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Vision loss does not have to be complete blindness to qualify for disability benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, visual disorders are “abnormalities of the eye, the optic nerve, the optic tracts, or the brain that may cause a loss of visual acuity or visual fields.” Some of the vision conditions that may qualify for disability are Diabetic Retinopathy, Hypertensive Retinopathy, Macular Degeneration, Optic Neuropathy or Melanoma. The listing focuses more on the loss of vision that results from the medical condition as opposed to the condition itself.
Blindness is considered 20/200 or less in the person’s better eye while using a correcting lens. Another definition is that the better eye has a field limitation where the widest diameter of vision is 20 degrees or less. It is also possible to have a combination of both these definitions.
If your condition does not meet one of these criteria, it is still possible to be awarded vision loss disability benefits if you have considerable limitations due to your condition such as the inability to drive because of poor vision. Other factors are also taken into consideration, including your age, job skills and education, to determine if you can work in a different field. If it is determined that you cannot perform other work or be trained for other work, you may qualify for disability benefits.