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Rep. Boozman, AOA Officials Tour Military Eye Care Facilities at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Date:5/20/2008

the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for each serious eye injury received by any member of the armed forces while serving on active duty. The new law also calls for a patient-centered joint initiative to respond to visual dysfunction related to TBI between DoD and VA health officials and facilities.

"Traumatic Brain Injury has become the hallmark injury among America's wounded warriors returning home from the front-lines of our current conflicts," said Rep. Boozman. "The treatment of TBI, and the vision issues deriving from it, is important work that the DoD and the VA should work together and provide leadership on. Genuine coordination between the two is vital to ensuring effective treatment for our men and women who wear, and who have worn, the uniform, including those that have suffered serious eye injuries," Rep. Boozman added.

By some estimates, more than half of all service personnel wounded as a result of blast exposure in Iraq have sustained a TBI, although the overall incidence of TBI in all wounded soldiers remains to be determined. In previous wars when blast exposure was thought to be a less common cause of survivable injury, including Korea and Vietnam, overall TBI rates in injured soldiers have been estimated at about 20 percent or less.

According to the VA, more than 70 percent of service members treated for TBI at their Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center in Palo Alto, CA have developed vision dysfunction, while it has been reported in the past that over half of those treated for TBI at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center have developed vision-related complications. TBI is a type of severe blast injury in which the eyes do not necessarily suffer cuts or contusions but often severe brain concussion affects nerve pathways related to sight.

The AOA, the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) and the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) strongly supported the enactment of Rep. Boozman's bill, and urged congression
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SOURCE American Optometric Association
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