All of us who work and live in the blindness community have a double reason to be grateful to the men and women who serve in the military.
For it was as a result of the soldiers blinded in World War II that rehab programs were developed by the Veterans’ Administration. In 1954, Fr. Thomas J. Carroll, a pioneer in these efforts at the V.A., founded the first residential rehabilitation program for civilians. Now Vision Rehab is a well-developed field with Masters’ Programs in several specialties, and we all benefit from those first young men who had lost their sight in the service of freeing the world from tyranny.
Alas, since 2001 there have been more blinded veterans who need rehab training. VisionAware.org gives the following Department of Defense statistics: From 2000-2010, there were 186,555 eye injuries worldwide in military medical facilities, including 4,154 severe penetrating eye injuries with high risk of blindness.
Now these new veterans are benefitting from all the progress in vision rehab that civilians and the military have made. We hope that they will find ways to lead active, self-sufficient and fulfilling lives.