Whether you're a deep ship operator who stares at screens in the dark or operating in deserts with high winds and sand storms, the military is a big vision hazard for almost every servicemember. It's easy to forget about the daily wear and tear when combat dangers and workspace hazards can put a bullet in your or yank a finger off into a machine, but many veterans can tell you of the building aches and pains that happen after the service days become a thing of the past. If you've been squinting a bit more than often, or haven't thought about your healthcare much after the military, here are a few things to consider for both continued health and possible compensation.
Common Military Eye Problems
Military service isn't always friendly towards eyesight preservation. That isn't to say the military doesn't care about your safety; it's hard to find a command that doesn't require safety goggles, eyeshields, ballistic protection shades, or some kind of eye protection when flying debris or sparks are common. Many technicians and specialists have monitor accommodations for their screens, but it isn't enough.
If you have to monitor different screens or work with visual consoles, how after are you looking at writing in the dark? Even if it's an illuminated screen, are your eyes strained by changing focus and readjusting on a regular basis? You can deal with it for years, and the duty has to be done, but every chance you have a day or more of off-time you need to be checking out your vision.
What better time than getting out of the military?
Combat operations are no different. Don't think that eye damage has to be as obvious or severe as getting shrapnel in your eye; being exposed to patrols in the modern military conflicts of deserts and cities that used to be deserts means small lacerations and possible eye damage that can be mitigated if you get to it early.
Civilian Eye Doctor Assistance Can Save Or Bring In Money
Whether you're dealing with current vision problems or wondering about your vision after thinking about the common military vision issues, there's one thing left to do: visit an eye doctor.
Vision care is provided by Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare facilities, but keep in mind that you're just getting a small step up from what the military can do. You can get a basic checkup, but the glasses selection usually sucks and any moderate to severe eye problems will be routed out of the VA system anyway.
There are wait time problems to deal with depending on your area as the VA still struggles with some systematic issues. The best thing to do would be to set appointments both at the VA and with a non-VA eye doctor. Free, quick checkups are available for all veterans, but if you want a dedicated analysis of your vision and...well, a decent glasses selection, find an eye doctor to help you out.
If your vision is severely impacted by military service--that is, worse than when you went in--you likely have a disability case on your hands. VA disability gives monetary compensation and advanced medical care--including optometrist referrals--if you can prove that it was the military that lead to having worse vision.
A non-VA eye doctor can give you the evidence you want faster than waiting on VA appointments, and once you have a disability rating, you can continue being their client with a VA-paid referral. Contact an eye doctor now and explain your situation for sharper vision as a civilian.