Are you a U.S. veteran suffering from vision problems or diagnosed with loss of vision partially or completely? If yes, then you are in the right place, as this post will provide you valuable information on visual impairment solutions for veterans in 2021.
What is Visual Impairment?
According to experts vision impairment refers to any kind of loss of vision. Whether you can see partially or cannot see at all, both scenarios fall in the visual impairment diagnosis. Additionally, visual impairment not only covers people suffering from complete blindness but those declared legally blind.
If your field of vision in the better eye is less than 20 degrees or if your vision is 20/200 or lesser, then you are legally blind. This means if you need to see an object 200 ft away from you, you will not be able to see it until you stand only 20 feet away from it.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, if you are active-duty personnel or a veteran with low vision or blindness, you may be eligible to receive advanced vision care and/or rehabilitation services.
Does VA offer Any Visual Impairment Solutions for Veterans?
Yes, VA offers a variety of low vision and blind rehabilitation services for U.S. veterans and these are as follows.
You may be eligible to get a vision-enhancing device such as electronic mobility devices, electric reading machines, etc. You will also get free training on how to use these devices and technologies.
You may receive training to learn new visual skills to improve your quality of life and personal everyday tasks such as cooking, reading, writing, and managing your medications, etc.
VA also offers sensory training that helps you learn how to use your other senses such as touch and hearing.
You may also receive training to help you learn to create mental maps. This is known as mobility and orientation training with a core purpose to boost your confidence when navigating the outside world.
VA also teaches you strategies to restore your communication skills via writing or a computer.
There are group therapies and counseling sessions available for the veterans to learn how to
cope with visual impairment.
Your family members may also be eligible to get help and learn who they can support you adjust
to your blindness or visual impairment.
If needed you may also be eligible to receive care in an inpatient clinic or outpatient setting. These options allow you to stay at a care facility full-time but only for a short time period.
Solution Available for Visually Impaired Veterans
It is a 2 weeks vision and blind rehabilitation program that provides overnight accommodations to active duty members and veterans with visual impairment looking for lodging. However, VISOR requires you to be able to perform your basic day-to-day activities independently including self-medication. VISOR also offers training in communication, computer use and performing your daily activities.
If basic low vision services by VA are not enough, you can opt for VA’s Intermediate and Advanced Low Vision Clinics.” They provide full-spectrum vision enhancement devices, clinical examination, and specialized training.
This is a residential inpatient program that offers comprehensive training to veterans to adjust to their blindness. Blind Rehabilitation Centers or BRCs offer a myriad of skill courses to help you achieve a practical level of independence.
The skills you will learn in this rehab program include mobility and orientation, how to perform your daily activities, communication skills, visual skills, manual skills, and computer skills.
Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists are professionals offering a variety of blindness rehab services as visual impairment solutions for veterans. If you are a visually impaired veteran, BROS will serve you at your home, clinics, VA medical centers, worksites, college or university, and even in any long-term care environment.
You will also receive pre and post blindness rehabilitation training with this service. Additionally, your family can also receive to help you cope with your vision loss.
VICTORS is a concept by BRCs to help U.S. veterans suffering from significant vision loss or vision impairment i.e., 20/70 to 20/200. This program uses a unique approach towards visual rehabilitation by combining various disciplines. These include social work, optometry, ophthalmology, low vision therapy, and psychology.
VICTORS will provide you vision loss rehabilitation via function visual evaluation, counseling, and definitive medical diagnosis. They may even prescribe a low vision aid, device, or technology and train you to use it.
- Technology /Devices
Thanks to the era of technical evolution and innovation we live in, you can use a wide range of devices as visual impairment solutions for veterans. Vision Buddy is one of the leading visual impairment devices you can get in the market today.
You can connect Vision Buddy to your TV cable box via HDMI port and enjoy its features. The device is compatible with Apple TV, Comcast, and Cox, etc. Once connected you can turn on the vision buddy headsets. You will be able to connect to the streamer the moment your headphones are on, and now you can start enjoying live videos.
In case you wish to switch channels, simply use your TV’s or cable box’s remote to do so. This innovative visual impairment solution is the most budget-friendly option available for veterans in 2021.
- Guide Dogs
As a veteran suffering from visual impairment you can request the VA to provide you with a guide dog. However, VA does not provide a guide dog directly but coordinates with other agencies to get you one.
If you are a U.S veteran suffering from partial or full blindness, you may be eligible for any or all of the above-mentioned visual impairment solutions for veterans. However, it is entirely up to and your individual circumstance and visual health to determine which of the above are more suitable and applicable to you.
Therefore, understand your full diagnosis of visual impairment and what your needs are will help you make a well-informed and better decision to live a quality life.