What Is the Definition of Legal Blindness

What Is the Definition of Legal Blindness?

Legal blindness is a term used to define the level of visual impairment that qualifies an individual for certain benefits and services. It is important to note that legal blindness is not a medical diagnosis, but rather a legal term created to determine eligibility for assistance and accommodations. In this article, we will delve into the definition of legal blindness, its criteria, and address frequently asked questions on the topic.

Criteria for Legal Blindness:

The definition of legal blindness may vary slightly across different countries, but it generally revolves around two main factors: visual acuity and visual field.

Visual Acuity: Visual acuity refers to the sharpness or clarity of vision. It is measured using a Snellen chart, which tests how well a person can see letters or symbols from a specific distance. In the United States, a person is considered legally blind if their best-corrected visual acuity is 20/200 or worse in the better eye. This means that a legally blind individual would need to be 20 feet away from an object to see it as clearly as a person with normal vision can see it from 200 feet away.

Visual Field: Visual field is the total area in which objects can be seen when the eyes are fixed in one position. In legal blindness, the visual field is restricted to a certain degree. In the U.S., a person is considered legally blind if their visual field is 20 degrees or less in the better eye. A normal visual field is typically around 180 degrees.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can legal blindness be corrected with glasses or contact lenses?

A: Legal blindness cannot be fully corrected with glasses or contact lenses. However, individuals with low vision who are considered legally blind may benefit from using low vision aids or devices such as magnifiers or telescopic lenses to enhance their remaining vision.

Q: Is legal blindness the same as total blindness?

A: No, legal blindness is not the same as total blindness. Legal blindness refers to a level of visual impairment that qualifies individuals for certain benefits and services. Total blindness, on the other hand, is the complete absence of vision.

Q: What benefits or services are available for legally blind individuals?

A: The benefits and services available for legally blind individuals vary by country. In the United States, legally blind individuals may be eligible for disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation services, and low vision aids. They may also qualify for special education services, tax deductions, and assistance programs.

Q: Can a person with legal blindness still work?

A: Absolutely! Legal blindness does not necessarily mean an inability to work. Many legally blind individuals lead successful careers across various fields. With the help of assistive technology, reasonable accommodations, and supportive work environments, individuals with legal blindness can excel in their chosen professions.

Q: What causes legal blindness?

A: Legal blindness can have various causes, including but not limited to, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and genetic conditions. It is important to consult with an eye care professional for a comprehensive diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.

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In conclusion, legal blindness is a legal term used to determine eligibility for benefits and services. It is characterized by specific criteria related to visual acuity and visual field. While legal blindness may place certain limitations, it does not signify a complete lack of vision. With appropriate support and accommodations, individuals with legal blindness can lead fulfilling and independent lives.