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Laser Glare Protection eyewear for pilots

One technology that is often suggested to help reduce laser/aircraft illumination hazards is Laser Glare Protection (LGP) eyewear, or “anti-laser glasses.” These have been developed specifically to protect pilots against too-bright laser pointer illuminations.

Below is general information about selecting and using LGPs, as well as a list of LGP eyewear manufacturers we’re aware of.

General information about Laser Glare Protection

Click any of the gray buttons to find out more details.

List of Laser Glare Protection eyewear

The following LGP eyewear are specifically intended for pilots. They are examples — there may be more models from a listed company. or from other companies. These listed in the order in which we became aware of their availability.

Note that most or all of these companies may also have eyewear specifically intended to protect ground officers during protests.

The section "LGP resources and news" above describes LGP eyewear called "CALI" developed by the Air Force for commercial purposes, which is still being tested as of May 2021.

GlareShields from NoIR

NoIR developed GlareShields with input from Los Angeles Police Department helicopter pilots. LAPD used these both to provide protection, and to help track down ongoing laser misusers. (See the story here; the link to KABC’s report also mentions use of the laser glasses.)

As of July 2011, there are three models. PBG reduces green by 99.5%, blue by 97%, has 49% transmittance for low-light conditions, and has “good” instrument panel visibility. AG2 reduces green by 99%, has 53% transmittance for low-light conditions, and has “excellent” instrument panel visibility. BGR is for full sun conditions; it reduces green, blue and red by 90-97%, with 29% transmittance for full sun conditions.

Laser Armor Aviator Glasses from Night Flight

According to Night Flight, Laser Armor Aviator Glasses “were designed to support the specific operational requirements of pilots and crewmembers in civil aviation (fixed and rotary-wing), including airborne law enforcement, Search&Rescue (SAR), Emergency Medical Services (EMS), commercial airline and cargo transport.” They absorb green and blue beams without degradation of visual acuity or cockpit display panel color recognition. A brochure with more information is available.

Pic 2013-04-17 at 3.12.56 PM
This chart from Night Flight shows Laser Armor Aviator Glasses
absorbing 99.5% of green beams and 97.0% of blue beams

metaAIR eyewear from Metamaterial Technologies Inc.

MTI uses a unique holographic-based technology to form layers that reflect 532 nm green laser light, and enhance color balance and discrimination. According to the company, the result is metaAIR eyewear, with "the world's best transparency, laser protection and color balance."

The eyewear is said to have an Optical Density between 2 and 5, meaning that it will attenuate the amount of 532nm light reaching eyes by 100 to 100,000 times. The frame is wider at top, sides and bottom, to block light coming from directions other than the front.

MTI originally developed the holographic laser-reflecting technology for use in windscreens. The goal was to protect pilots without the need for eyewear. However, windscreen modifications require a slow, multi-year process of obtaining governmental and airline approval. In addition, the cost to modify windscreens is much higher than the cost of one or two pairs of eyewear. So eyewear was a natural choice for the first commercially available laser protection product from MTI. According to its metaAIR website, the company may also produce glare shields using the same technology.

As of late February 2019, MTI is taking pre-orders for its eyewear, distributed by Satair, which will be available "spring 2019."

LaseReflect Aviator from Iridian Spectral Technologies

LaseReflect Aviator glasses normally reflect 532 nm green and 1064 nm infrared, but also can be special-ordered to reflect violet, blue and red light. Between these laser wavelengths, visible light transmission is over 80%, as shown by the transmittance diagram below. A press release announcing the glasses is here.

Iridian spectral chart with UV and IR 450w
LaseReflect Aviator glasses reflect up to four wavelengths,
with high visibility between these wavelengths

Flash Fighters from Kentek

These are dye-based Laser Glare Protection eyewear in metal aviator frames. They have “near perfect” color recognition for day or night use, with no back reflection. Visible light transmission is 57%. The chart shows the protection against blue (440 nm), green (532 nm) and red (640 nm). A product data sheet is here.

