Veterans, we salute you and thank you for your service to our great country.
You are here because you have lost all or a significant portion of your eyesight, and you recognize there is work to be done and skills to be gained before you will re-enter the workforce. We at CareerConnect want you to know what this road to rehabilitation can look like and what vision rehabilitation services you are entitled to receive.
The first step of successful rehabilitation after vision loss is emotionally coping with your loss of vision. Coping may feel alien and unattainable and might seem to gloss over the depth and complexity of your loss, weariness, disappointment, fear, resentment, and rage.
We don’t want you to gloss over those feelings—alternatively, we want you to identify and press into them. The road to emotional coping begins with permitting oneself to grieve. And please, please, don’t run from the grieving process. Go there, even though it’s temporarily easier to avoid. Recognize and sit with those dark emotions, those visitors; otherwise, they’ll become permanent house guests.
To help you identify your emotions, it would be wise to utilize counseling at a Blind Veterans Association and to engage with others who are visually impaired by finding a local service provider who hosts support groups. Additionally, to give you confidence in your future, it would be wise to meet well-adjusted individuals who happen to be blind or visually impaired and to acknowledge the success stories of blind veterans who are confidently and competently working.
The second step of successful rehabilitation involves moving forward with vision rehabilitation services—mastering independent living skills, reading/writing, travel skills, and career tasks with the use of your remaining senses and accommodations. And just what vision rehabilitation services are offered for our US veterans?
You’ll want to learn available services by reading the document, Veterans Health Administration Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which address the following topics:
Overview of Blind Rehabilitation Service
Blind Rehabilitation Service and Centers
Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists
Visual Impairment Service Team Coordinators
Nationwide Vision Rehabilitation System
Intermediate Low Vision Clinics
Advanced Low Vision Clinics
Visual Impairment Services Outpatient Program
Eligibility for Health Services
Applying for Health Benefits
Does Vision Loss Have to Be Service-Related
Veterans Administration Resources
This tour is a marathon and not a sprint, and we’re here for you along the way.