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AR 670-1 Sunglasses Regulations 2024 | Eyewear & Contact Lens

Army Sunglasses Regulation

The US Army has specific regulations regarding the use of eyewear, including glasses and sunglasses, to ensure that soldiers maintain a professional appearance and receive adequate eye protection.

These regulations are in AR 670-1, “Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia,” and the Army’s Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL). 

  • The Army AR 670-1 regulation outlines guidance for army grooming, appearance, conduct, and specific requirements for uniforms, accessories, and equipment.

AR 670-1: Sunglasses, Eyeglasses, and Contact Lens Regulation

Here are some key points about glasses and sunglasses in the Army:

  • Prescription eyeglasses regulation: Soldiers can wear conservative, clear-lensed prescription glasses while in uniform. The frame should be conservative in design and color, with no logos or ornamentation on the frames or lenses. 
  • Sunglasses regulation: Soldiers may wear conservative, dark-lensed sunglasses while in uniform as long as they don’t interfere with the performance of their duties. Sunglasses shouldn’t be worn indoors unless a medical professional prescribes them for medical reasons.
  • Protective eyewear regulation: To keep their eyes safe, soldiers must wear protective eyewear during specific training exercises, combat operations, or other hazardous activities. The Army’s Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL) lists approved eyewear that meets military ballistic standards and provides enough protection.
  • Restrictions: Soldiers can’t wear eyewear on top of their heads, around their necks, or hanging from their uniforms. Glasses and sunglasses should be stored in the right case when they’re not being used.
  • Tinted glasses regulation: Tinted lenses or sunglasses are allowed but should be conservative and not look too out there. Mirrored lenses are a no-go.

Remember that AR 670-1 sunglasses regulations can change over time, and there might be some differences depending on the specific branch or unit. It’s always a good idea to check the most recent guidelines and talk to your chain of command about any specific requirements or restrictions.

3–10. Eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses 

Note. This paragraph is punitive with regard to Soldiers. Violation by Soldiers may result in adverse administrative action and/or charges under the provisions of the UCMJ. 

  1. Eyeglasses and sunglasses
    1. Conservative civilian prescription eyeglasses are authorized for wear with all uniforms. 
    2. Conservative prescription and nonprescription sunglasses are authorized for wear when in a garrison environment, except while indoors. Individuals who are required by medical authority to wear sunglasses for medical reasons,other than refractive error, may wear them, except when health or safety considerations apply. Commanders may authorize sunglasses in formations or field environments, as appropriate. 
    3. Eyeglasses or sunglasses that are trendy or have lenses or frames with conspicuous initials, designs, or other adornments are not authorized for wear. Soldiers may not wear lenses with extreme or trendy colors, which include, but are not limited to, red, yellow, blue, purple, bright green, or orange. Lens colors must be traditional gray, brown, or dark green shades. Personnel will not wear lenses or frames that are so large or so small that they detract from the appearance of the uniform. Personnel will not attach chains or ribbons to eyeglasses. Eyeglass restraints (to include bands) are authorized when required for safety purposes. Personnel will not hang eyeglasses or eyeglass cases on the uniform and may not let glasses hang from eyeglass restraints down the front of the uniform. Glasses may not be worn on top of the head at any time. 
    4. Soldiers are authorized to wear ballistic spectacle eye protection issued by the Army, including lens colors or logos that do not comply with paragraph 3–10a(3), in garrison or field environments unless otherwise directed by their chain of command.  
  2. Restrictions on contact lenses. Tinted or colored contact lenses are not authorized for wear with the uniform. The only exception is for opaque lenses that are prescribed medically for eye injuries. Clear lenses that have designs on them that change the contour of the iris are not authorized for wear with the uniform. Contact lenses may be restricted by the commander for safety or mission requirements.

AR 670-1 Glasses and Sunglasses Regulation

Eyewear TypeDescriptionRestrictions and Notes
PrescriptionConservative, clear-lensed prescription glassesNo logos or ornamentation on frames or lenses
SunglassesConservative, dark-lensed sunglassesNot to be worn indoors unless prescribed for medical reasons
ProtectiveEyewear from the Army’s Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL) that meets military ballistic standardsIt should be conservative in appearance. Mirrored lenses are not permitted.
RestrictionsApplicable to all eyewear typesNot allowed on top of the head, around the neck, or hanging from uniforms. Store in the appropriate case when not in use
Tinted lensesAllowed for sunglassesIt should be conservative in appearance. Mirrored lenses are not permitted

The Purpose and Benefits of Glasses for Military and Police Personnel

If you look at photos of U.S. soldiers, then most likely, already on the first page with images, you will come across fighters in dark glasses. Everyone who has worn sunglasses knows that looking through them in the outside world is not so convenient. 

Why do Soldiers Wear Sunglasses?

The question arises: Why do American soldiers wear sunglasses, even when it’s cloudy outside? It is evident, then, that couriers of democracy should look fashionable. 

But seriously, the point is to protect the eyes and vision from external influences. Therefore, glasses are not only dark in color but also entirely transparent. 

In addition, such are in demand not only among the military. In the West, wearing ballistic glasses is quite popular among police representatives. 

But why is a fashion accessory able to protect?

So, ballistic glasses are a lightweight, durable, protective optical system that allows you to keep your eyes relatively safe. 

Most modern accessories can replace lenses in case of damage, and the optics are made of polycarbonate. However, the shackles and lens frames are most often made of nylon. 

  • Characteristics of ballistic glasses
    • Lightweight and durable 
    • protective optical system

In addition to spare parts, the glasses always come with a case, a rag for wiping, and a composition against fogging. As a rule, two sets of lenses are in a set for the same glasses: regular and darkened. 

Less often, there are also yellow anti-glare glasses. Of course, ballistic glasses cannot save you from a bullet, but they can keep you safe from a small fragment, even when moving at high speed. 

In this case, the glasses will most likely leave an injury on the face and break the soldier’s nose, but the vision will remain intact. In addition, ballistic glasses provide 100% protection from dust and ultraviolet light. 

Soldiers use accessories with darkened lenses, like any other sunglasses, to protect themselves from direct sunlight and glare. 

AR 670-1 Army Sunglasses Regulation

In summary, Army sunglasses regulations prohibit trendy frames or frames with initials. The lenses cannot have stylish colors, either.

AR 670-1 Sunglasses regulation allows clear lenses, gray, brown, or dark green colors. Sometimes, you can get away with wearing glasses with logos or maybe prohibited lens colors, but that’s only if the United States Army issues them.

  • Features of Ballistic Glasses
    • Replaceable lenses
    • Polycarbonate optics
    • Nylon shackles and lens frames 
  • Accessories included with ballistic glasses
    • Case
    • Rag for wiping 
    • Anti-fogging composition
  • Lens Options for Ballistic Glasses
    • Regular lenses
    • Darkened lenses
    • Yellow anti-glare lenses (less common)
  • Benefits of Ballistic Glasses
    • Protection from small, high-speed fragments
    • 100% protection from dust and ultraviolet light
    • Use of darkened lenses for sunlight and glare protection

By the way, they wear protective glasses in one form or another, not only in the U.S. Army; today, at least Special Forces use this accessory in almost all countries of the world.

George N.