Minneapolis VA Health Care System
Blind Rehabilitation Services
Blind Rehabilitation Services within the VA are here to:
- Support blind and low vision Veterans and active duty Servicemembers in regaining their independence and quality of life to enable their successful integration into family and community life.
- Support family and significant others to better understand visual impairment and foster the provision of appropriate support, to assist in enhancing home environments and to reduce caregiver burden.
Here at the Minneapolis Veteran Affairs Health Care System (MVAHCS) the Blind Rehabilitation Services Staff strive to fulfill our mission and vision every day.
The Blind Rehabilitation Services team offers hope for improved quality of life through addressing the consequences of visual impairment by providing education, training and tools to Veterans and Service Members with visual impairments, their families and providers in order to enable these Veterans and Service Members to function as independently as possible.
The Blind Rehabilitation Services team will make the full scope of vision/blind rehabilitation services accessible to all eligible Veterans and Service Members with visual impairments in our service area by providing individualized rehabilitation, innovative technology and coordination of relevant resources.
Blind Rehabilitation Staff includes the following:
- Low vision therapist (LV) who can teach you how to use magnifiers, monocular, and reading machines.
- Orientation and mobility (O&M) specialist who can teach you how to travel safely and efficiently indoors and out.
- Vision rehabilitation or living skills therapist (LS) who can teach you everyday skills such as cooking, writing checks, dialing a phone, telling time, etc.
- Low vision optometrist who provides low vision eye exams. These exams emphasize making the best use of your remaining vision.
- Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinators: These case managers have the responsibility for the coordination of services for severely disabled visually impaired Veterans and active duty Servicemembers. Other VIST coordinator duties include identifying newly identified individuals who have severely disabling visual impairment, providing counseling, problem resolution, arranging a review of benefits and needed services, and conducting educational and outreach programs relating to VIST and blindness.
- Polytrauma Blind Rehab Outpatient Specialist (BROS): A Polytrauma BROS works with Veterans and Service Members who have functional vision impairments often related to a traumatic brain injury from a traumatic event or an acquired brain injury most often as a result of a stroke. The visual impairments seen with these types of brain injury can include visual acuity and field loss, binocular dysfunction, and spatial perceptual deficits.
The VISOR Program is a part of the Blind Rehabilitation Services available at the MVAHCS. The VISOR Program is a short-term training program for veterans with a visual impairment. This program and the adaptive equipment provided are free to all eligible veterans.
This program is where you will find the following staff:
- A low vision therapist (LV) who can teach you how to use magnifiers, monocular, and reading machines.
- An orientation and mobility (O&M) specialist who can teach you how to travel safely and efficiently indoors and out.
- A vision rehabilitation or living skills therapist (LS) who can teach you everyday skills such as cooking, writing checks, dialing a phone, telling time, etc.
- A low vision optometrist who provides low vision eye exams. These exams emphasize making the best use of your remaining vision.
The VISOR Program has several different delivery options. They are:
- One to one sessions on outpatient basis.
- Intensive 5 day program without lodging called Hoptel.
- Intensive 5 day program with lodging, also called Hoptel.
- Limited follow-up training in your home or community, if needed.
The HOPTEL 5 day program runs from 8:30am to 4:00pm approximately one week per month. During the day you will have individual or small group classes that may include cooking, using a reading machine, cane travel, labeling methods, home safety, and using public transportation. More detailed information is available upon request.
For Non-HOPTEL participants, or those Veterans or Service Members who prefer to be seen over several sessions on an outpatient basis we will provide the same great quality of care and provide you with the training and education needed to be as independent as you desire.
Follow up sessions are scheduled after initial assessments and goals have been determined. During your follow up sessions you will work with providers on a one to one basis to assist in meeting your goals. If more than one instructor needs to be seen, we will make every effort to coordinate appointments to meet your needs.
Blind Rehabilitation Services
One Veterans Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.