Besides losing the function of one’s hands, losing vision can be one of the greatest impairments to completing basic work activities. If you cannot see what you are doing, then you may not do it safely or efficiently. How your eyesight affects your abilities to do basic work activities depends a lot on how easily it can be corrected with prescription glasses.

Complete blindness in both eyes is analyzed separately than monocular blindness. 

Being blind in one eye is not enough to win a disability case (plenty of people work while wearing an eye-patch for medical reasons). But in combination with other conditions negatively affecting the body, you still may have a chance to build a strong case. 

Regardless of what diagnosis is affecting your vision, a strong case involving this medical condition typically charts the following course:

  •  Referrals: Establish care with an ophthalmologist. Your primary care physician can refer you to one.  
  • Symptoms: Report the problems you have with seeing in your everyday life. Emphasize what you cannot do or see despite the treatment you receive.
  •  If your retinopathy is worsening, then ask your ophthalmologist about intra-ocular injections.
  • Compliance: Take your eye drops and any other medications every day. Find a system that works for you. (If the SSA sees any signs of non-compliance in your medical records, then they will severely discount the severity of this condition.)

Note: if you have applied for disability through Title II only, and were denied so many times that your date of last insured (“DLI”) expired, then you may still be eligible to apply afterwards if you become unable to work solely due to vision problems. This is because a worker’s DLI is usually extended by five years to account for vision problems that may arise after they stop working, but only for the purpose of proving statutory blindness.

Written By: Jacob Hugentobler, Hearing Attorney

Image Credit: Reasons for Blurry Vision Optical Masters available at: