NOVEMBER 20, 2023 – Aside from the honor of serving your country, joining the military provides ample opportunity for career advancement and abundant benefits. You are also more likely to find more favorable training environments, with certain branches overhauling recruitment efforts with new and upgraded programs for recruits.
Of course, the demands of military life require rigorous physical activity. And for those who wear prescription glasses, this may present a challenge. But even those with vision correction needs can be accepted into the Armed Forces. Here’s what you need to know.
The vision requirements for joining the military can vary depending on the branch you’re applying to, as each fulfills different responsibilities. For instance, assignments in the Special Forces require strong vision, so you must have 20/70 vision in both eyes correctable to 20/20 with prescription eyewear. The Air Force is stricter and requires pilots to have a visual acuity of 20/30 without correction. Some conditions like color blindness, being legally blind or blind in one eye, or severe astigmatism can count for immediate disqualification. But with many military members currently serving while wearing corrective lenses, you can get by as long as your vision is correctable.
The military typically restricts eyewear to those with a conservative style, avoiding bright colors like blue, bright green, or red. Frame colors are usually limited to black, brown, clear, gold, or gray. Your glasses must not feature any noticeable design elements, logos, or adornment. Finally, they shouldn’t be too big or small enough to detract from the appearance of your uniform. Fortunately, this still gives you a lot of options. For example, you can go for classic yet understated eyewear brands like Ray-Ban, known for iconic military-born designs like the Aviators. Aside from subtle stylishness, these offer high quality and durability.
It’s crucial to remember that soldiers are not immune to the sun’s rays, and damage accumulated over time can raise risks of developing diseases of the skin and eyes. Fortunately, you can customize sunglasses with your prescription to fulfill military demands. When buying prescription sunglasses, carefully consider frame material and color, lens color, size, and the brand. Sunglass restrictions follow the same ones as eyeglasses in frame color, design elements, and size, with lens colors limited to gray, brown, or dark green. A model like Oakley’s Five Squared sunglasses is a good fit for military service, especially since the brand specifically provides standard-issue eyewear to military units. This model, in particular, features a ballistic-rated M Frame 2.0, making it durable, stable, and comfortable. Its lenses range from clear to tinted so that soldiers can enjoy impact and UV protection and better vision while on duty.
Newly recruited military members are not allowed to wear contact lenses throughout the training period due to hygiene concerns but may resume doing so after it ends. You are permitted to wear any type of lenses provided they don’t have tints or colors. The only exceptions are medically prescribed opaque lenses for eye injuries. As such, you should take extra care to purchase contact lenses that are amenable to the military lifestyle. Because your eyes need to be at their best, they must stay hydrated with optimal hygiene. This makes brands like the Acuvue Oasys ideal. These soft contact lenses are formulated to prolong hydration for the eyes. They may be disposed of daily or after one or two weeks, so you can regularly switch them out to avoid contamination and irritation due to dirt or other irritants. That way, you can ensure optimal eye health and vision even with your active lifestyle.
Joining the military can result in lifelong fulfillment. Fortunately, even those with vision correction requirements can participate, provided they are equipped with the right information.