Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition that affects many veterans. There are benefits and health care options available to veterans with Conjunctivitis or conjunctivitis-related conditions.
What is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is a condition that results in inflammation or infection of the thin membrane layer of tissue that separates the eyelid and eyeball. The eye usually becomes red or crusty, which is where the pink eye, or red-eye, moniker comes from
Common Types of Conjunctivitis
- Allergic Conjunctivitis is a problem that some people get when their bodies react to pollen, dust, dander, and medicines! Thankfully, this conjunctivitis type is not contagious since it is allergen-based, and it often happens together with other allergies.
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis is an infection in your eyes that is caused by certain bacteria. It spreads easily, but it is more common during cooler temperature months.
- Viral Conjunctivitis, like the name suggests, is caused by a virus and is extremely contagious.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
All the different conjunctivitis forms have similar overlapping symptoms such as:
- Colored eyes (usually pink or red)
- Swelling around the eyes or eyelids
- Crusting around eyelids or eyelashes, particularly in the morning
- Increased tear production and mucus discharge from eyes
- Irritation may include an itchy feeling.
- Burning sensation on the eyeball
VA Service Connection for Conjunctivitis
Veterans who experience chronic Conjunctivitis due to their active duty service may qualify for VA service-connected disability benefits compensation. To obtain service connection, vets have to demonstrate the following three:
- An in-service event, injury, or illness that led to Conjunctivitis;
- A current diagnosis by a medical professional; and
- A medical nexus, or link, between your in-service event, injury, or illness and your current diagnosis.
For more info on starting up a claim, check out our post on how to file VA form 21-526EZ.
How Does VA Rate Conjunctivitis?
VA uses Diagnostic Code 6018 to rate Chronic Conjunctivitis ranging from 0% to 10%; additionally, Conjunctivitis could fall under the General rating formula for eye diseases. We have a separate post on general eye conditions here!
0% Rating for Conjunctivitis: the 0 percent rating is a rating that doesn’t have any money given to it. But it is still important because the VA is awarding service connection, which can be a long battle for the veteran’s Conjunctivitis VA Claim. If the veteran’s Conjunctivitis is inactive, they can get a rating for how bad their vision is or other types of residual effects,
10% Rating for Conjunctivitis: the 10 percent rating is the top rating for chronic Conjunctivitis specifically. It is given to veterans with active Conjunctivitis, meaning that there is medical evidence of active symptoms like red eyes and a lot of mucus discharge.
Why does Conjunctivitis have multiple diagnostic codes?
Our eyeballs are so sensitive, and Conjunctivitis can be caused or aggravated by so many things, so VA tries to account for them all as best they can in the regulations.
If interested, let us know if you want to see additional information on Trachomatous Conjunctivitis under Diagnostic Code 6017; this type of conjunctivitis can be rated at 30%, depending on how well your vision is. VA also uses Diagnostic Code 7800 for inactive chronic Conjunctivitis that has left behind a significant residual like disfigurement or scarring. Check out our article on scars and disfigurement here!
Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exams for Conjunctivitis
If you have Conjunctivitis, the VA may ask you to have a Compensation and Pension exam. This is done in order to rate your condition based on symptoms and whether it is active. In order to do this, the examiner will need to observe your eye condition in person.
The examiner should probably also inquire about the veteran’s service and the connection between their Conjunctivitis and their military service. Because Conjunctivitis might be connected to other illnesses, it is important to get this examination done correctly and thoroughly.
You must attend your C&P Exam! These are so vital, and we see so many vets get turned away for not going even though they may have good evidence and statements. It’s that important.
TDIU for Conjunctivitis
Suppose a veteran cannot maintain substantially gainful employment because of their service-connected conditions. In that case, they may be eligible for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). The veteran must have at least one service-connected condition rated at 60% or higher to qualify. OR has two or more service-connected conditions, at least one rated 40% or higher with a combined rating of 70% or higher.
For more information on filing for TDIU, check out our post here!
Do Burn Pits Cause Conjunctivitis?
Burn pits are where the US military burned ANYTHING they didn’t want or need anymore in the Gulf War theater of war. These burn pits contained metals, plastics, rubber, oil, gasoline, medical waste, human waste, and other dangerous things that generated a large quantity of toxic particulate. These Burn Pits release many destructive chemicals into the air and make people sick due to the terrible air quality.
Eventually, the poisonous air dispersed for miles beyond the pits and right back to our troops’ bases of operations. That’s just our every day Gulf War vets; imagine the veterans whose duty stations involved working at the burn pits and managing waste.
Denied Conjunctivitis VA Benefits?
If you have been denied VA disability benefits for Conjunctivitis, give us a call. Our team of experts can help you file an appeal and get the compensation you deserve.
We are sorry that this post was not as useful for you!
Help us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?