Diagnosed with Macular Degeneration… Now What (4 of 12) – VA Hospital
So, you have been diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, now what? Many, when being told they have Macular Degeneration, inaccurately hear, “I’m going blind”, and that can feel like your whole world is collapsing.
It is extremely rare to go completely blind from Macular Degeneration, whether you have either the wet or dry type. If someone tells you that nothing more can be done, that can be very depressing and is often not completely correct. What matters is a better understanding of how to navigate the landscape of the professionals who can assist you with adapting to a world of vision loss.
By the way…. congratulations, you have now become a carpenter! Yes, a carpenter…meaning you now need to assemble a new toolbox of 12-24 new ‘vision-loss’ tools to help you with seeing both near, intermediary and distance objects.
In this 12-part Macular Degeneration Low Vision Guide, I have outlined ideas for you or a loved one to consider when diagnosed Macular Degeneration. It is important to note that not all these action steps are required, but they should be given strong consideration.
#4: VA Hospital – Are you a Veteran?
Are you a veteran? If so, then your visual impairment qualifies you to receive amazing benefits not found anywhere else other than the VA. All your care, including technology, is covered by the VA as an earned benefit.
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) recognizes the importance of providing blind and low vision rehabilitation care to Veterans. The VA offers a wide variety of services along the continuum of visual impairment ranging from primary eye and low vision care to Visual Impairment Center to Optimize Remaining Sight (VICTORS) programs and Blind Rehabilitation Centers (BRCs).
Optometrists strive to help visually impaired Veterans maintain functionality and independence by addressing visual problems, determining goals, and evaluating specialized devices to aid Veterans in achieving their goals.
The VA recognizes that vision loss can have a significant impact on a veteran’s ability to perform the routine activities of daily living. Functional losses may include decreased ability to read or recognize faces, difficulty paying bills, writing checks and taking care of personal finances, difficulty watching television, cooking, and participating in hobbies or avocational activities.
Vision loss can have a profound effect on mobility, with the loss of ability to drive, or worse, the loss of safe ambulation. A significant problem for elderly Veterans may be the inability to self-medicate because of the difficulty in reading the labels on medicine bottles.
A variety of low vision devices may be prescribed for the visually impaired Veteran, including specialized lens designs and prescriptions, illuminated and non-illuminated stand, pocket and handheld magnifiers, prismatic eyeglasses, telescopes, special lighting, tints and filters, non-optical devices, and electronic video magnification technology such as Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) and head-mounted displays.
Scott V. Krug is the President of New England Low Vision and Blindness, a company located in New England, and specializes in bringing hope to people who are low vision or blind through technology, training, and care. Scott has been working in the field of technology and optics for people who are low vision or blind since 1992. Website: NELowVision.com or Twitter: @svkrug