Military service takes a toll on a person's health and well-being. Whether your military service meant forging forward through sandy winds or staring at a poorly adjusted computer screen for 12-hour shifts, your vision could be deteriorating rapidly as a result of your service. If the nearest Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital is too far or doesn't have a good enough selection of vision care products, consider a few ways that a civilian vision professional could help you.
How Can Military Service Affect Vision?
Although the military maintains a series of safe practices to keep its greatest assets--the military service-members--in fighting shape, there are many hazards that can't be avoided in the line of duty.
As of 2015, many military service-members have been deployed to parts of the world that have more sand and dust particles in the air than they may be used to in the United States. Without being used to the climate or having constant eye protection, these service-members can suffer from corneal injuries in a moment's notice.
Whether because of sandstorms or rubbing your eyes with a natural amount of sand in the way, the sand can lead to significant damage that can severely limit your vision.
If you have to stare at computer screens, radar systems or other fine print in limited light, the constant eye strain can lead to vision problems as well. Although computer screen staring isn't a problem limited to the military, the other conditions such as low light or obscured vision due to deployment situations can make the problem worse.
Civilian Vision Assistance Through VA References
As a veteran, you're entitled to disability compensation as long as you have a condition that is service-connected. This means an injury or condition that was caused by military service or made worse because of service. Your disability doesn't need to be specifically related to vision problems; as long as you have some sort of disability, you're entitled to the entire disability benefits package.
With VA disability benefits, you can ask for a referral to a vision care professional of your choice if the VA is unable to assist you in your specific needs. This option is especially important for rural veterans or veterans who are physically unable to visit a distant VA hospital.
If you don't qualify for benefits, but believe your condition should be eligible for VA disability, an optometrist can help. Explain your situation at a care clinic like Las Vegas Family Eye Care so that you can support your claim with an eye exam. The vision care professional can review previous reports of vision problems and injury in order to give an opinion that can make your claim stronger.