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Collaborative Military Medical Research Evaluates Aircrew Laser Eye Protection
Released: 9/12/2017

By. Megan Mudersbach, Naval Medical Research Unit - Dayton Public Affairs Officer

Researchers from Naval Medical Research Unit – Dayton (NAMRU-D) presented collaborative findings on the evaluation of aircrew low-intensity threat laser eye protection (LIT-LEP) during the Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS), August 29.

KISSIMMEE, Florida – Researchers from Naval Medical Research Unit – Dayton (NAMRU-D) presented collaborative findings on the evaluation of aircrew low-intensity threat laser eye protection (LIT-LEP) during the Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS), August 29.

“Cross-service collaboration is an essential ingredient for LIT-LEP development and acquisition success,” said Dr. Michael Reddix, senior research psychologist and lead on the project.

NAMRU-D is collaborating with the United States Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Photonic Materials Branch (AFRL/RXAP) to develop LEP spectacles that meet the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) requirements. Working together, the researchers at NAMRU-D and AFRL/RXAP are looking to design, manufacture and evaluate low-cost, low-intensity threat laser eye protection for use in military aviation operating environments.

“An additional key to success in this program was AFRL’s well defined links to industry support for LEP product manufacturing using U.S. Air Force proprietary dyes and already-approved-for-flight materials,” said Reddix.

The research team is supporting the enhancement of fielded medical capabilities by evaluating the LIT-LEP prototypes to reduce risk to aircrew. Results will determine if LIT-LEP prototypes produce reliable changes in operationally-relevant and visually-mediated performance during flight testing.

Results demonstrate compatibility with U.S. Coast Guard rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft which use the Rockwell-Collins color multi-functional cockpit displays. The team’s findings paved the way for USCG flight simulator and ground tests to be conducted at the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Training Center (ATC) Mobile, Alabama, September 2017. Results from flight simulator tests will lead to flight testing of LIT-LEPs and could suggest an acquisition decision from U.S. Coast Guard.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Micah Kinney, Aerospace Optometrist, MHSRS is a great venue for military aeromedical researchers to join together, share ideas, and collaborate how to continue to provide research solutions for the warfighter.

MHSRS is the Department of Defense's (DoD) premier scientific meeting; a unique collaborative opportunity for military medical care providers, DoD scientists, academia and industry to exchange information on research advancements and health care developments in the areas of combat casualty care, military operational medicine, clinical and rehabilitative medicine and military infectious disease research program.

The Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton is a major DoD medical research command and the home of the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory and the Environmental Health Effects Laboratory. As a subordinate command to Naval Medical Research Center, NAMRU-D conducts aerospace medical and environmental health effects research to enhance warfighter health, safety, performance, and readiness. NAMRU-D conducts research to address identified Fleet needs, and results in products and solutions ranging from basic knowledge, to fielded technologies.

For more NAMRU-D information: www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmrc/Dayton
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