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Legal Blindness: An Important Distinction

If you have ever heard someone refer to him or herself as legally blind, you may be wondering exactly what legal blindness is. The reality is that legal blindness is an important distinction to make because even though someone may not be completely blind, he or she could still be prevented by the law from doing everyday things like driving a car. Most people who are considered legally blind can still distinguish outlines, shapes, and large objects but they often are unable to see objects in their peripheral vision or read. The actual optometric numbers that describe legal blindness are a corrected vision of 20/200 or a visual field of twenty degrees or less.

The Facts about Legal Blindness

For those who do not know what the number 20/200 means, it signifies that a person with this degree of sight has to stand twenty feet from an object to see it with the same visual clarity as a person standing two hundred feet away. Although the United States defines legal blindness as a vision of 20/200, the World Health Organizations defines it as 20/400. Many people may be legally blind, but the percentage that is completely without sight is only ten percent. The remaining legally blind vary from those who only perceive light to those that can actually see relatively well.

With recent and continuing developments in technology, there is now the possibility that people who are legally blind can regain some, if not all, of their sight with the help of special surgical procedures. Depending on what actually causes the blindness, an eye operation that moves the light-sensitive part of the retina away from a diseased area of the eye can help restore some vision. This surgical procedure has been successful in a number of cases where the legal blindness was caused by age-related macular degeneration. Although it is not guaranteed to restore vision and is dependent on the cause of blindness, it does give those people suffering from blindness a little more hope.

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