motorcycle helmets, seat belts, etc) despite their proven value. The only 2 thing I care about in a goggle is do they seal good and how ballistically tolerant are they! Being stylish is a plus but certainly not worth your sight!