Q: Do you know of any studies that have been published into the effects of airbag deployment on drivers or passengers wearing glasses? Could the airbag damage spectacles and so cause the wearer facial or eye injuries? R Buckingham
A: One study, ‘Ocular injuries associated with eyeglass wear and airbag inflation’, has been published in the US. However, the injuries examined were largely due to a low incidence of seatbelt wearing, thereby increasing the force with which the injured person impacted on the airbag.
Unrestrained drivers and passengers are more at risk from all injuries, whether they are wearing glasses or not. In cars without airbags, rib and cheek fractures are more common, particularly among non-seatbelt wearers. Airbags can substantially reduce the risk of injury, but they are most effective when used with, not instead of, a seatbelt. You should also make sure your seat is a safe distance from the wheel. If used properly, an airbag should not pose a greater risk to any of the car’ occupants.