Veterans' Services and Other Resources
Legislation, programs, services, and recreational opportunities for veterans who are blind, have low vision, are visually impaired, or disabled.
- AFB's Directory of Services—You may not realize how many helpful services are available. Servicemen and their family members can search for local agencies that can help.
- Blinded Veterans Association—The Blinded Veterans Association is an organization specifically established to promote the welfare of blinded veterans and offers many services to help veterans and their families meet the challenges of blindness. BVA was and is the only veterans' service organization exclusively dedicated to serving America's blind and visually impaired veterans.
- Cortical Visual Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Neurological Vision Loss—Information about vision loss caused by damage to the brain rather than by conditions or diseases of the eye. As wounded soldiers who have survived grievous injury fighting foreign wars have returned to this country, the incidence of visual impairment tied to neurological causes has risen in the United States. Cortical visual impairment (CVI), and cerebral visual impairment (CVI), are terms often used to describe visual impairment that occurs because of injury or damage to the brain, as are neurological vision loss, brain-damage-related visual impairment, and vision loss due to traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center—The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) is a part of the U.S. military health system. Specifically, it is the TBI operational component of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). Founded in 1992 by Congress, DVBIC's responsibilities have grown as its network of care and treatment sites has grown.
- Disabled American Veterans—With more than 1.4 million members, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is an organization of disabled veterans who are focused on building better lives for disabled veterans and their families. DAV provides free assistance to veterans in obtaining benefits and services earned through their military service. It is fully funded through membership dues and public contributions. It is not a government agency and receives no government funds. DAV's largest endeavor is the National Voluntary Service Program. In 88 offices, a corps of 260 National Service Officers (NSOs) and 26 Transition Service Officers (TSOs) directly represent veterans with claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. This free service is available to all veterans.
- Mental Health Support/Veterans Crisis Line—Many veterans with polytrauma injuries also need mental health support. If you or someone you know is having trouble readjusting to civilian life, is having trouble sleeping, or is experiencing mood swings, depression, or other signs of extreme stress, this crisis line offers free or low-cost assistance and care. For immediate help, call the National Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your call is confidential and can also be anonymous. Or, you may have a confidential online conversation with a professional on the National Veterans Crisis Line Web Chat site
- National Association of Blind Veterans—The National Association of Blind Veterans (NABV) is a group of veterans whose blindness is both service-connected and not service-connected, and who are concerned about the welfare and well-being of other blind veterans. NABV is a division of the National Federation of the Blind.
- Polytrauma System of Care (PSC)—The Polytrauma System of Care (PSC) consists of 5 regional TBI/Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (PRC) located in Richmond, VA; Tampa, FL; Minneapolis, MN; and Palo Alto, CA, and San Antonio, TX. As veterans recover and transition closer to their homes, the PSC continues to provide a continuum of integrated care through 4 Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Programs (PTRP), 23 Polytrauma Network Sites (PNS), 87 Polytrauma Support Clinic Teams (PSCT), and 38 Polytrauma Points of Contact (POC), located at VA medical centers across the country.
- Southeastern Guide Dogs Paws for Patriots Program—The Paws for Patriots Program provides guide dogs to blinded soldiers and places therapy dogs at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The program also places companion and therapy dogs with soldiers.
- Sun Valley Adaptive Sports—Sun Valley Adaptive Sports (SVAS) offers programs for children, teens, adults, and veterans that cover a wide range of disabilities: physical, emotional, developmental, and learning. Programs include alpine skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, biking, running, martial arts, skeet shooting, fly-fishing, yoga, theater, swimming, and hot springs. SVAS also offers a special skiing program for blind veterans who have been wounded in Iraq. All programs are free to participants.
- TCAssociates—TCoombs & Associates LLC is an 8(a) certified, Service Disabled Veteran (SDV) owned small business, home-based in the Washington DC Metro area. It is owned and managed by a group of experienced veterans, and supported by other IT, telecommunications, security, healthcare, and logistics professionals. TCAssociates sells a full range of products to assist blind/low vision, deaf/hard of hearing, and physically impaired individuals. They also provide on- and off-site training for software and products developed to assist people with disabilities.
- United States Department of Veterans' Affairs—The mission of the Veterans' Healthcare System (VHA) is to serve the needs of America's veterans by providing primary care, specialized care, and related medical and social support services. Approximately a quarter of the nation's population—approximately 70 million people—are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members, or survivors of veterans.The mission of the VA Blind Rehabilitation Service is to coordinate a healthcare service delivery system that provides a continuum of care for blinded veterans extending from their home environment to the local VA facility and to the appropriate rehabilitation setting.
- Wounded Warrior Project—Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) serves military service members who incurred service-connected wounds, injuries, or illnesses on or after September 11, 2001 and their families. With advancements in battlefield medicine and body armor, an unprecedented percentage of service members are surviving severe wounds or injuries. With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury—from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.
- Lights Out: Veteran, Joe Hobson, Offers His Account of Suddenly Losing His Vision
This is the personal account of a veteran who lost his vision later in life suddenly from a rare eye condition but for whom the military has been an important force in his life.