Protecting Your Eyes in The Wilderness (With Video)

November 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss Outdoor Tips, Trail Boss Videos

The human eye is sensitive to intense light, because it damages the retina and can even blind the individual. If this happens in the field you are in big trouble. Nothing is more debilitating than an eye injury. The brightness of the sun can trigger massive headaches or migraines, which in turn can cause nausea and vomiting. If you are short on water all of these things together can cause death or at the lest serious injury.

The most common form of eye protection against light are sunglasses. These primarily protect against ultraviolet light from the sun and help increase visibility in bright conditions. If sun glasses are not available, darkening underneath your eyes with charcoal or dirt. Cutting a slit in a piece of cloth, or tying a piece of mylar from an emergency blanket around  your head over your eyes will also work.

Clear glasses only protect the eyes from flying objects such as wood chips and stone fragments.  When in the field this too can be a major problem. Partially or completely loosing your sight when in the wilderness is again a deadly combination do yourself a favor and pack a pair of safety glasses if you intend on doing a good deal of chopping, flint napping etc. At best if medical help in not close at hand you could actually lose your eye.

Copyright © 2009 by Steven L. Doran

All rights reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without written permission from the author Steven L. Doran.

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One Comment on "Protecting Your Eyes in The Wilderness (With Video)"

  1. Ed Harris on Tue, 24th Nov 2009 7:43 AM 

    Primitive peoples have made improvised goggles to protect the eyes from snow or sand glare.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuit_snow_goggles

    http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article273

    The keffiyeh or shemagh is the traditional head wrap originating from the Arabic turban used for centuries. In Western military use its value as a a piece of survival equipment dates the North African campaign of WWII where the British Special Air Service discovered its potential. A desert scarf has been valuable piece of the SAS kit ever since and its use has spread to present day use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The desert the keffiyeh or shemagh was originally used for protection against hostile environmental conditions, providing protection against sun, wind, sandstorms and the cold at night. Next to his rifle, knife and boots, the shemagh, is one of the most useful pieces of kit the desert soldier can have.

    It is a square of loosely woven cotton fabric about 1 metre square. Intended primarily as a head wrap, shemaghs are have multiple other uses:

    * dust mask and veil to keep sun, snow, wind, sand and dust out of the eyes, face and from going down the neck
    * sniper’s concealment – face veil – hiding shape of the face
    - around neck to retain heat in cold or absorb sweat and protect the neck from sunburn during heat of the day
    - cravat, compression bandage or sling for wounded arm
    - sun shade while resting
    - blinders for pack horses, camels or mules
    - improvised foot wrap replacing lost sock
    - carrying bundle for when foraging food
    - improvised tote for organizing loose gear in ruck
    - towel, wash cloth
    - improvised rope or equipment sling
    - improvised sieve

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