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VICTORS: Caring for Veterans with significant visual impairment

Dr. Kataria Chanpreet conducts an eye exam for Navy Veteran Walter Vicaut.

The Visual Impairment Center to Optimize Remaining Sight (VICTORS) concept was developed by VA Directors of Optometry, Blind Rehabilitation and Social Work Services to complement existing inpatient Blind Rehabilitation Centers (BRCs).

The BRCs care for Veterans with significant visual impairment (20/70 to 20/200 or worse visual acuity and/or significant visual field loss).

The interdisciplinary VICTORS outpatient program represents a unique team approach to vision rehabilitation using the disciplines of optometry, ophthalmology, social work, psychology and low vision therapists.

There are limited VICTOR programs located in the VA Network, and Northport VA welcomes the opportunity to provide this service.

Pictured above, Dr. Danielle Kalberer operates a CCTV camera that enables Veterans who are visually impaired to view everyday objects.

Advanced optometric services for visually impaired Veterans

The Low Vision and VICTORS clinic at Northport provides advanced optometric services, rehabilitation devices, and training for visually impaired Veterans. This type of evaluation involves an extended optometry exam and evaluation by a Blind Rehabilitation Specialist.

It may also involve an evaluation of a Veteran’s residence, if applicable, to evaluate for safety and make recommendations to improve activities of daily life.

This clinic is recommended for patients with low vision (visual difficulties that cannot be ameliorated with traditional spectacle correction) or blindness. Conditions causing visual impairment may include macular degeneration, hereditary retinal conditions or advanced glaucoma.

Magnifiers, sensory aids, electronic devices

In addition to glasses correction, Veterans will be evaluated for other assistive devices. Those devices include magnifiers, sensory aids and electronic devices.

BROS stands for Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists. Mobility training provided by BROS can be integrated into the treatment plan if vision loss makes ambulation for a Veteran difficult or unsafe. There is also rehabilitative training for functional activities such as cooking, writing and adaptive methods for daily living.

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