MDJunction - People Helping People
 
Ask a Question
03/12/2011 02:36 PM

"Legally Blind" Definition

Wiggy
Wiggy  
Posts: 626
Member
I'm an Advocate

I know that on the surface the definition of "Legal Blindness" appears straightforward: 20/200 acuity OR less than 20 degrees peripheral. For the rest of the (un)sighted world. What does this mean for us Arpees? Specifically, as we all know or are in the process of learning, RP affects the peripheral vision, reduced by scarring of the retina as the rod cells croak. This could be either a loss of far-peripheral or mid-peripheral fields. I personally am losing my mid-peripheral fields- that is, I have 20 degrees central, and a "donut" of blindness which is the mid-periphery. I still have some light detection in the far periphery. How would this be categorized in the definition? Does it count, or add, the various components of sight for a grand total of field of vision, or count strictly the unbroken vision from the center? My next appointment with Dr. Berson is in September, and sure I could ask him then or call the office, but I wanted to throw it by the Group to see what y'all think.

Wigz

Reply

03/12/2011 05:56 PM
monochrome
monochromePosts: 677
Member

Here's my take, and I'll ask the next time I get the chance.

I think the two definitions are lines past which the doctor can't not declare you legally blind. That double negative was intentional, meaning that if you satisfy the strict definitions proscribed by law, the doctor has no choice but to declare you legally blind. However, life is never that simple.

For instance, my visual fields are not perfect donuts. Not only do I have some far periphery, I have a patch of mid periphery "low and to the inside" for you baseball fans, my doctor says "pockets of vision projecting inferior nasally." But, I have left over damage from a bout of optic neuritis years ago and have central vision loss more advanced than would be normal for my stage of RP.

In short, depending on where you chose to place the axis of measurement, I might be over or under 20 degrees. However, when he looked at my tests and listened to me explain what I could do and what I had difficulty with, he declared me legally blind. All of this to make the point that I think when you're shy of the legal line, your doctor has some discretionary wiggle room. Or Wiggy Room, or whatever.


03/13/2011 11:43 AM
westcoast
Posts: 91
Member

I also believe there is some discretion - the doctor will factor in all those symptoms (if they are good) and see how close you are to the 20 degree line. Visual field tests are not 100% accurate anyway, so once I was around that 20 degree mark, my doc declared me legally blind - but I did have to ask him if I was at that point.

03/14/2011 05:35 PM
Norka
Norka  
Posts: 58
Member

I have been fortunate not to be declared leagaly blind as number just recently dropped to 6. All because I have been honest with myself and the doctor. First I stopped driving at night, then when it rained, later at dusk and finnaly toward a sun. At last I got myself of the roads 3 weeks ago when I realized that the only way I was able to drive safely was at a stunning speed of 20 miles per hour. My doctor will just now evaluate the legaly blind status. At least I made to to my 16 years old driver's permit days.

Norka


03/15/2011 09:57 AM
Fight4Sight
Fight4Sight  
Posts: 443
Member

I'm confused over the "not to be declared leagaly blind as number just recently dropped to 6". 6 degrees of vision left? If so, you've been legally blind for awhile now I would think.

03/15/2011 02:33 PM
Norka
Norka  
Posts: 58
Member

Yes, I have been legally blind for a while, but I have been able to adopt so well to the changes making me quite functional. Up untill this forum I was unable to lable myself as 'legally blind' not because I was in denile but I was too angry with my fate. Over the last two months it went down to 6 and now it is impossible to hide my condition.

Norka


03/15/2011 03:39 PM
ktesson
ktesson  
Posts: 134
Member

In the state of Missouri the law is you are legally blind if you eyesight is 20 degrees or less.

05/07/2011 09:58 AM
Anna3
 
Posts: 18
New Member

Norka,

OMG, 6 degrees of vision left and were still driving? Lucky for you that a tragedy was avoided. I also drove past the time I should of. As hard as it was to give it up, I am thankful every day that I did not kill myself or someone else. My eye specialist was shocked when she found out I was still on the road, and at that time I was probably around 30 degrees. As I understand legally blind and "legally" allowed to drive are two totally different measurements. You lose your licence long before you reach "legally blind" status.


05/07/2011 12:41 PM
Scrattyme
ScrattymePosts: 786
Member

It all depends on what state that you live in Anna. In Texas and in Oklahoma, you are legal to drive up until you reach below 20 degrees of peripheral. I was never allowed a drivers license, but I drove with less than 5 degrees of peripheral. The only thing that stopped me was a serious car accident when my son was in the car with me. Luckily, he wasn't hurt but it was the only thing that woke me up to the dangers of my stupidity. Having been legally blind for so long, I never realized that what I was seeing was different that what everyone else was seeing. Sometimes it takes us a little longer to figure it out.

05/07/2011 01:46 PM
Anna3
 
Posts: 18
New Member

I am sure glad I don't live in the U.S. because there must be alot of dangerous drivers out there. I just checked in Canada, where I live, we must have a continuous visual field of 120 degrees horizontally and 15 degrees vertically above and below a fixated centre. As 180 degrees is normal for most people, I think this is reasonable.
Reply

Share this discussion with your friends:
<< Start < Prev 1 Next > End >>


Disclaimer: The information provided in MDJunction is not a replacement for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.
In case of EMERGENCY call 911 or 1.800.273.TALK (8255) to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Read more.
Contact Us | About Us
Copyright (c) 2006-2014 MDJunction.com All Rights Reserved