In this episode Levi Sowers and Brandon Rea interview Keith Queen, visual impairments coordinator at the Iowa City VA, who aids vision-impaired Veterans through experience. Listeners will hear how Keith navigated his life with his own visual impairment and his career with the VA, the blind rehabilitation services the VA offers, and expectations for Veterans beginning to lose their eye sight.

Keith Queen struggled with his vision, beginning in his youth, and was diagnosed with rare juvenile onset macular dystrophy, Stargardt disease. Keith did not receive services until connected with the Commission of the Blind. This followed his diagnoses, which funded his college education. He has two undergraduate degrees, a master’s degree, and served in the Peace Corps. He has pursued a career in blind rehabilitation services and has worked with 5 different VA organizations across the Country. Keith now is a part of the Visual Impairments Services Team.

Visual Impairments Services Team (VIST) coordinators connect blind or visual impaired Veterans to multiple programs and services. VIST supports Veterans with learning basic life skills, financial management, technological support and training, counseling and more. Veterans meet with the visual impairments coordinator in their area. During the meetings, coordinators conduct an exam, Veterans learn more about their condition, they discuss expectations and the Veteran receives referrals to services. Click the link to learn more about VIST and connect with a coordinator.

Check out the latest research being done at the Center For the Prevention and Treatment of Visual Loss.

Blind Veterans Association (BVA) strives to serve and support Veterans with vision loss. BVA advocates for visually impaired Veteran-focused issues and provides mentorships for Veterans and family. BVA offers four different programs: Veterans Service, Care Review, Operation Peer Support and Scholarships. Click the link to learn more about BVA.

Also listen to episode two to hear from Dan Standage on his own journey with vision loss during his time in the military and life after.


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