Understanding Legal Blindness: Causes, Criteria, and Coping Strategies

Legal blindness refers to a level of visual impairment determined by law in order to evaluate eligibility for particular benefits and services. Legal blindness is a range of impairments in sight, which significantly affect an individual’s ability to see, but the term “blindness” can be used to express complete lack of vision. In addition, you should consult with your eye doctor in Katy, Texas.

Let’s dive in!

What is Legal Blindness?

Legal blindness is a type of visual loss that is defined by law in order to assess eligibility for specific benefits and services, such as disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and education. It is vital to understand that legal blindness does not imply full loss of eyesight. Instead, it refers to a degree of vision impairment that severely limits a person’s ability to conduct daily duties.

Criteria for Legal Blindness

The requirements for legal blindness differ by nation, however in the United States, the legal definition of blindness is based on two key elements:

Visual acuity

A person is legally blind if their best-corrected vision (with glasses or contact lenses) in their better eye is 20/200 or below. This implies that whereas someone with normal vision can see at 200 feet, someone who is legally blind can only see at 20 feet or less.

Visual Field

In addition to visual acuity, a person is legally blind if their better eye’s visual field is 20 degrees or smaller. This implies they have an extremely narrow field of vision, which severely reduces their capacity to perceive items around them.

Common Causes of Legal Blindness

There are many different conditions and diseases that can cause legal blindness. Some of the most common causes include:

Macular Degeneration: Macular degeneration is a pathology that affects the macula, the central part of the retina, responsible for the sharp central vision. As the macula progressively worsens, central vision becomes blurry and distorted and the person finds it difficult to perceive fine details of things.

Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a set of eye diseases that destroy the optic nerve, which is involved in delivering visual information from the eye to the brain. With every passing day, as the optic nerve deteriorates, peripheral vision gets restricted and later on, tunnel vision and then total blindness are the result.

Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy, which is an eye disease, is caused by high blood sugar levels and subsequent blood vessels injury in the retina. As time goes by, vessels continue to be damaged and blood and fluid leakage end with the patient losing his/ her vision if not well checked.

Cataracts: Cataract is a slow progression of the lens of the eye that clouds gradually and usually occurs as a result of natural aging. As time goes by, the eye becomes less and less able to see the objects clearly in sharp focus due to the cloudiness of the lens, which may lead to complete blindness if not handled properly.

Retinitis Pigmentosa: Pigmentary retinopathy is a set of hereditary eye conditions characterized by the progressive retinal degeneration. During the process, the retina is the first to decline which may start as looking like tunnel vision and eventually, the loss of vision in its entirety.

Coping Strategies for Legal Blindness

Legal blindness presents challenges, but there are various strategies and resources available to assist individuals with visual impairments in living independent and fulfilling lives. Some coping strategies for legal blindness include:

Assistive Technology: Many kinds of assistive technology have been designed in order to help people with vision disorders move around and fulfill tasks that are part of their everyday life. Such applications are screen readers, magnification software, braille displays, and voice-activated devices.

Orientation and Mobility Training: The orientation and mobility training helps with the Visual impairment to see the things around their surrounding safely and separately. It also involves acquiring skills like using a white cane, traveling by audio cues and independent travel on public transport.

Braille and Large Print Materials: For people, whose vision loss is really serious, braille and large print materials can enable them to read and obtain information much quicker. Many libraries, schools and organizations may have braille and large print books, magazines and other materials.

Support Groups and Counseling: The process of living with legal blindness can be sometimes hard and it is good to talk with others who are facing the same situation. Support groups and counseling can give emotional support, information, and a feeling of a close-knit community.

Guide Dogs: Guide Dogs can be of tremendous help to visually impaired individuals, who desire greater mobility and autonomy. Guide dogs are specially trained dogs to safely guide their blind owners around their environment.


Legal blindness is a legal definition of vision loss that affects eligibility for certain benefits and services. Common causes include macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and retinitis pigmentosa. Despite not causing complete blindness, individuals with legal blindness can live independent lives with assistive technology, orientation and mobility training, support groups, and guide dogs.

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