When you are ordered to kit up and head out for duty during a deployment, chances are strong that a pair of tactical eyewear will be coming with you. Many of those in the military are issued a pair of tactical glasses as well as a pair of goggles, but which should you be wearing? It’s a debate that has existed within military circles for a number of years, but the truth is that you should probably bring both items with you. You won’t be wearing both simultaneously though, so it’s important to know when to wear each.
Oftentimes, the choice between glasses and goggles will come down to a personal preference on which feels better and gives you the clear vision you rely on while on duty. There are still a number of factors you need to consider when determining which item is appropriate to wear in your conditions. The choice would be simple if it weren’t for one pesky part of wearing goggles: fog. Generally speaking, goggles approved for military wear offer equivalent or better levels of protection from flying projectiles while offering superior protection from elements like dust and debris in comparison to tactical glasses, so they would be the easy choice – if it weren’t for fog.
Foggy goggles negate any perceived advantages that goggles provide – if you can’t see, then you can’t operate. Fog is the number one complaint among those who wear goggles for duty and it is such a widespread problem that some are now using glasses at all times just to avoid foggy lenses. Manufacturers have worked to reduce the fogging issue by implementing strategically placed air vents on the goggles, as well as anti-fog lens coatings, but the techniques have not been perfected and fogging can still be an issue. So this begs the question: When should you wear goggles, and when should you wear glasses?
With fogging being such an issue, you need to ensure that the conditions around you are favorable for wear before heading out. Why do goggles fog? Most times, it is the result of warm air meeting the lens and becoming trapped inside. Sweating amplifies the problem, and so does heavy breathing. Heat and especially humidity are problems as well. If you plan to be doing any serious cardio while out in the field, consider wearing glasses instead. If you won’t be sweating excessively or breathing overly heavy, goggles can be a great option. If it is wet and muggy, consider glasses; goggles are better suited for dry, cool weather.
The problem with goggles is that most people wear them to provide total protection around the eyes from outside elements and debris – specifically sand – and most sandy regions are also hot. When you are faced with this issue, you need to weigh the pros and cons of wearing goggles against each other. Would you rather clean your goggles from fog occasionally, and not worry about sand kicking up into your eyes, or would you rather risk getting sand in your eyes by wearing glasses to ensure that you will always have fog-free vision? This will be a personal choice for you.
When to Wear Glasses
Glasses are going to be your best bet for any situation where you need eye protection and there is no risk of dust or debris hindering your vision. While glasses were traditionally not necessarily the best option for total eye protection (protection from above, below and to the side), technology has come a long way in recent years. Modern designs are capable of shielding your eyes from all angles while not becoming foggy like goggles occasionally do. With modern designs also coming with multiple lens shade options to choose from and the ability to be fitted with foam gaskets for dust and debris protection, there really isn’t a better option unless the sand is really blowing strongly – in which case you likely cannot see anyway and goggles may not be effective either.
Glasses are also going to be the preferred choice if you are wearing anything in conjunction with the eyewear. Goggles are big and bulky and cannot be easily removed while glasses can quickly slip on and off and they also sport a low profile. This makes glasses great for those wearing night vision goggles or a helmet. The bottom line is this: wear your glasses; bring your goggles. Goggles have a place in your duty gear, but glasses will be the item you find yourself reaching for most frequently – especially because glasses can be worn in casual, off duty settings while goggles cannot (or should not).
When you are issued a pair of protective glasses as well as goggles, it can be difficult to determine which item you should be wearing when you report for duty. Follow these tips and you will always have clear vision and the protection you need.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.