When Are You Considered Legally Blind

Striem-Amit E, Gen M, Amedi A. “Visual acuity of congenital blind persons by visual sensory substitution for auditory. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33136. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033136 Someone who is legally blind has corrected vision of 20/200 in their best eyesight. You may feel legally blind if you can`t see beyond one foot in front of you without wearing glasses, but as long as your vision can be corrected 20/20 with a visual aid like glasses, you`re not considered legally blind. The terms may also be used by health insurers to determine benefits and as part of the vision screening tests required by state departments of motor vehicles (DMV) when determining driver`s license eligibility. For safety reasons, people who are legally blind or visually impaired are generally not entitled to a driver`s licence. According to the American Foundation for the Blind, legally blind is not the same as completely blind, which is used to describe the inability to see anything with both eyes. Most people who are legally blind have some eyesight.

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. 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. Visual field tests often begin with a conflicting visual field test, in which you, an ophthalmologist, must cover one eye at a time and then hold one or more fingers in different quadrants of the visual field to see if you can see them while pointing your eyes to a central point in front of you. There are also more comprehensive computer-based tests that use flashing, flickering or moving lights or images to measure your field of vision. This involves pressing a button when you see the light or images. 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. 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.

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. Being considered legally blind means you can`t drive in any state. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. An ophthalmologist will measure visual acuity and visual field to determine if a person is legally blind. 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! People often ask about the difference between being blind and being “legally blind.” Because “blindness” can mean many different things, blindness under the law is the threshold at which a person is considered visually impaired for legal purposes, such as insurance purposes, to receive certain benefits, or to be accepted into various programs. 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.

There are also tests that can measure between 20/200 and 20/100. Someone who can`t see the line for 20/100 but sees somewhere between 20/100 and 20/200 would still meet the government`s standard of legal blindness, which is why they are listed as “20/200 or less.” Part 1 of the American definition of right blindness says this about visual acuity: Did you know: The largest letter on the map (an E on most Snellen diagrams) is equivalent to a 20/200 vision. If someone cannot distinguish this letter with his prescribed glasses, he is considered blind within the meaning of the law. 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.