Jacksonville Convention To Host Vision Rehabilitation, Eye Care Professionals At Thursday Educational Session


Five leading Department of Veterans Affairs experts on the topics of emerging vision rehabilitation, ophthalmology, optometry, and general physical health will speak in a forum setting on Thursday, August 17 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel.

The forum, which runs from 8:00 a.m. until Noon in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom 1, is one of several educational components of the Blinded Veterans Association’s 72nd National Convention. The August 14-18 gathering features organizational business meetings, social and recreational events, and an Exhibit Hall open to the public.

Forum speakers are John Townsend, O.D., Director of Optometry Specialty Care Services within the Office of Patient Care Services of the Veterans Health Administration; Gale Watson, National Director of Blind Rehabilitation Service, Department of Veterans Affairs; and Naazli Shaikh, M.D., Section Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology and Optometry at the Orlando VA Medical Center. The morning will conclude with a joint presentation by Timothy Doherty, Field-Based Implementation Team Consultant in the Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation; and David Hedrick, Visual Impairment Service Team Coordinator. The latter two currently serve at the Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina.

BVA’s membership of 8,500 includes blinded veterans from the Association’s Emerald Coast Regional Group and Florida Regional Group, two of 42 groups nationwide to be represented at the convention. All BVA members share a common bond as legally blind veterans. They resolve to help one another understand and receive the rightful benefits they earned through their service. The Association also represents the interests of its members before the legislative and executive branches of government and encourages all blinded veterans to participate in VA blind rehabilitation programs.

BVA was established in March of 1945 when a small but close-knit group of World War II blinded veterans gathered together in Avon, Connecticut. The founders hoped to help newly blinded veterans adjust to life without sight and to regain their confidence and independence. For further information, call BVA at 800-669-7079 or visit the organization’s website at bva.org.