Statutory Blindness

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Statutory Blindness


Some people who apply for disability may do so because they have problems with their vision. The first step to having a successful vision loss disability claim is to get proper testing performed by an eye doctor. What testing is required depends on whether you are claiming disability based on visual acuity or visual field limitations.

To qualify for disability based on vision loss, a person must have what the Social Security Administration defines as “statutory blindness.” Statutory blindness is defined a couple ways depending on whether the vision loss is related to visual acuity, which is the clearness of vision, or visual fields, which relates to the field of view and your ability to see peripherally.

Visual acuity testing is typically done by having you stand at a distance 20 feet from a card and having you read letters on the card to see how clear your vision is. Perfect visual acuity is 20/20 vision. To qualify for statutory blindness due to visual acuity issues, a person must have central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens.

There are several important pieces of this definition of statutory blindness for visual acuity. First off, it should be noted that statutory blindness is based on your visual acuity level in your better eye and not your worse eye. Secondly, your visual acuity must be 20/200 or less with the use of correct lens, which means your vision must be 20/200 even after being corrected by contacts or glasses.

Visual fields on the other hand are usually tested by undergoing a visual field test that measures your ability to see peripherally or to your sides as opposed to your ability to see in front of you, which visual acuity measures. Some visual disorders that typically result in visual field loss are glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, and optic neuropathy.

Visual fields tests are often performed by machines that start with showing a light at the most outside point of the machine and moving the point of light inward until the patient is able to see the lights. By doing this testing, an eye doctor is able to tell to what degree you can see peripherally. In order to qualify for statutory blindness due to visual field limitation, it must be determined that you have a limitation such that you are unable to see at an angle no greater than 20 degrees to your side.

If you have any questions on any vision loss matter or have any other issues, do not hesitate to contact Drummond Disability at 800-842-0426.

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