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keratoconus denial help

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Beeps

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I got out of the military in 2000 after serving in an Airborne Infantry unit for my first enlistment.  I was diagnosed with keratoconus in 2012.  I submitted a claim with the VA in 2019 with a nexus letter from my eye doctor stating there in no family history of the disease.  My eye doctor referenced the research article The Genetic and Environmental Factors for Keratoconus by Ariela Gordon-Shaag which recognizes that environmental factors can lead to keratoconus https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449900/.  She stated in the letter that she considered my keratoconus to be highly influenced by the adverse conditions I faced while on deployment and that those conditions (UV and chemical exposure and unsanitary conditions.)  The service connection was denied "since this condition neither occurred in nor was caused by service.  The evidence does not show an event, disease or injury in service."  My military treatment records show no complaints, treatment, or diagnosis.  There was no continuity of symptoms from service to present.  I am currently getting statements from my parents eye doctors stating there is no medical history of keratoconus in my family.  I also have pictures of me near burning buildings, piles of unexploded old explosives in bombed out buildings, and our sandbagged fighting positions.  I have not submitted the pictures.  Unfortunately, the disease isn't easily diagnosed and it can take years before it is detected.  I never visited an eye doctor for keratoconus while in the service.  I understand that the time lapse from getting out of the service until 2012 is a major hurdle to overcome.

Question #1 - Does anyone know of any other research articles linking environmental factors to keratoconus?  #2 -  Should I submit the photos  #3 - Any other suggestions #4 - Is it helpful to write a statement myself

Thank you for your time and comments

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Beeps,

This will be a hard one to connect, and I am sure other here will jump in.  As far as I know I would submit any evidence to strengthen your case!  Anything you think will help I would send in.  Do you have your C-Flie?  are you sure you were never seen for anything like or related to this?  Sometimes you get surprised on what you were seen for.

I would say do some more digging as the VA is not the best about digging for evidence.  

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Thank you for responding.  I'm not sure what a C-file is, but I have copies of my military medical records.  I honesty don't remember ever getting an eye exam during my enlistment, but its been a long time since I was in.  I am 10 percent connected for cystic acne which is documented several times in my military medical records.  I was prescribed minocycline which causes increased sensitivity to the sun.  One cause of keratoconus is UV exposure.   Is that too much of a stretch?

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On 8/21/2019 at 10:27 PM, Beeps said:

I got out of the military in 2000 after serving in an Airborne Infantry unit for my first enlistment.  I was diagnosed with keratoconus in 2012.  I submitted a claim with the VA in 2019 with a nexus letter from my eye doctor stating there in no family history of the disease.  My eye doctor referenced the research article The Genetic and Environmental Factors for Keratoconus by Ariela Gordon-Shaag which recognizes that environmental factors can lead to keratoconus https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449900/.  She stated in the letter that she considered my keratoconus to be highly influenced by the adverse conditions I faced while on deployment and that those conditions (UV and chemical exposure and unsanitary conditions.)  The service connection was denied "since this condition neither occurred in nor was caused by service.  The evidence does not show an event, disease or injury in service."  My military treatment records show no complaints, treatment, or diagnosis.  There was no continuity of symptoms from service to present.  I am currently getting statements from my parents eye doctors stating there is no medical history of keratoconus in my family.  I also have pictures of me near burning buildings, piles of unexploded old explosives in bombed out buildings, and our sandbagged fighting positions.  I have not submitted the pictures.  Unfortunately, the disease isn't easily diagnosed and it can take years before it is detected.  I never visited an eye doctor for keratoconus while in the service.  I understand that the time lapse from getting out of the service until 2012 is a major hurdle to overcome.

Question #1 - Does anyone know of any other research articles linking environmental factors to keratoconus?  #2 -  Should I submit the photos  #3 - Any other suggestions #4 - Is it helpful to write a statement myself

Thank you for your time and comments

I feel your pain brother. I will copy and paste my situation. Also I have no family history of keratoconus but i did wear eye glasses since I was a child. When i was diagnosed, glasses no longer correct my vision. 

Hello I need to get service connected. I was active from 94-98 and the only thing in my medical records that I see that might possibly work is an eye infection on the eye examination form on duty. I can't even remember how serious it was because I don't see any follow up paperwork in my files. There's another time when I wrote in the notes that I sometimes had to squint and that my left eye was weaker and get lazy sometimes. Other than that I don't see anything. I wore glasses entering AD up until 2003 when I was diagnosed by a private doctor for having keratoconus. At that time I was in the reserves. My reserve years were from 98-2018 and i had one episode where i developed a stye while on a road march. An LOD was started but never finished. I have been fighting it since I first turned a claim around late 2013. I did a few reconsiderations and then I believe it was 2017 when I reopened and have done a reconsideration and then most recent a supplemental review that was denied August 19th. 

I need to figure out how to tie it in to an even in service. I had a corneal transplant in 2015 also and the surgeon wrote me a Nexus letter of opinion trying to tie it in to that road march in which I developed a stye and went to the TMC. I have her now doing another DBQ and I'm going to send it back up supplemental again. I really was hoping to find something else in my records eye related that might can help. Any help would be appreciated.

 

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On 8/21/2019 at 10:27 PM, Beeps said:

I got out of the military in 2000 after serving in an Airborne Infantry unit for my first enlistment.  I was diagnosed with keratoconus in 2012.  I submitted a claim with the VA in 2019 with a nexus letter from my eye doctor stating there in no family history of the disease.  My eye doctor referenced the research article The Genetic and Environmental Factors for Keratoconus by Ariela Gordon-Shaag which recognizes that environmental factors can lead to keratoconus https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449900/.  She stated in the letter that she considered my keratoconus to be highly influenced by the adverse conditions I faced while on deployment and that those conditions (UV and chemical exposure and unsanitary conditions.)  The service connection was denied "since this condition neither occurred in nor was caused by service.  The evidence does not show an event, disease or injury in service."  My military treatment records show no complaints, treatment, or diagnosis.  There was no continuity of symptoms from service to present.  I am currently getting statements from my parents eye doctors stating there is no medical history of keratoconus in my family.  I also have pictures of me near burning buildings, piles of unexploded old explosives in bombed out buildings, and our sandbagged fighting positions.  I have not submitted the pictures.  Unfortunately, the disease isn't easily diagnosed and it can take years before it is detected.  I never visited an eye doctor for keratoconus while in the service.  I understand that the time lapse from getting out of the service until 2012 is a major hurdle to overcome.

Question #1 - Does anyone know of any other research articles linking environmental factors to keratoconus?  #2 -  Should I submit the photos  #3 - Any other suggestions #4 - Is it helpful to write a statement myself

Thank you for your time and comments

Hey did you ever figure it out. I just got denied for my HLR and I need to do the board next. Definitely going to get a lawyer to tie in the missing links. Also had a new letter that of course I could not submit doing the HLR.

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