Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST)
What is VIST?
The Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center VIST Program helps legally blind and severely visually impaired Veterans and their families adjust to vision loss. The program objectives are to identify and inform eligible Veterans about services and benefits; to ensure that health care and rehabilitation services are made available; and to help those Veterans cope with the devastating loss of vision.
- To identify all legally blind and severely visually impaired Veterans residing with the "Service Area" of the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center:
- PA County Service Area: Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Lycoming, Luzerne, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Pike, Susquehanna, Snyder, Sullivan, Wayne, Wyoming and Union.
- NY County Service Area: Chemung, Tioga and Broome
- To assess for unmet needs related to vision loss
- To develop and implement a treatment plan which will address the unmet
needs that have been identified
- To make appropriate referrals (see Referral Services below)
- To educate the Veteran on available benefits and services, both VA and community
- To Provide ongoing follow-up to the Veteran as needed.
Referrals for services may include, but are not limited to:
- VA Blind Rehabilitation Training Programs; for more information please visit the VA Blind Rehabilitation Web Page
- Community-Based Training Programs
- Computer training programs which are adapted for use by blind or visually impaired persons
- Low Vision Examination by a Low Vision Optometrist at the Wilkes-Barre VA main campus or the Allentown Outpatient Clinic
- Library of Congress Talking Book Program
- Issuance of Blind or Low Vision Aids
Veterans are often issued prosthetic/blind aids which may include optical devices such as hand magnifiers, electronic magnifiers such as CCTV, a large print or talking computer system, canes, talking watches, audible prescription readers, adapted recreational devices or other adaptive devices based on the outcome of the assessments by Low Vision Optometrist and/or the VIST Coordinator.
Referral to VIST
Any Veteran who is legally blind or severely visually impaired, even while wearing conventional glasses, and who is eligible for VA health care may participate in the VIST program. If you are unsure if you are eligible for VA health care benefits, please contact the VIST Coordinator to assist in determining eligibility. Referrals can be made by the Veteran, family, health care professional or other concerned individuals.
Who May Benefit from VIST Services?
If a Veteran requires the assistance of another person or exhibits any of the following functional deficits, a referral to VIST may be indicated:
- Difficulty reading mail, newspaper, medication labels or other standard size print while using conventional glasses.
- Difficulty performing activities of daily living, such as managing their medications, grooming, cooking, using the phone, telling time, etc., as a result of their visual impairment.
- Diabetic Veterans who have difficulty seeing to measure their insulin or seeing to check their blood sugar.
- Veterans who have difficulty ambulating safely and independently as a result of blindness or visual impairment.
- Reference Referral Services section.