Blind Veteran Living and Dealing with Low Vision

by teddletonmr

Veterans learn living, manual, orientation and mobility skills that make dealing with the challenges low vision and blindness while attending Hines VA hospital Blind center

Many of our service men and women suffer long term illness which slowly robs them of their sight. These Vets are left to deal with the unfortunate loss of vision and the challenges facing normal routine task now seem impossible. While this process of losing one’s sight occurs slowly for some many live with the sudden loss of sight due to a service related injury. Either way the blindness occurs it is traumatic and life altering. I have experienced this myself. I’ve spent time learning the ropes of the VA services and have been through the system.

Dealing Vision Loss

There is help for dealing with the loss of vision or blindness due to injury or illness.

You see, the one thing we all have in common is over time or quite suddenly, we find ourselves dealing with the devastating loss of vision and the impact it has on returning to civilian life. While many vets argue about the veteran's benefits services available to the injured airman, soldier, sailor or marine, they often have not fully taken advantage of the programs geared to help. Maybe they don’t understand these programs exist or how to take advantage of them. Luckily for, active duty, discharged and retired vet’s all. U.S veteran’s benefits include the best treatment available anywhere in the world. For any service person that needs help and is willing to put forth the effort to learn how to deal with their particular vision loss problems. Denial has a way of making many excuses and yet it is best to enroll in the programs offered as they prove to change the lives of those suffering traumatic injury and loss.

Regardless the cause, service connected illness and injury, or non-service connected health issues. Service men and women of the U.S armed services have the opportunity to pick-up and learn how to benefit from not only the best adaptive technologies for their individual needs. Proven techniques that make getting the most out of available technologies that will improve their quality of life by dealing with the day to day challenges of loss of visual acuity.

Both qualified service connected and non-service connected veterans have the opportunity to qualify for a wide range of program designed for their personal needs.

What U.S Veterans Benefits Include

U.S Veterans benefits include treatment for eye diseases and Injuries for those who've served the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and Special Teams personnel that Serve

Blind U.S Vet Let us face the unfortunate facts of the matter. Vision loss and or becoming legally blind forces many vets to make life altering choices every day.  Learning new skills and dealing with the challenges of vision loss is a tremendous shift in any person’s routine life. It is often our service men and women who give up on the things that make life worth living, and the independence we value. Which consequently not only impacts us personally, our family and friends are also deeply affected in ways many of us fail to fully understand.

Fortunately we all want to do the very best we can to take care of our friends and family, right? For many vets, the help they need is not available to them in their home town. Traveling to a specialist many hundreds of miles away from home is not only a huge expense, many times makes us feel like we never want to go through that again, it’s simply not worth all the hassle.

The thing many vets are not aware of, as a U.S veteran there is help available for their travel needs, through the Veterans Administration, local VFW, or Lions Clubs, regardless of the reason for their vision loss. Due to illness or injury while on active duty, or non-service connected as well. Let me be clear about something, it is absolutely worth all the frustrating bull.

Learning Everyday Living Skills

Both Vets Drafted and Volunteered to Serve the U.S Qualify for V.A Benefits

Hopefully you will find my personal experiences and thoughts on the matter useful. You see, the most aggravating thing for me personally, is coping with the way my vision problems adversely affect the way I go about doing everyday tasks like, cooking, cleaning and washing my own clothes. Furthermore, I find it very hard facing the reality as to how my vision loss affects my overall independence. But what choice do you or I have other than to face it head on? It's not going away. As a result of my personal VA training for the blind, I have acquired a better understanding of how to use tactile clues, talking gadgets, the iPhone and computer to make certain tasks around the house easier. Sometimes there are those little things that throw the proverbial monkey wrench in the works. That is OK; no one ever said life was going to be easy, right?

The important thing I believe we should all try to keep in mind, learning new living skills and a positive attitude will make tomorrow a much better day. The challenges we, our friends and family face will be much easier to deal with once we all learn to think about, and do things differently.

Learning Manual Skills

Learning manual skills makes life fun and productive such as woodworking, handyman, sewing, fishing, golf and playing a musical Instrument are all possible.

Let me ask you, how many times have you wondered how exactly do other blind people do so many amazing things without the use of their sight? For instance, cooking a delicious meal, build cool stuff like jewelry boxes, or kitchen cabinets, sew patchwork quilts and needle point, or many things we all enjoy doing. Just maybe you are a creative person wondering how on earth blind folks like me and you, not only write but also publish articles online about stuff we can do.

