What Prescription is Considered Legally Blind?
Being legally blind can have an impact on many things, from everyday activities like reading and driving to job opportunities and quality of life. While many assume it's simply a matter of having poor eyesight, the truth is a bit more complex. Being diagnosed as legally blind requires a specific prescription that must be determined with the help of an eye care provider. In this blog post, we'll explore the specifics of legally blind prescriptions, including what they are, how they're measured, and what it means for those who have them. Whether you're dealing with vision difficulties yourself or simply curious about this topic, read on to learn more.
Determining if Your Prescription is Considered Legally Blind
Determining if your prescription is considered legally blind is important for those with poor eyesight. Legally blind prescriptions are measured using “visual acuity”, which refers to the clarity of your vision. According to the American Optometric Association, if you have a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse, even with correction, you are considered legally blind. This means that to view an object approximately 200 feet away, you must stand roughly 20 feet from it in order to see it clearly.
In comparison, an individual with typical vision (20/20 vision) is capable of seeing the same object clearly from a distance of 200 feet away. The legal definition of blindness also takes into account your visual field or the range of your peripheral vision. If your visual acuity is better than 20/200, but you have a restricted visual field of 20 degrees or less, you may also be considered legally blind. It's important to note that visual acuity and field of vision aren’t the only factors that determine legal blindness. For example, eye conditions that can't be corrected with glasses or contacts, such as advanced glaucoma or macular degeneration, can also result in a legal blindness diagnosis.
What Prescription is Considered Legally Blind
All eyewear prescriptions include numbers that indicate the lens focusing power, which refers to the eye's ability to focus on objects at a particular distance. The unit used to measure focusing power is called a “diopter”. A positive number (denoted by a '+' sign) on the prescription implies farsightedness, also known as hyperopia. While a negative number (indicated by a '-' sign) indicates nearsightedness or myopia. The farther the number is from zero, negatively or positively, the worse the eyesight. The severity of nearsightedness or farsightedness is typically classified according to specific benchmarks. Mild nearsightedness or farsightedness ranges from +/-0.25 to +/-2.00, moderate from +/-2.25 to +/-5.00, and severe if above +/-5.00. To find the visual acuity number on your prescription, look at the numbers labeled "OS" for your left eye and "OD" for your right eye. Since being legally blind is determined by visual acuity and field of vision, this generally means that those with a prescription of -2.5 or lower in either or both eyes are considered legally blind.
If you're wondering if your prescription falls under the category of legally blind, it's important to schedule an eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They will be able to perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you meet the criteria for legal blindness.
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