New DoD/VA Center to Improve Eye Care

Monday, February 15, 2010
By Matt Pueschel | FHP&R Staff Writer 

The new Vision Center of Excellence (VCE) is beginning to take flight since it was formed at the behest of Congress to track eye injuries emanating from the war theater and improve treatment outcomes across the services and VA.  “It’s important to look at how injuries are occurring, what can we do to mitigate the extent of morbidity when doing treatment, and how can we enhance treatment and research and improve the rehabilitation process to bring better functioning in life to patients,” said Col. Donald A. Gagliano, M.D., M.H.A., DoD principal advisor for vision and VCE’s executive director, during a presentation in January before a group of military and veterans service organizations at the FHP&R offices in Falls Church, Va.  VCE was formed after the fiscal year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act directed DoD and VA to establish a center of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of military eye injuries, and to better coordinate visual rehabilitative care and benefits for service members’ continuum of care between the agencies. The need for the VCE is evidenced in the variety of injuries that impact soldiers’ vision, from traumatic eye injury as a result of explosive devices and projectiles, to vision disorders associated with TBI, and eye injury caused by exposure to chemicals, biohazards, lasers or extreme environmental conditions. VCE is facilitating collaborative efforts that support optimal DoD/VA vision care transition, such as a process developed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for blind rehabilitation care.  read more

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