Simple, using tactile clues we have used all our life we didn’t even realize we use, and learning new ones along the way and maintaining our independence, is how.

The biggest challenge for many folks with low vision is simply deciding to learn new manual skills. These skills can make many everyday tasks doable and worthwhile for the visually impaired.  Let me assure you, it truly is worth all the time and effort you put into learning and mastering ways to live life to the fullest again.

Screen Reader and Magnifier Computer Software

Use a Computer and the ZoomText software, email surf the web and post to Facebook .

Orientation and Mobility Skills

Make Getting Around the House and Travel less of a Hassel.

Get help that makes walking up and down stairs, finding your way in large cities, small towns and rural areas which all have their little quirks

I dare say for many Americans like you and me who’ve been responsible citizens of our communities, learning to deal with the challenges low vision, and of course legally blind vets, the hardest thing we are forced to give up is our driver’s license. With this we forfeit the many privileges we have enjoyed most of our adult lives associated with jumping in the car driving to do anything we want or need. For those of us that rely on the mass transit system in our cities, learning to navigate our neighborhood without the use of our sight guiding us is overwhelming to put it mildly. That is of course until we learn techniques that make finding our way easier. The VA will provide you with these valuable skills.

Let’s face it; those electronic message boards are hard for normal sighted people to make sense of, let alone someone with low vision issues.

Further adding to the frustration, there are those of us that refuse to ask for directions, or help of any kind. Sound familiar? Let me dismiss a commonly held belief among many vets. Using a blind person’s cane, or other adaptive technology, and yes even asking for help when it is needed is not a sign of weakness, quite the contrary. Simply learning how to use and presenting properly the white with red tip blind person cane and other orientation mobility skills is a declaration of one’s independence.

U.S. Veterans Benefits

U.S. Veterans Benefits for today’s Active duty, Reservist and Retired 19 to 90+

While attending Hines Blind Center each veteran has Individual Instructors dedicated to providing Individual training. As a legally blind veteran living and dealing with low vision problems everyday myself, I do have a better than average understanding of what it takes to learn new living, manual and orientation and mobility skills. I myself have attended the Hines Blind Center on more than one occasion. I had the honor to interact with vets ranging in experience from the youngest service men and women, too WWII vets learning new computer skills that made it possible for them to send and receive e-mail, post to Facebook and participate in their favorite forums, how cool is that? Yes the dedicated folks at Hines Blind Center are caring professionals that work hard to develop a program tailored to meet the needs of each individual vet, no one size fits all approach

You may be the type person mainly interested in learning how to do all those handyman projects. Discovering the little tips and trick that make the most of the vision you have left, using tactile clues and measuring devices designed specifically for use by the blind. That will make it possible for you to make accurate measurements to within the nearest sixteenth of an inch and perform necessary repair and maintenance tasks you find fun and rewarding.

Then again, your interests may center on the culinary arts and working in the kitchen or barbecue. Me too, grilling the perfect steak, chops, fish and veggies is something I enjoy doing, oh yeah, by the way the wife and kids really enjoy eating all the things I cook. If I can learn to do all this, you can also.  Learn how to do using a few cool kitchen gadgets, safe tactile clues that make cooking and food prep fun and rewarding once more.  

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Updated: 02/15/2013, teddletonmr
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teddletonmr on 10/12/2012

Thanks Katie,

katiem2 on 10/12/2012

Hey Mike, Just came back to review your vision articles and noted there is an image in the second paragraph or the one titled What U.S Veterans Benefits Include, that has a image that is not loading. :)

teddletonmr on 09/25/2012

Thanks @katiem2 Semper Fi.

katiem2 on 09/24/2012

This is fantastic Mike. Its amazing to have such a writer in our midst. I feel better understanding the challenges the visually impaired face. I have an entirely new level of respect for the loss and suffering our men and women of the armed forces deal with all to secure our homeland and freedoms. Thanks Mike for your service in the military, the Marines, and for your service to your fellow military comrades who served as well. I'm so impressed with your attitude, it is so positive and personable. Well done my friend well done indeed.

teddletonmr on 09/24/2012

@Ragtimelil thanks

Ragtimelil on 09/24/2012

Excellent! What a great source on information. Thanks for writing this.

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