While airsoft weapons may not be life threatening, they can at the very least cause life altering injuries that are very easy to prevent if the correct safety equipment is used. These injuries range from the ability to chip a tooth through to marking the skin, however, the most common injury within airsoft relates to eye injuries, in which individuals are not making use of the correct eye protection while on the airsoft field.
When it comes to eye injuries, airsoft BBs can cause damage to a point in which they can cause permanent blindness, either through a direct hit to the eye or due to shrapnel breaking off a BB and finding its way through mesh goggles that are poorly made. In fact, the Center for Disease Control reports that more than 19,000 people were treated for eye injuries caused by guns that do not use gunpowder. While this figure includes a wide array of examples, it does also include airsoft weapons.
In the United States, most site operators will insist you make use of ‘full-seal eye protection’. This essentially means that there can be no gap between the face and the eye protection you are using – meaning the best examples you can make use of are goggles and full-face masks. While your site operator may allow for lenience with this rule, we would always recommend making use of full-seal eye protection, to ensure you are not left in a situation where you may lose your eyesight.
When purchasing eye protection, ensure that it meets the various safety ratings. Almost all airsoft centers in the United States and Canada require you to wear eye protection that has ballistic lenses, meaning they must meet either ANSI Z87.1 or CAN/CSA Z94.3-07 standards depending on whether you are in the United States or in Canada.
In closing, while playing airsoft, you should ALWAYS ensure that you keep your eye protection on.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING EYE PROTECTION
PROTECTION – As already mentioned, ensure that your eye protection meets the various safety ratings for the area you reside in. Furthermore, there should be no gap between the eyewear and the face to ensure no ricocheting BBs can sneak under gaps in your protection
FIT/COMFORT – Remember, you’ll likely be making use of these for large periods of a day, so ensuring they are comfortable is a must. Key areas to look at are the areas around your nose, and whether they conform to the shape of your face.
LENSES – Eye protection often come in a number of different lens colors, so ensure you match this to the areas you play in. For example, if you play outside in a sunny climate, dark lenses are your best option to reduce sun glare. However, if you mainly play in CQB environments, you’ll likely want to go for either yellow (which makes details stand out more clearly) or clear.
VENTILATION – Fogging of lenses is honestly one of the worst things to deal with in airsoft. You’ll find yourself constantly fiddling with your eye protection, be unable to see anything and ultimately it will just affect your gameplay to a level that is highly frustrating. One way to counteract this is to ensure your eye protection is well ventilated, with some options even coming with built in fans to counteract this!
DO THEY WORK WITH X? – A lot of the time you’ll likely be rocking some form of helmet, face mask or comms headset with your eye protection, so ensuring everything works in unison is a must. Honestly, there is nothing worse than getting out onto an airsoft field and having a wardrobe malfunction because it will ruin your day of gaming!