Ballistic eyewear or military eyewear includes sunglasses, goggles, eye shields, and safety glasses. These eyewear are used by people who are regularly exposed to firearms. Army personnel are required to use this eyewear when in a war field.
Demand for laser weapons in the defense industry is a major factor which will drive the eyewear market. These laser weapons are harmful and can cause damage to the skin, eye, and sometimes even lead to death. Therefore, many eyewear manufacturing companies are focusing on developing Laser Protection Eyewear (LPEs). LPEs protect the army personnel from visible or invisible laser wavelengths that can cause damage to the eyes. The eyewear market not only comprises LPEs, but also night vision goggles which are also known as night vision devices (NVDs). A monochrome image such as green shade is produced when the device is on. Many NVDs include mirrors or telescopic lens as optical components.
Drivers: The major driving factor of the military eyewear systems market is the extra-wide viewing angle without any distortion. The military eyewear market is not only limited to sunglasses, eyes shields, and safety glasses, but also include night vision devices. The night vision devices or goggles are also driving the market as they help soldiers or homeland security personnel to track down terrorists and protestors at night time. The transparent ballistic shield made of polycarbonate shield is the latest technology which can propel the market to grow in future. Many military eyewear systems are also UV protected which protect the soldiers and homeland security from harmful UV rays. The lens of these UV protected eyewear is made of Plutonite which offers the highest optical clarity available in the eyewear lens market. Owing to the development of these technologies, army personnel and home guards are well equipped to combat terrorism. Thus, the market is likely to grow in the near future.
Restraints: Researchers are constantly facing challenges with existing military eyewear systems such as sand, scratches, and fogging.
Opportunities: Research is being carried out for the last few years in industrial, medical, scientific and defense applications. It has been seen that rising demand for laser has led to simultaneous development of laser protection eyewear across end users. They are also focusing on the commonly faced challenges with sand, scratches, and fogging. To deal with this abrasion, the eyewear is being coated with sand resistant and fog resistant coatings.
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Segmentation: The eyewear systems market can be segmented by end use, technology, and geography.
The major end users of this market are defense personnel and homeland security. Although these devices are designed for the safety of these end users, they are also available in the market for common use. Several manufacturers are upgrading the defense equipment to protect the armed forces from increasing laser attacks.
A Canadian company designed protective eyewear for the U.S. army which has a low profile, with binoculars and night vision technology in built. The shield used in this device can even withstand a shotgun shot. Based on the environment, the shield can be interchanged for a clear vision during the day or night. It also offers protection from harmful UV rays. Another American company designed the same device with similar features but with a coating which prevents the glass from fogging and is scratch resistant.
Based on geography, the market can be divided into North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. North America is the significant manufacturer of military eyewear followed by Europe. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing market and is anticipated to grow gradually over the years. Countries in Asia-Pacific such as China, Japan, and Korea are conducting substantial research and development on laser weapons. This activity will help the market to grow.
Key vendors: Leading vendors in the military eyewear market include Revision Military (Can), ESS a subsidiary of Oakley, Inc. (U.S.), Shalon Chemical Industries, Honeywell International, Inc. (U.S), Gentex Corporation (U.S.), and PerriQuest Defense Research Enterprise (U.S). among others.