Military free fall parachutists may be unaware of the risk of corneal freezing and desiccation keratitis should their goggles come off during free fall in subfreezing temperatures. We determine the incidence of ocular difficulties in military free fall parachutists and the role freezing temperatures may play in causing these problems. We found that 79% of those who responded to the survey had lost their goggles at least once during free fall and 69% experienced ocular symptoms after goggle loss. Analysis shows a 30-fold increase in the duration of symptoms in subfreezing vs. above-freezing temperatures, with the odds of the ground mission being affected at 7.3 per 100 jumps in the subfreezing group. The rate of goggles coming off per jump is 3.3 times less with >75 jumps. Contact lenses are not protective and photorefractive keratectomy was not detrimental.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health