National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment (NTAC-BVI)

NTAC-BVI
Mississippi State University

Blinded Veterans' Programs

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides blind and vision rehabilitation programs to eligible Veterans and active duty Servicemembers who are visually impaired. Veterans Health Administration is the first national healthcare system to completely and seamlessly integrate rehabilitation services for patients with visual impairments into its health benefits. This ensures that patients receive the finest medical and rehabilitation care, as well as cutting-edge assistive technology. Some of the provided services are detailed below. The entire VA Federal Benefits booklet, and other VA information, is available online at: http://www.va.gov/. For detailed information concerning their model of care go to: www.rehab.va.gov/PROSTHETICS/blindrehab/BRS_Coordinated_Care.asp. To get information related to vision care not provided by VA's Blind Rehabilitation Service, visit the VA's Optometry/Ophthalmology Service website at http://www.va.gov/optometry/. If you are interested in scheduling an eye examination, find the nearest VA medical center using the VA's facility locator (http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp?isFlash=1). When you enter your ZIP code, a list of the nearest health care facilities will be at your fingertips.

Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinators

The Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinators are case managers who have responsibility for the coordination of services for severely disabled visually impaired Veterans and active duty Service members. VIST coordinator duties include providing and/or arranging the provision of appropriate treatment in order to enhance functioning such as making referrals to Blind Rehabilitation Centers, Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Services, VICTORS, VISOR, and low vision clinics. Other VIST coordinator duties include identifying newly identified individuals who have severely disabling visual impairment, providing counseling, problem resolution, arranging a review of benefits and needed services, and conducting educational and outreach programs relating to VIST and blindness.

Veterans and eligible active duty Servicemembers should contact the VIST Coordinator (click here for a spreadsheet of all coordinators) in the VA facility nearest their home, or by contacting the Blind Rehabilitation Service Program office at (202) 461-7317.

Intermediate Low Vision Clinics

The Intermediate Low Vision Clinics focus on effective use of remaining vision through the development and use of visual motor and visual perceptual skills. Assessment and instruction with special optical and electronic devices is provided. Each patient attending the program receives a comprehensive eye examination by a low vision eye care specialist, and a thorough visual skills assessment. Therapy may employ the use of visual and ergonomic equipment and new visual skills to address routine daily tasks such as reading, writing, managing medications, cooking, and locating and reading signs.

Vision Impairment Services in Outpatient Rehabilitation (VISOR) Programs

These programs provide short-term (about 2 weeks) blind and vision rehabilitation. They provide comfortable overnight accommodations for Veterans and active duty Service members who are visually impaired and require lodging. Those who attend VISOR must be able to perform basic activities of daily living independently, including the ability to appropriately manage medicines.

Blind Rehabilitation Centers

The Blind Rehabilitation Centers (BRC) are residential inpatient programs that provide comprehensive adjustment to blindness training and serve as a resource to a geographic area usually comprised of several states. BRCs offer a variety of skill courses designed to help blinded Veterans achieve a realistic level of independence.

NRTC

Address:
P. O. Box 6189
Mississippi State, MS 39762

Phone:
662-325-2001
800-675-7782

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Funded by:
Funded by the United States Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) Grant #H133B10022.
GRANT 90RT5040-01-00