Protecting Soldiers' Sight
North American Precis Syndicate
Protecting So Idiers’ Sight (NAPSA)—Aunique medical registry may help many of the thousands of American soldiers who have sustained eye injuries receive better care. t Called the Military Eye Trauma Center of Excellence and Eye Trauma Registry, the center would create a military eye-injury registry that would analyze and track injuries, as well as the resultant care veteransreceive. “The idea is that by tracking eye injuries in one spot, we'll be able to coordinate a seamless transition of care for the injured, possibly improving outcomes,” says Dr. Norman Jones Jr., national president of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), a group that spearheaded legislation calling for the eye center. Filling A Need Dr. Jones says his group has called for improved care for years. Between March 2003 and Septem- ber 2007, 1,126 individuals with eye injuries—active duty, National Guard or reservists—were transferred from field surgical hospitals to stateside Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs). Some of these wounded have then moved back and forth from trauma centers to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Blind Rehabilita- tion Centers, and in some cases, back to MTFs for further surgery and rehabilitation— before being sent to medical evaluation boards. “As they moved from military to VA care, many wounded per- sonnel were not experiencing a seamless transition of care, which affects the quality of their treatment and rehabilitation,” explains Dr. Jones. “Now, a rr} 6 a | . Blinded veterans meet with Senator John Kerry, who co-spon- sored the bill creating a registry for eye-injured service members. when a soldier is injured, the Department of Defense will enter him or her in the Eye Trauma Registry and the care will be bet- ter monitored, more streamlined and more effective.” Making A Difference Dr. Jones says BVA hasfield offices throughout the country that—in addition to lobbying for veteran rights—provide advice, information and aid to blinded veterans and their families. Field service representatives— all of whom are blinded veterans themselves—serve as role models and link veterans with services, rehabilitation opportunities, training and employment. They also represent them in the VA claims process and provide other emotional support. There is no charge for any service provided by the organization and all legally blinded veterans are eligible for assistance, regardless of when they lost their vision—during their service or afterward. To learn more,visit www.bva.org or call (800) 669-7079.
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)