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‘Beer goggles’ give Airmen view of alcohol’s effects

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Tanya Paul helps Staff Sgt. Lacretia Wiseman try out the fatal-vision goggles.  The goggles can simulate vision at a blood alcohol content of 0.08 to 0.15 percent.  Ms. Paul is an intern at the health and wellness center here.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Tanya Paul helps Staff Sgt. Lacretia Wiseman try out the fatal-vision goggles. The goggles can simulate vision at a blood alcohol content of 0.08 to 0.15 percent. Ms. Paul is an intern at the health and wellness center here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN) -- If you think it is OK to drive after having a few beers, fatal-vision goggles may change your view.

Tanya Paul, an intern at the health and wellness center here, developed a program called BE AWARE (Basic Education of Alcohol: What to drink, Ability to drive, Risk and Effects). It is designed to educate Airmen and the community on the effects of alcohol through special eyewear.

“The goggles simulate a person having different blood alcohol content levels,” Ms. Paul said. “When you’re impaired by alcohol, it blurs and distorts your vision, so you think you’re walking on the line (in front of you), but you’re not actually walking on the line. When you give someone a high-five, you both have blurred vision so participants usually miss each other’s hands.”

The goggles can simulate a blood alcohol content of 0.08 (equivalent to the average person having three beers) to 0.15 (equivalent to the average person having six to seven beers) to help Airmen see the serious impact of alcohol consumption.

“You may think ‘Oh, my vision isn’t that messed up when I drink,’ but it is, and you don’t realize it because your brain is also impaired,” said Ms. Paul, a 22-year-old East Carolina University graduate. “I try to make people realize that if you can’t pick up a ball, or if you can’t walk a straight line, just imagine trying to drive a car.”

During her nearly three-month internship, Ms. Paul worked with the life-skills center staff to brief first-term Airmen on alcohol awareness.

The wellness center staff purchased the $1,000 goggles to use as an educational tool to raise people’s awareness and lower DUI occurrences.

“It’s a great way to bring such a serious issue to people’s attention,” said Bridget Zimmerman, director of the wellness center. “People think they can drink and drive, and it won’t affect them -- especially young people. This program is a great way to show them that’s not true.”

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