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Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services

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About Blind Rehabilitation Service

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides Blind and Visual Impairment Rehabilitation Services to eligible Veterans and active duty Service members with a visual impairment. Veterans Health Administration is the first and only national healthcare system to completely and seamlessly integrate rehabilitation services for patients with vision loss into its health benefits. This ensures that patients receive the finest medical and rehabilitation care, as well as cutting-edge assistive technology.

There are more than one million Veterans in the United States who have vision loss that cannot be corrected with regular eyeglasses which can cause a loss of ability to perform necessary daily activities. Numbers of Veterans with visual impairment are expected to increase in the years ahead as more Veterans develop vision loss from age-related diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

BRS Continuum of Care programs serve Veterans and eligible active duty Service members with visual impairments, ranging from earliest vision loss to total blindness.

Blind Rehabilitation Service Continuum of Care

Rehabilitation in BRS is Veteran-centered and interdisciplinary, developing and deploying integrated plans of care that address the Veterans’ needs and goals to guide service delivery. BRS programs provide a model of care that extends from the Veteran's community home environment to the local VHA care site, the regional Advanced and Intermediate low vision clinics, the VISOR outpatient programs and inpatient Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC) training programs.

Research and Clinical Evaluation Programs

The VA has consistently been a leader in development of sensory and prosthetic research, and each Blind Rehabilitation Center is actively involved in research, development and evaluation of devices. Many devices that were involved in research programs in past years are now part of the regular and special rehabilitation programs at the Blind Rehabilitation Centers. As new devices are developed that may assist people with visual impairment, the VA will be among the first to evaluate them.

Returning Service members

The BRS continuum of care provides capacity to serve Veterans and Service members returning from service with wounds and trauma that result in blindness and visual impairment. The VA has a longstanding memorandum of agreement with the Department Defense to provide specialized rehabilitation for active duty Service Members who become visually impaired and are in need of specialized care. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may affect the visual pathway, visual cortex, and/or pathways that connect the eyes to cortical visual centers in the brain. Injuries to either the eyes or brain may result in vision loss.

Every VA Medical Center has a Post 9/11 Transition & Care Management Team to assist returning Service members and Veterans. The program offers transitional assistance, case management and outreach services to all Veterans who have served after September 11, 2001 in their transition to civilian life. For more information about the various programs available for recent returning service members, log on to the Returning Service members web site.

Adaptive Equipment and Technology

Blind Rehabilitation Service Veterans are provided with the adaptive equipment and technology they need to regain and maintain their independence. Approved equipment and technology is provided by VA Prosthetics Service at no cost to the patient.

How to Get Help for Your Vision Loss

Veterans and active duty Service members with vision loss that cannot be corrected with regular eyeglasses and who are having difficulty with one or more tasks should contact the VIST Coordinator in the VA medical center nearest their home. Information can also be obtained by contacting the Blind Rehabilitation Service Program office at (202) 461-7317 or:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration
Blind Rehabilitation Service
810 Vermont Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20420

To schedule an eye exam, contact your nearest VA medical facility. To find the VA medical center closest to you, use VA's facility locator. Simply enter your ZIP code and a list of the nearest health care facilities will be at your fingertips.

For additional information about vision care services provided by VA, visit the VA Optometry/Ophthalmology Website for an overview of the services that are provided.