Soldiers on active duty face many hazardous environments and situations that can cause service-connected medical conditions. When veterans return home, many need disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). One of the top five most common injuries suffered by active-duty veterans is eye injury and vision disorders. While obtaining VA benefits for glaucoma & cataracts can be tough, our VA disability lawyer has plenty of experience helping our client acieve qualification.
Understanding Glaucoma and Cataracts
Did you know that in 2019, more than 250,000 veterans needed some type of care or obtained benefits for medical conditions involving eye injuries, including glaucoma and cataracts
Glaucoma and cataracts are two vision conditions that can lead to blindness if left untreated. Veterans who experience trauma to the head and/or eye or suffer from another medical condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or diabetes may develop glaucoma or cataracts and qualify for VA benefits.
Glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve and is a leading cause of blindness. While glaucoma can be a hereditary condition or caused by aging, it can also be caused by eye or head trauma or another medical condition. Symptoms of glaucoma include:
- blurred and/or tunnel vision
- eye pain
- blinds spots in central vision; peripheral blind spots
- eye redness
- halos around sources of light
Cataracts present as cloudiness or fogginess of the clear lens of the eye. If not treated, cataracts can interfere with your vision and your ability to perform daily tasks such as driving and reading and can ultimately cause blindness. Symptoms of cataracts include:
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Sensitivity to light
- Necessity for brighter reading lights
- Necessity for stronger eyeglass prescriptions
- Seeing fading or yellowing of certain colors
It’s important to note that if you were exposed to Agent Orange or have diabetes due to that exposure, your cataracts might be service-connected. If your doctor believes this to be the case, it’s essential that he write a statement confirming that your exposure to a toxic chemical or toxic substance is responsible for your cataracts or is a secondary condition to your diabetes.
VA Benefits for Eye Conditions: Glaucoma and Cataracts
According to the VA Office of Blind Rehabilitation Services, it’s estimated that 130,000 veterans are considered legally blind, and over one million suffer from vision problems that interfere with their ability to do everyday tasks. Two types of medical conditions that affect the eyes are glaucoma and cataracts. To be eligible for VA disability for these two vision conditions, you, and our VA disability lawyer must prove that they were caused by your time in service and establish the service connection by:
- Being diagnosed with some type of vision condition.
- Providing evidence of a service event or incident that caused the vision problem. This could include an explosion, an ambush or assault, or a bomb.
- Providing a medical opinion that explains the link between the vision problem and the incident that occurred during service. Be sure your doctor states that your glaucoma is “at least as likely as not” caused by your time in service. This phrase is critical in establishing a service connection, per the VA’s standard of proof. You do not need to show “beyond a reasonable doubt” that your disability was caused by an incident during active service; rather, your doctor’s statement that your glaucoma is “at least as likely as not” caused by your military service means there’s at least a 50% chance your condition is service-connected.
Contact Our VA Disability Lawyer for Glaucoma and Cataracts Benefits
If you suffer from a service-connected eye injury or condition, you may qualify for disability benefits. Let our experienced VA disability lawyer assist you in determining if you’re eligible. Our VA disability lawyer has been supporting veterans for years, and we will help you document your eye injury or eye disorder and work with your treating medical providers to describe the full extent of your limitations.
We know exactly how much these disability benefits mean to you. If we accept your case, we will take all steps within the law to help you get them. If an eye injury you received during military service is making it impossible for you to work, contact Cuddigan Law to speak with an intake specialist for free.