Most people probably heard the term “legally blind” and do not know what it means. Many people assumed that legal blindness is a medical condition. The truth is legal blindness is a government standard for an individual that is impaired in performing activities such as driving. If you are legally blind, you qualify for the benefits of a disabled person.
The US Social Security Administration defined legal blindness as the eyesight is no better than 20/200 or 20 degrees or less visual field. Most people have a 20/20 vision which means it is 10 times worse if you have a 20/200 vision. People with a 20/20 vision can read 200 feet away while people with 20/200 vision need to stand 20 feet from the sign to read it.
If you have tunnel vision, you also qualify as legally blind because your visual field is 20 degrees or less. When a person is looking straight forward, he/ she can see objects from the left and right side without moving their eyes which means they can see a full 180 degrees. You qualify as legally blind if you cannot see a wide enough picture without moving your eyes from side to side.
The standards should be met without glasses or contacts. You will not qualify as legally blind if you exceed these standards with eye correction.
Comparing Legal Blindness
It is important that you know that legal blindness is not the same as total blindness or being visually impaired. Total blindness means you cannot see shapes or light with both eyes. Low vision may be or may not be legally blind but they have enough vision loss that interferes with daily life. The standard for low vision is having a visual acuity of 20/70 or worse, even with corrective lenses.
Some people are legally blind from birth but the majority are caused by eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. The majority of people who are over 40 years old are legally blind.
Coping With Legal Blindness
If you become legally blind, it does not mean that your life will end. There may be instances where you get depressed or frustrated because of your situation. Vocational training, disability benefits, low vision devices, and tax exemptions programs are the government benefits that you may get from being legally blind.
Reach out to organizations such as American Foundation for the Blind for some help. The services and training that they provide can help you in adjusting to your situation and learn how to get through every day.