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Beeps
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Question

I just received a letter from the Board of Veteran's Appeal notifying me that service connection for bilateral keratoconus was granted.  I currently am rated at 90%.  I served in the Army as a paratrooper 11B-1P from 1996 - 2000.  I was diagnosed with Keratoconus in 2013 and contact lenses in both eyes are medically necessary.  I had the cornea crosslinking surgery in both eyes in 2015. 

The decision noted the following things were positively considered in granting my appeal:  1) My medical records indicated I was exposed to asbestos and chemicals while on deployment in Kosovo (this is in reference to the report of medical history form "Standard Form 93" soldiers complete on exit of service) 2) My medical records noted I had cystic acne which required me to take medications (minocycline) that caused photosensitivity 3) I provided a nexus letter from my optometrist who opined that many of the adverse conditions I was exposed to while on deployment most likely contributed to my condition (exposure to ultra violet rays from the sun, chemicals, and unsanitary conditions 4) I submitted letters from both my parents eye doctors that stated neither of them had the disease.  

Two research articles I provided my optometrist were Oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of keratoconus and Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy by the Department of Molecular Genetics.  Here is a link to another one that is useful: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449900/

I checked the E benefits VA website and although my account now indicates the condition is service connected, it shows a 0% rating.  I have read conflicting info where some say the keratoconus rating is based upon your corrective vision after glasses or contacts, so if your vision is 20/20 with glasses or contacts the rating is 0.  The medically necessary contact lenses I wear make my vision approximately 20/20, but I still get the halo effect a night with lights and sensitivity to light.  I also read that if contacts are medically necessary a minimum of 30% is warranted.  Can someone tell me which it is or provide more information?

I also suffer from moderate to severe conjunctivitis which is well documented in my private medical records.  I am prescribed various eye drops and get 7 allergy shot injections weekly from an allergist doctor.  This of course makes it difficult to wear the medically necessary contacts to see.  I have not filed a claim for the conjunctivitis, but did see it a condition that a claim could be filed for.  I assume having Keratoconus service connected would increase the odds of the conjunctivitis be granted as service connected.  Thoughts?

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22 hours ago, Beeps said:

I just received a letter from the Board of Veteran's Appeal notifying me that service connection for bilateral keratoconus was granted.  I currently am rated at 90%.  I served in the Army as a paratrooper 11B-1P from 1996 - 2000.  I was diagnosed with Keratoconus in 2013 and contact lenses in both eyes are medically necessary.  I had the cornea crosslinking surgery in both eyes in 2015. 

The decision noted the following things were positively considered in granting my appeal:  1) My medical records indicated I was exposed to asbestos and chemicals while on deployment in Kosovo (this is in reference to the report of medical history form "Standard Form 93" soldiers complete on exit of service) 2) My medical records noted I had cystic acne which required me to take medications (minocycline) that caused photosensitivity 3) I provided a nexus letter from my optometrist who opined that many of the adverse conditions I was exposed to while on deployment most likely contributed to my condition (exposure to ultra violet rays from the sun, chemicals, and unsanitary conditions 4) I submitted letters from both my parents eye doctors that stated neither of them had the disease.  

Two research articles I provided my optometrist were Oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of keratoconus and Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy by the Department of Molecular Genetics.  Here is a link to another one that is useful: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449900/

I checked the E benefits VA website and although my account now indicates the condition is service connected, it shows a 0% rating.  I have read conflicting info where some say the keratoconus rating is based upon your corrective vision after glasses or contacts, so if your vision is 20/20 with glasses or contacts the rating is 0.  The medically necessary contact lenses I wear make my vision approximately 20/20, but I still get the halo effect a night with lights and sensitivity to light.  I also read that if contacts are medically necessary a minimum of 30% is warranted.  Can someone tell me which it is or provide more information?

I also suffer from moderate to severe conjunctivitis which is well documented in my private medical records.  I am prescribed various eye drops and get 7 allergy shot injections weekly from an allergist doctor.  This of course makes it difficult to wear the medically necessary contacts to see.  I have not filed a claim for the conjunctivitis, but did see it a condition that a claim could be filed for.  I assume having Keratoconus service connected would increase the odds of the conjunctivitis be granted as service connected.  Thoughts?

Yesterday I was contacted by the DVA to schedule an appointment for an eye exam, so I assume the rating will increase from 0% after the examination is completed.  Any info on ratings for keratoconus or whether submitting a claim for conjunctivitis seems worthwhile would be appreciated.

Also, I truly believe the nexus letters very beneficial in the claims process and want to share what worked for me.  I was able to get the letters from 4 out of 5 doctors.  I created a one page letter explaining to the doctor that I was going through the process of submitting a claim to the DVA, my symptoms, circumstances contributing to the condition, any research articles supporting my claim, and I provided copies of my military medical records that were relevant to the claim.  This was in addition to a sample nexus letter.  Doctors are always rushed for time, but I felt this briefly laid out the process in writing and gave them all the resources to review prior to writing the letter.

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Beeps You can get some rating info of 4.79 on ratings for eye disease here (probably code 6001)

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/originalvasrd1.html#c6001

Edited by GBArmy
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Congratulations on your win!!!   Yes, the BVA did that to me, also.  I fought at the BVA, and won, and VARO decided this was at zero percent.  

Of course, my VSO suggested not appealing, after all they could reduce me.  He didnt explain how they can reduce 0 percent.  I guess he assumes there is a -10 percent rating.  

 

You are going to have to wait for VARO implementation..and not rely upon ebenefits.  The BVA does not change ebenefits rating percentages, that is done by the VARO.  

Still, if you dispute the BVA decision you can appeal it.  Did the BVA decision give a percentage or effective date?  It sounds like they did not.  

You will just have to wait for the envelope.  

Edited by broncovet
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Thank you!  I only received a letter from the Board of Veteran's Appeals.  It is dated April 6, 2020, but there is no mention of a percentage of effective date.  I was contacted to schedule an appointment for an eye exam soon after receiving the letter, but everything is on hold and they are not taking appointments until the Covid-19 situation improves.  I'm fine with that.  

On 4/17/2020 at 10:45 AM, GBArmy said:

Beeps You can get some rating info of 4.79 on ratings for eye disease here (probably code 6001)

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/originalvasrd1.html#c6001

Thank you

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