Vision Assistance For Veterans With Sight Problems
The military brings a lot of challenge both during and after service. Strains on body and mind can be seen in veterans as they transition to civilian life, and among many of the problems is weakened or strained eyesight. If your vision hasn't been the same since you left the military, or if you're dealing with a vision impairment claim that isn't going as well as you'd like, consider a few ways that an eye exam and an optometrist's assistance could help.
What Do Eyesight Problems Have To Do With The Military?
Although eyesight weakens as a part of life, there are many hazards that can lead to faster vision loss that come from military service.
Whether you're looking long distances for a target or staring at a screen in a completely darkened operations room, your eyes could have been forced to strain as a matter of doing your duty--or as a matter of survival. There are many occupational risks in the military that lead to vision problems, but it's hard to know how much your vision is affected without an eye exam.
There are also direct, immediate damages to vision that should demand attention. If you've been subjected to bright flashes of light for long periods of time due to explosions, maintenance lights or welding, you may have a severe vision loss problem that needs medical attention.
Debris can lead to abrasions on the eye, which can create a problem that becomes physically worse if not treated. Although there are many sources of debris, modern military service-members during the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) generations of warfare are subjected to combat and operational risks with sand. Sand from high winds (especially when conflict enters a sandstorm area) can lead to abrasions if not protected, which can be difficult to defend against at short notice for people not accustomed to desert climates.
How Can An Optometrist Help?
You'll need more than a basic eye exam, although that's an important place to start. If you suspect that your vision is worse because of military service, you need to be filing a disability compensation claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (also known as the VA).
The VA provides compensation for veterans with service-connected conditions. The term service-connected means that your condition can be linked to military service in any way, shape or form. The previous section detailed a few combat and occupational risks, but it's possible to suffer from these problems while off duty, on leave or even when back home in the US. As long as you were still in the military when the condition was caused, you have a reason to file a claim.
If you already have glasses, you're not disqualified from complaining about vision problems. If you can prove that your vision was made considerably worse during the military, compensation may be greater.
An optometrist can perform an eye exam and continued analysis of your vision to see how deep the problem really is. You'll need a lot of documentation to prove that you have a current vision problem, and an optometrist's analysis can bring a lot of evidence that could bring you closer to compensation.
Once in the VA compensation system, you can even be referred to the optometrist who helped you by filing a form and sending it to the optometrist. Prescription contact options, glasses and other vision care products can be handled with the cost covered by the VA. Contact a vision care professional to learn more.