MCEPP Provides Freedom of Choice
The Military Combat Eye Protection Program (MCEPP) was established to validate and authorize protective eyewear for use by military personnel. Additionally, it improves soldier acceptance of authorized protective eyewear, thus reducing the likelihood of eye injury to soldiers. MCEPP comes under Program Executive Officer Soldier (PEO Soldier). PEO Soldier “designs, develops, procures, fields and sustains virtually everything the Soldier wears or carries.”
The Army’s MCEPP program protects soldiers’ eyes from ballistic injuries by allowing soldiers to choose their own approved eyewear. As more options are provided to soldiers, MCEPP hopes to increase the number of soldiers who wear protective eyewear, thus reducing the number of eye injuries sustained by soldiers in training and combat.
Strict Testing Standards
All approved military eyewear should meet or exceed protective standards established by the Integrative Protective Team (IPT). The IPT is a committee appointed by PEO Soldier to validate safety standards and test protocols and to approve new products for the Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL).
Commercial eyewear products are tested to determine their ability to withstand ballistic fragments such as rock, glass, and shrapnel in a laboratory and a field environment. The eyewear that passes these tests is updated on the APEL, which is regularly updated.
Authorized Protective Eyewear List – APEL
APEL is a listing published by PEO Soldier of all eyewear products approved for military use by the MCEPP-IPT. All APEL items must be labeled on the packaging and frame with “APEL,” which indicates the product is on the APEL. Anyone purchasing their own MCEP should look for this label. Only eyewear on the APEL has been validated against Army requirements for protection against ballistic fragments. Eyewear not on the APEL is not authorized for wear during combat or training or even when there is a risk of eye injury.
Products on the APEL are tested every two years and routinely sampled for compliance. APEL items with changes in the design or fabrication process require immediate retesting, and products can be placed on suspension resulting in recertification needed to get back on the list.
The APEL is published on the following website:
APEL designated protective eyewear from various manufacturers such as ESS, Oakley SI, Smith Elite, Uvex, Wiley X, and others made the APEL. Currently, MCEPP is working with vendors to improve eyewear for soldiers. Improvements needed include better scratch, fog, and impact protection and protection against exposure to contaminants such as bleach and dirt. Also, new goggle colors, universal prescription inserts (now available), and active laser protection are on the list of future interests for MCEPP.
- Here’s additional information on the submission process for inclusion on the APEL.
- Here’s a link to a downloadable PDF for the current APEL list.
- And here’s a link to an earlier article on “How to Identify Ballistic Rated Eyewear.”
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Pyramex has 8 mcep certified eyewear products
I did not notice an APEL rating requirement for overpressure due to muzzel blast. Is there a way I can choose glasses/goggles that protect my eyes against pressure? I am concerned because I have already had three detached retinas from rifle shooting. I have seen articals that state the cornea could be exposed to as much as 5 psi from shooting.
Thank you for your question, John.
In my experience, there are no MCEP or APEL tests specific to muzzle blast, so I can’t recommend one style over another. However, since there are so many variables that may affect muzzle blast, such as muzzle brakes, barrel length, caliber, etc. You may want to consider wearing foam-padded protective eyewear. The foam-padding may help reduce the overpressure from the muzzle blast (this is an educated guess because I haven’t seen any tests). Plus, the padding may also help absorb a small amount of recoil, especially if your head is pressed hard against the comb of the stock.
If you find any more information on this particular issue, please consider sharing it with me as I’d like to learn more.