Kentek Flash Fighters OD chart

Laser-Gard from Sperian

The Sperian Laser-Gard model we examined is for nighttime protection against the most common green laser pointers. It has a very narrow-band filter (25 nanometers) that is claimed to eliminate 99% of 532 nanometer laser light. Because of the narrow bandpass, they do not adversely degrade color recognition.

These glasses have been tested by pilots for a major U.S. airline, who confirm that they can still safely distinguish colors in the cockpit (including green on indicators and LCD displays), and on airport lighting. Informal testing by LaserPointerSafety.com shows that Laser-Gard turns green laser pointer “hits” from being uncomfortably bright, to being minor and manageable. Because 1% of laser light is transmitted, it is still possible to tell where the laser is coming from. This aids in identifying perpetrators.

Sperian has four models of Laser-Gard; two for daylight use (bronze-colored sunglasses that also have laser protection), and two for nighttime use (salmon-colored glasses with maximum light transmission except for the laser wavelength). Within each group, there is green-only protection, and green-and-red protection. The cost for the nighttime, green-only Laser-Gard glasses we examined is $99. One U.S. source is Rockwell Laser Industries.

Laser Defense Eyewear from PerriQuest

There are two models of PerriQuest Laser Defense Eyewear: PerriQuest Night “is designed to combine three-wavelength laser blocking coverage [red, green and blue] with high ambient light and more red spectrum to preserve maximum visual acuity and night vision.” Green-tinted PerriQuest Day also has three-wavelength laser blocking and adds “sun protection and UV-blocking for daytime use.”

The lenses are glass and have been processed by Carl Zeiss Vision Laboratory. As of July 2015, the glasses are available for pre-order; a shipping date is not indicated. According to a media story, a pair of glasses cost $400.

According to the manufacturer, the glasses maintain color discrimination so cockpit and airport lights are still visible and remain color-distinguishable. Graphics on their website show how colors (mostly reds) may shift slightly in hue but are still distinguishable.

PerriQuest glasses before and after smaller

Weather radar colors. Top: Normal colors as seen without glasses. Bottom: Simulated view through PerriQuest Laser Defense Eyewear. (The manufacturer did not specify if this simulates the Night or Day version.)

Pic 2015-07-31 at 11.06.54 AM

This chart from PerriQuest shows how colors shift when seen through the lens. For example, the bright green at a*=-70, b*=+80 shifts to a more yellow green; reds shift to orange. But because the shifted colors remain visible and stay within the same general hue, the manufacturer says this “eliminates the possibility of color confusion.”

LazrBloc from Revision Military

Revision Military’s LazrBloc Laser Eye Protection (LEP) combines leading-edge laser dye technologies with Revision’s robust protective eyewear products. Formulated using computer modeling and proprietary laser absorbers, LazrBloc lenses maximize laser attenuation—optical density—and minimize effect on the field of vision—maintaining the highest possible visible light transmission (VLT). Revision’s LazrBloc laser lenses deliver ballistic protection in accordance with American and international industrial standards, as well as U.S. military standards.

LazrBloc laser protective eyewear from Revision Military

Revision’s latest laser lens—the LazrBloc GF-8—is a cross-functional aviation, law enforcement, and military solution for in-field vision disruption, disorientation, and impairment caused by green laser energy. GF-8 lenses block up to 99.9% of 532 nm green laser energy, and stop 99% of 808 nm near-infrared radiation, a hazardous, invisible component of green lasers. GF-8 laser lenses allow greater VLT and color recognition, are treated with Revision’s OcuMax© Plus anti-fog coating, provide 100% UV-A-B-C protection, and are made from high-impact polycarbonate that exceeds military ballistic impact requirements. GF-8 comes in various kits, and is priced at $199.99.

Revision’s LazrBloc lenses are interchangeable, situation–adaptable LEP solutions that can be tailored and customized to end-user needs and requirements. Revision provides ballistic LEP, in a variety of configurations and form factors, to military forces worldwide.

