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Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST)

The Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) is a group of allied health care professionals dedicated to connecting visually impaired Veterans with a variety of services available within the VA and the Veterans community.

What is VIST?

VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System healthcare professionals work to assist Veterans whose vision loss impacts their activities of daily living, and helps the Veterans and their families cope with the functional and emotional issues associated with vision loss. 

VIST program objectives are to identify and inform eligible Veterans about services and benefits, to ensure that health care and rehabilitation services to these Veterans are made available and to help them cope with vision loss.  

VIST Services

The most important service offered to visually impaired Veterans is the Annual VIST Review. This yearly examination assesses the Veteran's adjustment to sight loss, current vision, hearing, and overall health condition. Based on the information collected during the VIST review, Veterans may be referred for training and/or service to help address their needs. The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System also offers benefit reviews, support groups, community activities, and presentations to agencies regarding vision loss. Many of the rehabilitation programs offered at the VA assess, train and issue Veterans with vision loss adaptive items which may include magnification devices, a large print or talking computer system, adaptive technology, canes, watches, talking paper currency identifiers, audible prescription readers, and adapted recreational equipment.

Who We Serve

Referrals to the VIST program can be made by interested individual, family member, eye care specialist, or agency representative.  Services are available to any eligible Veteran with an honorable or general discharge from the military and any active duty Service Member diagnosed as legally blind or having a severe functional vision loss.

Legal blindness is defined as central visual acuity of 20/200 in the better eye, and a field defect where the peripheral field at its widest tested diameter is less than 20 degrees.

Referral Services 

Referrals for services may include, but are not limited to:

Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service (PSAS)Veterans are often issued prosthetic/blind aids which may include optical devices such as hand magnifiers, electronic magnifiers such as CCTV, large print or talking computer systems, canes, talking watches, audible prescription readers, adapted recreational devices or other assistive devices based on assessments by blind rehabilitation professionals.  

Connect with a care coordinator  

Rich Alden

Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator

VA Ann Arbor health care

Phone: 734-845-3934

Email: richard.alden@va.gov

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