What Would Be Considered Legally Blind
While low vision or legal blindness can be limiting, there are many resources and tools to help you live your life with the utmost independence. Depending on the cause of your vision loss, you may be able to benefit from eye exercises and strategies to participate in daily activities. You may also find it helpful to use a stick, talking calculator, special computer software, and other products to help people who are legally blind. There are many conditions that can cause legal blindness, but the most common are age-related eye diseases. Age-related eye diseases, which are the main causes of low vision and blindness, include: Being classified as legally blind means you can`t drive in any state. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. Legal blindness occurs when a person has a central visual acuity (vision that allows a person to see right in front of them) of 20/200 or less in their best eye with correction. With a visual acuity of 20/200, a person can see at 20 feet what a person with a vision of 20/20 sees at 200 feet. Blind people are “legally blind,” but some people who can see with strong eyeglasses say they are legally blind without their glasses. This means that without glasses, they might not see well enough to see certain things, drive, etc. Visual acuity below 20/200 is considered blind under the law, but to truly fit the definition, the person must not be able to achieve 20/200 vision, even with prescription glasses.
Many people who would be legally blind without glasses can function well in everyday life with proper glasses or contact lenses. What does it mean to be legally blind? The definition of legal blindness was developed as a guideline to help people receive government support, such as Social Security disability benefits. The Department of Motor Vehicles also uses the definition to measure visibility and protect our roads from drivers who have difficulty seeing. Few people today are completely blind. In fact, 85% of all people with eye diseases have some kind of vision; About 15% are completely blind. To be legally blind, you must meet one of two criteria: visual acuity (visual acuity) and field of vision (the full range of what you can see without moving your eyes). For more information on definitions of statutory blindness, see Assessment of Disability in Social Security, a publication of the Social Security Administration. An estimated 1.1 million Americans are legally blind. Certain conditions, such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes, and macular degeneration, can affect your vision to the point where you can be diagnosed with the disease.
American printing house for the blind. What is legal blindness? “Legal blindness” is a definition used by the U.S. government to determine eligibility for job training, rehabilitation, education, disability benefits, equipment for the visually impaired, and tax exemption programs. It`s not a functional definition of low vision and doesn`t tell us much about what a person can and can`t see. Visual acuity is a number that indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision. A visual acuity measurement of 20/70 means that a person with 20/70 vision who is 20 feet away from an eye map sees what a person with intact vision (or 20/20) can see from 70 feet away. The reason some people use this term is because there are many different types of “blindness.” People mistakenly believe that all blind people see only darkness or literally nothing at all. In fact, blindness may involve seeing colors or light, or having greater visual acuity in some parts of their field of vision, while others are blurred or absent. Eye trauma or injury and genetic diseases, such as Usher syndrome, can also lead to legal blindness. Another way of looking at it: if someone with 20/20 vision is standing next to a legally blind person, the legally blind person should approach up to 20 feet to see an object from 200 feet away, as well as the person with normal vision. Like the term “legal blindness,” “visual impairment” is not a functional definition that tells us a lot about what a person can and cannot see. It is more of a classification system than a definition.
If a person has a field of view of only 20 degrees, they can see things that are right in front of them without moving their eyes from side to side, but they can`t see anything to one side or the other (peripheral vision). A 180-degree field of view is considered normal. A severely restricted field of view is sometimes referred to as tunnel vision. It is almost impossible to drive safely. A legally blind person with 20/200 vision (with the best corrective lenses) would have to be 20 feet away from an object to see it, and someone with 20/20 vision could see it from 200 feet away. The government uses the term “statutory blindness” to decide who can receive certain benefits, such as disability or vocational training. This is not the same as being completely blind. Treatments for legal blindness vary depending on the cause and stage of the disease. Age-related eye conditions are usually prescription medications or eye procedures aimed at delaying or preventing vision from getting worse. Basically, if it`s at least 20/70, can`t be corrected — even with touches, glasses, or surgery — and interferes with your daily activities, it can legally be considered a “visual impairment.” Most surveys and studies show that the majority of people living in the United States with vision loss are adults who are not completely blind; Instead, they have what`s called poor eyesight.
You may have heard the terms “partial vision” or “partial blindness” or even “poor eyesight,” which are also used to describe low vision. However, these descriptions are no longer commonly used. You measure your eyesight by wearing glasses or contact lenses. Their vision could fall below 20/200 without them. If it improves when you put on your glasses or contact lenses, you are not considered blind under the law. If you have any questions about your own visual acuity, or if it`s been a long time since you`ve seen an ophthalmologist to determine your vision, contact us. We are happy to assess your vision with a series of painless tests and discuss your concerns. You can talk to the doctor about how you see now and the options available to help you get your best vision possible! Note that the blind person within the meaning of the law is not completely blind. While legally blind people can still technically see, completely blind people will not be able to perceive light or see anything. An ophthalmologist will measure visual acuity and visual field to determine if a person is legally blind. Being legally blind affects your eyesight, but that doesn`t have to stop you from living a fulfilling life.
People often ask about the difference between being blind and being “legally blind.” Because “blindness” can mean many different things, legal blindness is the threshold at which a person is considered visually impaired for legal purposes, such as for insurance purposes, to receive certain benefits, or to enroll in various programs. Visual acuity refers to a person`s proximity to an object 20 feet away to see it in detail. Normal vision is measured at 20/20. If you had a visual acuity of 20/80, it would mean that you would be able to see details from 20 feet away, just like a person with 20/20 or normal vision from 80 feet away. Like visual impairment, there are many different definitions of visual impairment. “Visual impairment” is a broad term that describes a wide range of visual functions, from visual impairment to complete blindness. Most of our funding comes from people like you. During 2020, we studied the impact of COVID-19 on people who are blind or partially sighted and advocated for meaningful responses to the pandemic. This work is only possible thanks to donations from people like you.
If you appreciate the information you found on our website, make a gift today! If you are completely blind, you cannot see any light or shape. Among people with eye diseases, only about 15% can see nothing at all. If you are legally blind, you can still see, but not so clearly. You may be surprised to learn that it is Uncle Sam, not the doctor, who determines whether you are legally blind. When determining right blindness, the field of vision (the part of a person`s vision that allows them to see what is happening on their end) is also taken into account. A field of vision of 20 degrees or less is considered blind under the law. Ophthalmologists can help diagnose right blindness. If you have a Snellen rating above 20/70, with and without contact lenses or glasses, you have relatively good vision and are not legally blind or even legally visually impaired. A common test for visual acuity is Snellen`s eye chart. Someone who is legally blind could simply read the top row of the chart, a capital E, while wearing corrective lenses.
The line under the capital E is the line for 20/100.