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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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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.