Author(s): Power ED, Duma SM, Stitzel JD, Herring IP, West RL,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Airbags have saved lives in automobile crashes for many years and are now planned for use in helicopters. The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential for ocular injuries to helicopter pilots wearing night vision goggles when the airbag is deployed. METHODS: A nonlinear finite element model of the human eye was created. Ocular structures such as the fatty tissue, extraocular muscles, and bony orbit were included. The model was imported into Madymo (Mathematical Dynamical Models) and used to determine the worst-case position of a helicopter pilot wearing night vision goggles. This was evaluated as the greatest Von Mises stress in the eye when the airbag was deployed. RESULTS: The worst-case position was achieved by minimizing the distance between the eyes and goggles, having the occupant look directly into the airbag, and making initial contact with the airbag halfway through its full deployment. Simulations with the goggles both remaining fastened to and breaking away from the aviator helmet were performed. Finally, placing a protective lens in front of the eyes was found to reduce the stress to the eye but increase the force experienced by the surrounding orbital bones. CONCLUSION: The finite element model of the eye proved effective for evaluating the experimental parameters.
This article was published in Aviat Space Environ Med
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology