Eye problems are a common result of military service. As of 2018, over 250,000 veterans were receiving some degree of disability compensation. Eye conditions could be caused by injuries, exposure of some kind, illnesses, diseases, or complications from medication for service-related medical conditions. Many eye problems are secondary conditions or are related to injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In fact, 75% of veterans with TBI experience visual problems and may not know they are connected to their service-related injury.
The VA offers veterans more than just compensation for eye problems. Eligible veterans may also receive eyeglasses, eye care, and necessary medical interventions.
Conditions that May Cause Eye Problems
If you develop any eye problems during service, the condition will be considered service-related. If you have eye problems after service, you will need to determine some form of connection to your service in order to receive compensation. That connection may be primary (direct), secondary (caused by a service-related injury), or a symptom of a larger condition (such as TBI). Some causes of eye problems may include but are not limited to:
- Exposure to chemicals, living conditions, pressure changes
- Illness or disease related to service or contracted while serving
- Diabetes, sarcoidosis, Lyme disease
- Cerebrovascular incidents
- Thyroid problems
- Traumatic brain injury
- Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis
- Medications being taken for military-related conditions, such as medications for lupus, depression, Parkinson’s disease, seizures, asthma, bone loss, erectile dysfunction, arthritis, etc.
Ratable Eye Conditions
In order for an eye condition to be ratable, it must cause permanent or chronic damage. Vision problems that are treated and heal are not compensable. Common ratable visual impairments include but are not limited to:
- Blurry vision, double vision, floaters in the eye
- Loss of sight in one or both eyes
- Loss of peripheral vision or light perception
- Loss of eyelids, eyebrows, or eyelashes
- Inflammation of the eyes, conjunctivitis
- Cataracts, lens conditions, retinal conditions
Eye problems often appear some years after service. If you have any eye problems, get a C&P exam from a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist. The three measurements that the VA uses to determine a rating are central visual acuity, visual field, and muscle function.
If you believe you have an eye condition that should receive benefits but you are having trouble receiving compensation, reach out to us here at the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, the Veterans’ Attorney. We will help you receive the compensation you deserve for your service.