Battle Creek VA Medical Center
Tackling Low Vision One Eye at a Time
February is Low Vision Month. Low vision is characterized as a visual impairment that cannot necessarily be corrected by eyeglasses, contacts or surgery. Having low vision can make the smallest task seem difficult. The Visual Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinic (VISOR) works every day to help Veterans improve their vision as well as help those with low vision better function with their everyday task. Mr. James Healy is one of many Veterans whose determination and will to better function with low vision led him to Battle Creek VA Medical Center.
Mr. Healy is a Navy Veteran who served in the military for 2 years. While serving in the Navy he worked in Long Island, New York in the Orthopedic Castro. One of his fondest memories while serving in the military was the training he received. After retiring from the service, he began working in warehousing in and around the Detroit area. In 1998, Mr. Healy was faced with unfortunate events when he had a stroke in the optic nerve in his left eye. He lost a lot of his sight and his vision became distorted, but he was still able to see in his right eye until 2013. In 2013, Mr. Healy began to lose vision in both eyes and became completely blind within a month. At that moment, Mr. Healy knew he needed help. That same year Mr. Healy visited the Michigan Commission for the Blind.
One of the first questions they asked him was, “Are you a Veteran?” When Mr. Healy answered yes, they immediately referred him to the Blind Rehab Clinic at the Battle Creek VA. When Mr. Healy arrived at the Blind Rehab Clinic back in 2013 the first person he encountered was Blind Rehab Specialist, Kimberly Lambe. This sparked the beginning of his journey. Mr. Healy was sent to Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital located in Chicago to their Central Blind Rehabilitation Center to begin training in mobility. Mr. Healy learned how to cross and navigate through streets with his cane and how to listen for traffic before crossing busy roads. One of the things that impressed Mr. Healy at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA was that they offered training in many areas depending on your interest, “They offered training in woodworking, small engine repair, and education courses.”
Upon Mr. Healy return to the Battle Creek VA he continued to learn invaluable training to improve his mobility and functionality with legal blindness. One of his exercises involved training in downtown Battle Creek. He was taught planned routes and given a GPS tracking device to venture around the city. This was a great skill for Mr. Healy as he is very active. Just two year ago Mr. Healy and his nephew biked 100 miles for the Susan G. Komen Ride for the Cure. He also works out 5 days a week along with his wife of 58 years. He enjoys listening to baseball and football, volunteering in the parish at the food pantry, shopping and taking walks in the Summertime.
Mr. Healy has accomplished tremendous milestones since receiving care at the Blind Rehab Clinic, “They’re the best. Veterans who don’t know about the program and want to receive help should talk with their VA provider and tell them you want training." Mr. Healy thanks the Battle Creek VAMC and the Blind Rehab staff for helping him live a full life.
For more information on the Blind Rehabilitation Clinic contact:
Battle Creek VA Medical Center
Bldg. 3, Room 100
269-966-5600 Ext. 35195
888-214-1247 Ext. 35195
Hours of Operation
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.