Holographic filters for protection against visible-wavelength lasers offer potentially high visual transmittance owing to a narrow spectral notch, but the angular dependence of the spectral notch position dictates a trade-off between eye protection and visual transmittance. The fundamental physical properties and design parameters of holographic filters are discussed. The relative merits of various exposure and substrate configurations for laser-protective eyewear are compared. Emphasis is placed on single-beam exposure, surface-conformal fringe structures in which the local Bragg angle is determined by the fringe spacing as opposed to the fringe tilt. This type of hologram is readily made free from flare or multiple images in transmission. Performance is evaluated in terms of visual transmittance versus eye protection, including retinal area and eye rotation. The relationship between angular and spectral response of holographic laser filters determines the exposure source for optimum performance to be roughly coincident with the center of eye rotation, regardless of the substrate geometry. Performance may be improved by locating the filters a greater distance from the eye. A more dramatic improvement in performance may be achieved by increasing the curvature of the substrate so that it is concentric with the eye.