The Vision Center of Excellence (VCE) mission is to lead and advocate for programs and initiatives to improve vision health, optimize readiness and enhance quality of life for Service members and Veterans.
The VCE is charged with leading research and treatment for improved vision care and eyesight restorative innovations for Service members. Working with TRICARE, the Military Health System (MHS), Veterans Health Administration and other Centers of Excellence, the VCE works to enhance collaboration between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) vision care providers, provide guidance for clinical practice, and facilitate patient-centered support.
What’s New: Keratoconus and Corneal Cross Linking
Keratoconus is an eye disease in which the normally round, dome-like cornea becomes thin and develops a cone-like bulge. This abnormal and distorted shape prevents light from focusing correctly on the retina causing blurring, vision distortion, increased nearsightedness or astigmatism, halos, eye strain, headaches, eye irritation and increased sensitivity to glare and light. As combat is an extremely visual task, keratoconus is an operationally-important diagnosis that carries a number of mission-relevant consequences. This article discusses potential treatment options for keratoconus, as well as the impact of keratoconus on active duty Service members. Read more.
During the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) conflicts, eye injuries have accounted for approximately 15 percent of all battlefield traumas.
The DoD Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center notes the total number of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) visual disturbances was 37,376.
In 2012, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts in Afghanistan caused 78 percent of all battle injuries. In Iraq, the same blasts caused 84 percent of all eye injuries.
The VA found that 2,593 enrolled Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) had disorders of the optic nerve and visual pathways related to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Serious combat eye trauma from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom was the second most common injury and trails only hearing loss.