Northern Arizona VA Health Care System
Low Vision Clinic
For Blind and Low Vision Veterans
The Visual Impairment Service Team (VIST) is a VA program designed to assists Veterans with the services and benefits that will need when adjusting to severe vision loss.
Through this program, Veterans are able to access rehabilitation programs, visual adaptive aids, and benefits assistance, which can greatly increase quality of life.
HOW DOES A VIST HELP?
¨ Coordinate appointments for medical needs (complete eye exams, hearing exams, etc.)
¨ Benefits review, including possible reclassification to eliminate VA co-pays
¨ Support and adjustment counseling
¨ Assessment of individual rehabilitation and training needs to include referrals for blind rehabilitation if necessary.
¨ Education, training, and provision of adaptive aids including white canes, magnifiers and talking products such as watches, medical equipment, etc...
WHO IS ELIGIBILE FOR VIST?
¨ Veterans discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable.
¨ Veterans determined to be legally blind: Central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with a corrective lens OR a visual acuity better than 20/200 with a useful field of vision reduced to 20 degrees or less in the better eye.
¨ Veterans with vision problems that create difficulty with daily activities.
HOW IS A VETERAN REFERRED TO VIST?
¨ Any interested person, including family members, eye care specialists, health care professionals or agency representatives can make a referral to VIST. If you know a Veteran who has difficulty reading, recognizing faces, traveling independently, participating in normal activities of daily living or no longer enjoys leisure activities because of decreased vision, contact Laurie Hallman, VIST coordinator at 928-445-4860 ext. 6018.
¨ Any of your providers can refer you by placing a consultation in your electronic record under “Visually Impaired”.
NOTE: Keep in mind, about 90% of people with visual impairments have some useful remaining sight. Someone may still have some vision and need services.
WHAT TYPE OF REFERRAL RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE FOR
VETERANS WHO ARE BLIND OR HAVE LOW VISION?
A veteran may receive a referral to any one of the following resources either at a VA facility or as a referral to an outside source on the veteran’s behalf.
¨ Eye Clinic:
- NAVAHCS has Optometry services available. The eye clinic has patient self-referral direct schedule is available without need for a referral and a veteran can call the eye clinic directly to schedule.
- VA also has the ability to refer a veteran to an Ophthalmologist in the community through Community Managed Care
¨ Low Vision Clinic: Phoenix VA offers our low vision services for veterans
When basic low-vision services available at VA eye clinics are no longer sufficient for veterans with low vision, intermediate and advanced low vision clinics provide clinical examinations, a full spectrum of vision-enhancing devices, and specialized training in visual perceptual and visual motor skills. Eye care specialists and Blind Rehabilitation Specialists work together in interdisciplinary teams to assure that Veterans and active duty Service Members with low vision are provided with technology and techniques to enhance their remaining sight and facilitate their independence.
Each patient attending the program receives a comprehensive eye examination by a low vision eye care specialist, and a thorough visual skills assessment.
The Intermediate Low Vision Clinics focus on effective use of remaining vision through the development and use of visual motor and visual perceptual skills. Assessment and instruction with special optical and electronic devices is provided. Ergonomic equipment such as special lighting and positioning devices are provided to assist Veterans in using vision effectively. Therapy may employ the use of visual and ergonomic equipment and new visual skills to address routine daily tasks such as reading, writing, managing medications, cooking, locating and reading signs.
¨ Blind Rehabilitation Center
The Blind Rehabilitation Centers (BRC) are residential inpatient programs that provide comprehensive adjustment to blindness training and serve as a resource to a geographic area usually comprised of several states. BRCs offer a variety of skill courses designed to help blinded Veterans achieve a realistic level of independence. These skill areas include:
- Orientation and Mobility
- Communication skills
- Activities of Daily Living
- Manual Skills
- Visual Skills
- Computer Access Training
- Social/Recreational activities
The Veteran is also assisted in making emotional and behavioral adjustments to blindness through individual counseling sessions and group therapy meetings.
¨ Community Service Provider
This may include State Services for the Blind or private vendors
¨ Vocational Rehabilitation
This service is following basic blind rehabilitation to assist a visually impaired person with returning
- 928-445-4860 Ext. 6018
Hours of Operation
- 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.