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 are the main causes of blindness? According to the National Eye Institute, there are four main causes of blindness in the United States. 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. What does it mean to be legally blind? The definition of legal blindness was developed as a guideline to help people get government support, for example: 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. If you`re not completely blind yet, but your vision isn`t what it used to be, you probably fall into the category of visually impaired adults. Visual impairment is sometimes referred to as «partial blindness», but because the term is not necessarily accurate, «visual impairment» is preferred. American printing house for the blind. What is legal blindness? 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. 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. 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. «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 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. 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. 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.
Being legally blind affects your eyesight, but that doesn`t have to stop you from living a fulfilling life. 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. 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. Eye trauma or injury and genetic diseases, such as Usher syndrome, can also lead to legal blindness. «Legally blind» is the definition of blindness used by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine whether a person is eligible for disability benefits, tax exemptions, and training for the visually impaired. An ophthalmologist will measure visual acuity and visual field to determine if a person is 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. To be legally blind, you must have a visual acuity of 20/200.
This means that even with glasses or contact lenses, you can only read the first letter at the top of the Snellen diagram, if at all. You can also be legally blind if you can see, but only in a very small window in your eye. Essentially, even if you can see, if you can`t see enough to function regularly, you can probably be considered legally blind. For more information on definitions of statutory blindness, see Assessment of Disability in Social Security, a publication of the Social Security Administration. 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. Being considered legally blind means you can`t drive in any state. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.
About 80% of blind people have residual vision. It can be difficult to understand how a person with a particular eye condition can see some things while not seeing others. While some people lose a lot of vision in a short time, others slowly lose vision. Many diseases that cause blindness begin to affect a certain part of vision and then progress to remove more vision. For example, macular degeneration initially affects a person`s central vision (the vision that makes us see straight ahead). Visual examples of what individuals might see if they have diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa can be found on the National Eye Institute`s website at www.nei.nih.gov. 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. We have all heard the term «legally blind,» but what does that really mean? How is it different from complete blindness and who is considered legally blind? Normal visibility is 20/20. This means that you can clearly see an object from 20 feet away. If you are legally blind, your vision is 20/200 or less in your best eye or your field of vision is less than 20 degrees. That is, if an object is 200 feet away, you must stand 20 feet away from it to see it clearly.
But a person with normal vision can stand at 200 feet and see this object perfectly.