Eye Conditions That Qualify for Disability Benefits

Woman has a poor vision, holding an eyeglass

People who have poor vision that affects their ability to work can qualify for disability benefits. An applicant does not have to be completely blind to be eligible for the benefits. The following eye conditions can qualify individuals for disability benefits.

Legal Blindness (Vision Loss)

The Social Security Administration considers an individual to be legally blind if his or her vision cannot be corrected beyond 20/200 in the better eye. An individual will also be considered legally blind if his or her better eye has a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

Partial Sight

The visual capacity of people with partial sight or low vision is limited. Conditions that can cause partial sight include diabetic retinopathy, trauma, and brain and nerve disorders.

Macular Degeneration

This eye disease occurs when the macula, which is the retina’s central portion, wears down. It distorts a person’s central vision, making it difficult to drive, recognize faces, read and see anything with fine detail clearly.


Glaucoma broadly refers to eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. The damage typically results from the buildup of high fluid pressure within the eye.


Cataracts cause clouding on the eye lens. Some cataracts resist treatment, making it hard for people to keep working.


Hemianopia is the full or partial loss of vision in half of the eye’s visual field. It occurs when the brain or optic nerve is damaged by conditions such as:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Brain injury
  • Lymphoma
  • Epilepsy

Ocular Melanoma

This type of cancer affects the tissue layer beneath the white of the eye that is known as the uveal tract. It can spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver.

Sjögren’s Syndrome

This is an autoimmune disease that affects the salivary and lacrimal glands. It can lead to eye disease, corneal abrasions and eyelid inflammation.

The most straightforward way of an individual qualifying for disability benefits is by proving that he or she is legally blind. It can be significantly challenging to qualify for the benefits as a result of suffering from conditions that do not cause complete vision loss. People can have an easier time when applying for disability benefits based on the other eye conditions if they consult with lawyers that handle such cases in their area.

Social security lawyers can help prepare and present compelling cases. They help show how an applicant’s eye condition has limited his or her functionality.


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