Congress passes legislation regarding military members with eye trauma

December 21, 2007

Washington, DC-Congress has approved legislation to improve the Department of Defense's (DoD) and the Veterans Health Administrations' (VHA) ability to treat those who have incurred serious eye injures while on active duty.

Washington, DC-Congress has approved legislation to improve the Department of Defense's (DoD) and the Veterans Health Administrations' (VHA) ability to treat those who have incurred serious eye injures while on active duty.

Also, as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act, a center of excellence will be established within the DoD to improve the tracking, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up for service members who already have had severe eye injuries.

The measure is expected signed by President Bush as soon as today.

Joined with the Blinded Veterans Association and other veterans' service organizations, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) expressed support of the legislation, which also will create a formal registry housing electronic records, enabling the DoD and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to share patient information.

"We want to ensure that active duty members and veterans of prior service are provided with excellent eye care and resources," said James C. Orcutt, MD, PhD, chief ophthalmology consultant for the VHA and a member of the AAO. "The establishment of a registry that will allow us to track veterans and active duty personnel who have eye injuries significantly enhances our ability to meet that goal. In addition, the ability of the DoD and VA to work hand in hand on eye injury cases will benefit both active duty troops and veterans."