NOTE FOR POLICE/PROTEST USE: A July 10 2020 sole-source contract saw the Federal Protection Service buying Stingerhawk FT-2 Laser Protective Eyewear from Revision Military. The expected cost was $125 per pair, for 1,000 pairs of glasses. The contract went on to justify the sole-source: "While several manufacturers make lenses that defeat the effects of these lasers specifically designed for Law Enforcement and aviators; the Revision FT-2 Laser Protective Eyewear model provides a broader laser protection to include protection from Green, Blue and Violet laser light. The FT-2 has adequate visible light transmission and FPS has also had reports of violet laser use during these demonstrations creating the need for the broader protection. Revision Hawk was the provider of the rest of FPS head gear; therefore, the Revision Hawk Stingerhawk FT-2 Eyewear is made to to works with the helmets that FPS utilizes. The Stingerhawk FT-2 Laser Protective Eyewear provide the needed protection for the laser wavelength of concern, the feature wrap around protection and ballistic protection required for law enforcement operations. Market Research shows that there are no distributors of the lens; they are only available from the manufacturer."

ST Laserstrike from ST Laserstrike (Brinell Vision, Optimum RX Lens and Sierra Tango)

ST Laserstrike glasses feature light weight/high durability lenses, high blocking levels from blue and green laser-attack, outstanding color balance for cockpit instruments, high efficiency multi-layer ultraviolet & anti-reflective coating on inside surface, infrared blocking for unfiltered and illegal handheld laser pointers, and ultraviolet-blue light (HEV) eye protection. Prescription lenses are available.

There are two different frames, including one that resembles typical aviator sunglasses.

ST Laserstrike has two levels of protection available:

Type 1 – General laser flash protection (suitable for most operations)
Allow normal operation with laser pointers <200mW* Provide eye damage protection from sources up to 2W, based on pilot being >200m from source & typical beam divergence. To comply with minimum EN207 DIR LB2 (400-445nm blue, 532nm green, 808-1064nm Infrared). Provide approx. 40% Visible Light Transmission

Type 2 – High powered laser attack protection (suitable for extreme environments)
Allow normal operation with laser pointers <2W, and eye damage protection from sources up to 20W, based on pilot being >200m from source & typical beam divergence. To comply with minimum EN207 DIR LB3 (400-445nm blue, 532nm green, 808-1064nm Infrared). Provide approx. 30% Visible Light Transmission

Laser Strike Eyewear from Phillips Safety Products

Laser Strike Eyewear was developed for military pilots, and is also available to civilians. There are six different lightweight frame designs, including a fitover model for prescription wearers. The polycarbonate lenses will not distort instrumentation. Standard Operating Procedures have been developed by flight departments mandating Laser Strike Eyewear on all operations below 10,000 feet and on takeoffs and landings.

These are the six different frame styles

For each frame style, there are three different lens types available:

  • Green Beam Reduction: 190-400 nm (UV), OD 5+. 532 nm (green), OD 2.5+. Visible light transmission: 33%. Orange/Peach lens color.
  • Blue/Green Beam Reduction: 190-400 nm (UV), OD 5+. 445-450 nm (blue), OD 2+. 532 nm (green), OD 2.5+. Visible light transmission: 43%. Orange/Peach lens color.
  • Blue/Green/Red Beam Reduction: 190-400 nm (UV), OD 5+. 440-470 nm (blue), OD 1.5+. 532 nm (green), OD 1.5+. 633-640 nm (red), OD 1.2+. Visible light transmission: 23.3%. Green lens color.

The cost is $150 in single quantities.

Laser Dazzle Visor from Folium Optics (liquid crystal shutter under development)

U.K firm Folium Optics as of summer 2017 is developing an anti-laser shield consisting of two thin layers of plastic containing liquid crystals. When laser light is detected, the shield acts as a shutter to block the detected wavelength, while still giving good visibility to other colors.

It can be integrated into visors, goggles or other eyewear. Below is an “early prototype” showing detectors above the nose bridge and batteries on one earpiece:

Folium Optics multicurve active visor prototype for laser dazzle

They began work on the “laser dazzle visor” in 2014 and hope to start selling to military, airline suppliers and emergency services in 2018. A March 2017 article in the Express gives some additional information.