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Free Content Assessment of an Alternative Army Aircrew Eyewear

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BACKGROUND: Currently, Army aircrews needing refractive correction are issued the HGU-4/P aviator spectacles. However, a recently published survey found dissatisfaction with the current spectacle frame. The Aircrew Flight Frame (AFF) has been used by the Air Force for over 14 yr, with the AFF-OP (Operational) style used the longest. The purpose of this study was to evaluate AFF-OP performance and compatibility among U.S. Army aircrew under operational conditions.

METHODS: At 1-, 6-, and 12-wk intervals, 73 Army aircrew members wore the AFF-OP eyewear and completed a Likert scale survey. There were 14 outcome measures surveyed, with the main outcome measure being frame preference.

RESULTS: The AFF-OP was preferred significantly more than the HGU-4/P spectacle. Overall, 94% of aircrew responses preferred the AFF-OP and the three highest subjective reasons for AFF-OP preference were: 1) comfort around the ears without helmet or headset; 2) comfort around the ears with helmet or headset; and 3) the effect on ear cup seal. There were no statistically significant differences in responses over the three surveyed time intervals.

DISCUSSION: Army aviation aircrew preferred the AFF-OP over the current HGU-4/P spectacles. Two of the top three highest subjective reasons for AFF-OP preference coincided with two of the top three operational eyewear problems reported in the recently published survey. If Army aircrew do not wear their issued eyewear, they may purchase their own frame “out of pocket.” However, this can lead to use of a frame that has not been tested for compatibility and may compromise performance of aircrew life support equipment.

Walsh DV, Jurek GM, Capó-Aponte JE, Riggs DW, Ramiccio JA. Assessment of an alternative army aircrew eyewear. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2015; 86(12):1014–1019.

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Keywords: aircrew flight frame operational style; aviator spectacles; military; vision correction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Fort Rucker, AL, USA

Publication date: 01 December 2015

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  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

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