Indian Soldiers Need Eye Protection NE01-NE03
Dr. Kirti Nath Jha,
Colonel (Retd) Army Medical Corps, Professor of Ophthalmology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute,
Pondy-Cuddalore Main Road, Pillaiyarkuppam, Pondicherry-607402, India.
Combat-related eye injuries entail enormous financial, social and psychological cost. Military Combat Eye Protection (MCEP) decreases both the incidence and severity of eye injuries. Experts have recognised the need for MCEP for Indian soldiers. We aim to review the combat-related eye injuries and combat eye protection among the Indian soldiers. Global practices of MCEP are also reviewed. We also aim to offer our recommendations for Indian soldiers. We carried out Medline search for combat-related eye injuries and MCEP and separately searched for eye injuries among Indian soldiers during war and other operations. We present the findings as results. Recommendations are based on the opinions of the experts. Combat-related eye injuries increased from 3% of injured in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War to 4.8% in 1971 war. During peace-keeping operations in Sri Lanka (1987-89) eye injuries increased to 10.5% of the injured. Statistics on eye injuries during counterinsurgency operations are not available. MCEP have shown reduction in eye injuries, and thus MCEP forms a part of personal equipment of the soldiers in developed countries. Indian soldiers do not have provision of MCEP. Combat-related eye injuries among Indian Army soldiers have been increasing. Data on eye injuries during counterinsurgency operations are not available. Indian soldiers do not have provision of MCEP. Provision of MCEP is therefore desirable. Awareness program among the commanders and the soldiers shall result in attitudinal changes and increased compliance.