Eye Protection for Upland Hunting

Bolle Contour SidewinderI have had two eye injuries from pheasant hunting. The first time a dead fennel stalk hit me square on the eyeball. The second a willow branch whipped back and caught the eye.

Both of these hurt like hell and it is not an experience I want to repeat. A bad eye injury is exceptionally painful, and your good eye closes in sympathy. It is not easy to work, or do anything much except sleep. Sleeping is a problem as a corneal erosion takes some time to recover, with the eyelid pulling the repairing cornea away from the eye if it gets too dry. I was getting up every two hours at night to make sure I had the eye lubricant my optician gave me in my eye so it wouldn’t erode further.

That was several seasons ago and I haven’t had any problems since I started wearing some cheap Bolle safety glasses. I have clear Bolle Contour Sidewinders and they work well. I am not sure I have been hit on the glasses very often, but I would prefer not to ever have an eye injury again.

If you do get an eye injury and it is in normal business hours go to the optician rather than the doctor or A&E. Doctors are ok at fixing you in the short term but do not give you a great understanding of how to manage the eye in the medium term. Not going to the optician straight after my first injury meant that I had about three months of repeated corneal erosion, especially at night, because I did not understand what was happening to my eye. The optician sorted it out for me and even though it took a lot more months for my eye to be back to normal it did end up coming right.

The other important tip is get an eye patch. This blocks light out from the damaged eye and makes it possible to open your good eye. It is surprising how sensitive the good eye is to the bad eye’s injury and inability to deal with light. A patch makes a huge difference.