When it comes to the eye protection for the range, I tend to be extraordinarily picky. No, it’s not just because I have a weird shaped head and only a precious few sunglasses designs can both look decent and stay affixed to my dome (but I’ll admit that’s part of it). It’s also because I have an unusual medical condition that robs me of portions of my vision for days, weeks, or even months at a time. It first surfaced a few years ago after a particularly rough night of sparring. I took a solid right cross and, I’ll admit, my bell was rung, but I thought I was fine otherwise… that is, until I woke up the next morning to find my right eye had all but stopped working.
A trip to the emergency room suggested that having my bell rung must have also detached the retina, but further diagnosis from specialists revealed that my buddy’s right cross and my newfound blindness were actually just a matter of coincidence. It was my retina itself that was swelling, likely due to a combination of blood pressure and a cortisol injection I had recently received in my spine… don’t you just love staying active as you get older?
Since then, the condition has returned at random intervals, usually during periods of high stress, and now, unfortunately, in both eyes. Most days, I can see just fine… but a few times a year, I end up with the center of my vision almost completely compromised. It’s hard to explain just how scary blindness feels for someone that has spent their life in a sighted world — especially for a guy like me, that makes my living by doing foolish things outside and then writing about it.
So, with the specter of blindness always looming overhead (even when my vision is working fine) I take things like eye protection very seriously. I’m grateful for every day I wake up and can see my daughter’s face, every trip to the woods where I’m able to capture good sight picture on my rifle, and every evening I spend mindlessly staring at the various screens in my rec-room.
Knowing how fundamentally different my life would be like without my vision means that I’m not willing to compromise when it comes to protecting what I’ve got. So, while there may be some fairly inexpensive forms of eye protection available on the market, I tend to stick strictly to companies I’ve come to trust through a combination of my own experiences and their historical track record. When those are the standards by which you judge, it’s tough to beat the product line offered by Oakley Standard Issue, or Oakley’s military, government, and law enforcement specific arm.
Over this past weekend, I had the chance to put their Flak 2.0 Thin Blue Line edition shades through their paces, and although they aren’t the same design I tend to gravitate toward, I found them to be extremely comfortable and utilitarian. Even in 90+ degree Georgia weather, soaked in humidity and wearing a plate carrier, these glasses didn’t budge from my face in the sweat deluge they were subjected to. Eye-pro doesn’t do you much good if it falls off your face, and I don’t have the time nor the patience to constantly push my glasses back up my nose while training. Oakley’s patented “Unobtanium” grips see to it that these shades stay where they belong.
These glasses are incredibly light while offering near complete coverage of your field of view, eliminating those annoying moments when the angle of your glasses allows the sun to creep in and blind you from the side. Fogging is minimal, even in the brutal conditions I subjected them to this weekend, and their XYC optics ensured the clarity of my vision (such as it is) through the lenses and downrange.
The O-Matter stress resistant frame adds to the piece of mind you get when you order a set of Flak 2.0s for duty use or intense training. These frames may be light, but they’re not going to break on you if you do manage to drop your glasses. These shades also sport the Thin Blue Line collection Oakley logo on the sides, making them a unique and fitting choice for police officers or anyone that likes to show their support for the men and women in blue that keep our street’s safe.
You don’t need to know how scary going blind can be to know that you don’t want to risk it. Whether you’re a cop in need of duty glasses or a shooter that appreciates the sacrifices made on our behalf by those in their blue uniforms, you can’t go wrong with Oakley SI, and these Flak 2.0s are further proof of that.
Orders yours from Oakley SI for around $160 here.