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Dr. Lloyd's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support Dr. Lloyd has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Legally Blind?

Every so often someone asks me about Legal Blindness.

Not too long ago a legal blindness determination was a pretty big deal because folks could qualify for an added exemption on their federal income taxes. That provision has since been eliminated.

Here are the USA standards for legal blindness:

Visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye with corrective lenses (20/200 means that a person at 20 feet from an eye chart can see what a person with normal vision could see at 200 feet)


Visual field restriction to 20 degrees diameter or less (tunnel vision) in the better eye. Folks with advanced glaucoma, retinal degenerations, and neurologic disorders usually qualify under this criterion.

Visit WebMD to learn more about vision testing.

Remember to apply the ‘better eye’ rule. If a person is totally blind (no light perception) in one eye yet can see better than 20/200 in the other eye there is no legal blindness. A person may even be missing an eye and not qualify as legally blind!

Driving vision standards require 20/40 vision or better in at least one eye. Yes, you can get a driver’s license even if you have monocular vision. You’d be surprised to learn how many one-eyed drivers there are out there on the highway!

Related Topics: Vision Problems, Eye Health

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Posted by: Bill Lloyd MD at 1:04 am


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