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VA's policy for eye glasses is explained

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The VA's policy for eye glasses where new, replacement, or repair is as follows. Prescriptions for eyeglasses shall be filled or repairs completed in accordance with national policy, regulations and public law. All veterans must be receiving VA care to be considered for issuance of eyeglasses and low vision aids. Low vision aids, eyeglasses and other eyewear, when needed, will be provided to veterans who are eligible and entitled according to the criteria as described below.

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Veterans eligible for eyeglasses and low vision aids are:

• Those with any compensable service connected disability of 10 percent or greater (Priority 1, 2, 3).

• Those who are service connected (SC) for a vision condition 0 percent or greater.

• Those who are former Prisoners of War (POWs) or Purple Heart recipients (Priority 3).

• Those in receipt of benefits under Title 38 USC 1151 (Priority 3) (Benefits for persons disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation).

• Those in receipt of an increased pension based upon being permanently house bound and in need of regular aid and attendance (Priority 4).

Those with the following conditions (Priority 5-7):

• Those who have visual impairments from and existence of another medical condition for which the veteran is receiving Department of Veterans Affairs care or which resulted from treatment of that medical condition.

• Those with a significant functional or cognitive impairments evidence by deficiencies in the ability to perform activities of daily living but not to include routine occurring visual impairment.

• Those who are so severely visually impaired that the provision of sensori-neural aid is necessary to permit active participation in their own medical care.

A VA provider will refer veterans to ophthalmology and or optometry service after identifying the medical need for further evaluation of a visual impairment. The VA provider is responsible for completion of the consult. VA or fee-basis ophthalmologist or optometrist is responsible for ophthalmology health examinations and refraction for those who are eligible.

The referring VA provider will initiate a CPRS consult to ophthalmology and or optometry service. All information must be completed in order to identify the medical necessity. If the consult is incomplete, it will be returned for completion. VA or fee-basis ophthalmologist or optometrist, upon completion of the refraction examination, will complete a prosthetics CPRS eyeglass consult for eligible veterans.

Requests for specialty lenses will require supporting documentation with medical justification provided on the prosthetics CPRS eyeglass consult. When bifocal lenses are contraindicated, a second pair of single-vision eyeglasses (i.e. one for reading and one for distant vision) will be dispensed.

Aphakic post-surgical cataract patients may also be dispensed one pair of cataract eyeglasses (aspheric lenticular); and second pair of single-vision eyeglasses (for use over contact lenses). Pseudophakia may be dispensed one pair of glasses with one prescription change in that year for each eye.

Tinted lenses: Prescriptions for tinted lens are appropriate for veteran's post-cataract surgery, chronic uveitis, severe corneal disease, etc. Tinted lenses will not be provided solely for comfort; a staff ophthalmologist or optometrist must document medical need.

Beneficiaries with a service-connected disability for the loss of vision in an eye (or the enucleation of one eye) are eligible for eyeglasses for defective vision in the remaining eye and/or to protect the vision in the remaining eye (safety eyeglasses or polycarbonate lenses as appropriate).

Contact lenses may be provided only when contact lenses are superior to eyeglasses in improving or protecting the veteran's visual or medical function.

Replacement of corrective eyeglasses or low vision aids will be considered when the device or aid proves to be ineffective, irreparable, or the veteran's medical condition changes and a different device or prescription is required to meet the medical needs. Items may be replaced if destroyed or lost due to circumstances beyond the control of the veteran.

Please see your local county veterans service officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by e-mail at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us. As always, have a great week.

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