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Becoming Aware of Veterans' Vision Needs
Date:5/18/2009

"In this war, blast injuries have become the signature injuries. These can cause damage to the eye. They can also cause damage to the visual system and the visual processing centers of the brain... many soldiers don't even realize something's wrong with them."

Gregory Goodrich, Ph.D., Veterans' Administration Research Psychologist, on specific injuries of the IRAQ war

MOHEGAN LAKE, N.Y., May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The journey home is a bittersweet time for all war veterans, yet soldiers with vision loss face an additional set of unique challenges. Combat-related injuries take an immediate toll on many returning veterans, but are not the only source of vision loss. Long after active service is over, many older veterans may experience cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. In addition, systemic diseases like diabetes and hypertension can play a large part in compromising the quality and clarity of vision.

VisionAWARE.org, a FREE not-for-profit online resource center, can help veterans who are blind or have low vision and their families continue to lead satisfying, enriched lives by providing helpful resources and practical, everyday hints and adaptations. 24/7, the site offers information about a wide range of vision rehabilitation services; many of which are also designed to help veterans cope with the emotional aspects of vision loss. Details are provided on how to re-adapt life skills, train for a new job, and utilize adaptive computer, low vision, and daily living devices.

If you, or someone you know, are one of the many veterans struggling with vision loss, you're certainly not alone. Log on to VisionAWARE.org for detailed information on:

  • Direct links to the sites of the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs, Blinded Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans, and National Association of Blind Veterans.
  • Scheduling a low vision examination to determine whether special low vision optical devices, better lighting, or other types of training can help you use your functional vision more effectively.
  • Vision rehabilitation services, such as Orientation and Mobility and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy that can restore everyday functioning after vision loss, just as physical therapy restores function after a stroke or other injury.
  • Self-help vision loss support groups and self-study options that can help veterans and their families cope with the emotional impact of vision loss.
  • Employment resources and information, legal rights, workplace assistive technology, and employment support groups.
  • The VisionAWARE Bookstore, which contains descriptions of, and links to, publications specific to blindness and low vision, including biographies and autobiographies of people who have successfully coped with vision loss.
  • The VisionAWARE "My Story" series, which provides real-life interviews with men and women who are blind or have low vision.

VisionAWARE.org, a program of AWARE, is a not-for-profit organization funded by the Reader's Digest Partners for Sight Foundation. For more information, go to VisionAWARE.org or call 914-528-5120.


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SOURCE VisionAWARE.org
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