Science and Technology News

Friday, January 20, 2012

Navy Medicine Announces New Eyeglass Frame

From Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy Medical Logistics Command (NMLC) announced Jan. 19 that all active duty and Reserve personnel, including recruits will soon have a new standard issue eyeglass frame available.

Since 1990, military personnel and recruits have received standard issue S9 eyeglass frames, often jokingly referred to as "birth control glasses" or simply "BCGs." Not any longer.

"We are happy to announce that the New Year brings with it a new frame option for all personnel serving on active duty and in the Reserves," said Capt. Matt Newton, commanding officer of Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity (NOSTRA) in Yorktown, Va. "Service members have told us that they like the appearance of the new frame. We are confident this frame will increase the likelihood that military personnel will continue to utilize their eyeglasses beyond boot camp."

Effective Jan. 1, the current cellulose acetate spectacle frame provided at all Armed Forces initial entry training sites began the transition from male and female, brown "S9" spectacles to a new, unisex, black "5A" frame.

The change stems from a study which was directed by the Military Health System's Optical Fabrication Enterprise (OFE) and coordinated by NOSTRA in order to find a suitable frame to add to the standard issue inventory. Selected samples were submitted to U.S. Army Public Health Command for review, and three frames were identified for user tests. Tests were conducted at Recruit Training Center Great Lakes, Ill.; Advanced Infantry Training, Camp Geiger, N.C.; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Knox, Ky. and U.S. Coast Guard Recruit Training Center, Cape May, N.J.

Surveys assessed functionality, durability and cosmetic appearance and the 5A frame was selected as the best option.

Initial deployment of the 5A frame will occur at all Armed Forces initial entry training sites. Within six months, the 5A frame will be made available to all active duty and Reserve service members with full implementation expected to be completed over a two-year period.

Retirees are currently eligible to receive standard issue S9, S91A and Half-Eye frames, and there will be no change to this authorization. However, over the next two years, the OFE will study the feasibility of providing 5A frames to retirees.

The OFE was established by Congressional mandate in 1996, with the U.S. Navy Surgeon General charged with managing the program. Upon the closure of the Army Optical Fabrication Laboratory at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, NOSTRA became a joint production lab with Army opticians augmenting Navy and civilian production staff. The OFE is guided by the Optical Fabrication Advisory Board which represents the Surgeons General of the Army, Navy and Air Force. A sampling of OFE initiatives includes managing the military Frames of Choice program, standardization of military combat eye protection inserts, introduction of a new submariner frame, and operational support with the deployment of the new M50 gas mask insert. For the last several years, the OFE has produced approximately 1.5 million pairs of spectacles and optical inserts annually for authorized military personnel.

NMLC is responsible for designing, executing and administering individualized state-of-the-art solutions to meet customer medical materiel and health care requirements. NMLC supports the U.S. Navy with acquisition and logistics systems training, health care services strategies, operational forces support, medical equipment and logistics solutions, acquisition management, deployable platforms and eyewear fabrication.

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

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