The technology underlying night vision goggles (NVGs) enhances human ability to operate in dark and low-light conditions. However, NVG-aided vision is limited relative to daylight human vision and may entail risks. This review focuses on NVGs with image intensifier technology and explores the impact of their use on human performance. The review covers technology and device characteristics (image quality and field of view), physical configuration (ocular configuration, NVG weight, and forward center of gravity), and contextual and environmental factors (mission and task aspects, lighting, weather, and terrain). The key human factors in NVG use are visual and cognitive performance (visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, stereopsis and depth perception, distance and size estimation, spatial orientation, and situation awareness), and physical and physiological aspects (neck strain and injuries, and headaches). Understanding technology and contextual factors and their influence on human factors is critical to improving performance and safety with NVGs. Technology and device improvements, along with appropriate mission planning and training, play a critical role in aided night vision performance.

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Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics
Department of Psychology

Parush, A, Gauthier, M.S. (Michelle S.), Arseneau, L. (Lise), & Tang, D. (Denis). (2011). The Human Factors of Night Vision Goggles: Perceptual, Cognitive, and Physical Factors. Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics. doi:10.1177/1557234X11410392