Until 1974 the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) lagged behind the Department of Defense in providing optometry care to its beneficiaries. But Congressional legislation, critical external reviews and the findings of a General Accounting Office investigation then set the stage for the development of a national DVA Optometry Service that now treats over one million unique patients per year utilizing some 700 optometry medical staff members while pioneering and now operating 81 optometry resident programs training 220 optometry residents each year in medical optometry, the only optometry specialty requiring postgraduate residency specialty training and passage of a national specialty examination that leads to national board certification in medical optometry.
The following article from the web-based textbook Optometric Care within the Public Health Community published in 2010 describes how those reforms in DVA optometry care mirrored those reforms used to achieve other signal improvements in DVA medical care.
Public Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs (This is the full article)
Development of Medical Optometry Within the VA (Pages 1-5 and 16-28 from above)
The author (Kenneth J. Myers, Ph.D., O.D.) served as founding director (emeritus) of the DVA optometry service, 1974-1989 and is founding director of the American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry.